It's National Bacon Day!

Let's celebrate with Bacon, Bourbon and Popcorn!

In honor of National Bacon Day, Nathan Hubble from Follow That Fork and Happy Hour Collection have partnered up to share a couple of sweet & savory bacon and smoked maple recipes with you. 

 First, let me tell you a little bit about Nathan from Follow That Fork...

Nathan popped into Happy Hour Collection several months ago and purchased Hella Bitters Smoked Chili Bitters to use in a recipe he was developing. Instead of using bitters in a cocktail recipe, Nathan created a mouthwatering recipe for Smoked Chili Chocolate Ice cream. It sounds amazing doesn't it? If you think it sounds good, you need to check out the photo he took... it'll make you want to run out and buy smoked chili bitters. Check out his recipe and photos by clicking www.FollowThatFork.com While you're there, be sure to check out his other recipes and sign up to be on his email list. 

Since then, Nathan has created more recipes and stunning photos with some of the products from Happy Hour Collection. One of my favorite parts about this collaboration is that Nathan looks at the products and finds ways to incorporate them into main courses, snacks, desserts and occasionally cocktails. I focus mainly on the cocktails and techniques. We will both be sharing more photos and recipes with you in the future and I can't wait! 

Now back to BACON... 

Who doesn't love bacon?! If it's you, look the other way. Nathan and I both used bacon and Barrel Smoked Maple Syrup in our recipes. First up, Nathan's created a great recipe using bacon, Tippleman's Bourbon Barrel Smoked Maple Syrup and popcorn.
I share the recipe here but check out Follow That Fork for variations and other recipes.  

 

Smoked Maple Bacon Popcorn

by Nathan from www.followthatfork.com

Smoked Maple Bacon Popcorn -photo by Nathan Hubble

Smoked Maple Bacon Popcorn -photo by Nathan Hubble

Smoked Maple Bacon Popcorn

by Nathan from www.followthatfork.com

About 15 cups popped popcorn

1 cup Tippleman's Barrel Smoked Maple Syrup

1/2 cup butter

1 tsp sea salt (smoked salt if you happen to have it handy) 

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 cup Crumbled Crispy bacon  *reserve the bacon fat for the next recipe*

1/4 cup cocktail peanuts (optional)

Candy thermometer

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. In a large glass bowl*, stir together popcorn, bacon and peanuts.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the smoked maple syrup and salt. Using a candy thermometer bring the temp up to 240 degrees, then add baking soda. The mixture will bubble up. Carefully pour the hot candy mixture over the popcorn and stir to evenly coat. Spread into a flat layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (if you don't have parchment paper- butter the bottom of the pan before spreading the popcorn mixture) and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Take out the oven and let cool.  Store in an Airtight container.

 

*remember the hot candied liquid is molten! Be sure to use a glass bowl or large metal pot when mixing together the popcorn mixture with the hot candy mixture.

 

Bacon, Smoked Maple Syrup & Bourbon

Remember that bacon you cooked up? of course you do you most likely snagged a piece or two before serving it up.

This next recipe is actually two recipes and includes a technique known as fat washing.  

I admit that Fat washing doesn't sound appealing, at all. "What are you doing today?"  "Oh, I'm fat washing my bourbon."  "????"

So here goes, fat washing is a technique used to impart the flavor of different fats or oils into your spirit of choice. Still not convinced? How about peanut butter fat washed vodka with chocolate liqueur for a Chocolate peanut butter martini, or maybe peanut butter bourbon in a blackberry smash (peanut butter & Jelly). Rum infused with butter or coconut oil or for the more adventurous how about pork fat in mezcal.  There are many innovative recipes out there using the fat washing technique.  Have fun creating!

For now here is an easy and tasty cocktail using bourbon, bacon and barrel smoked maple syrup. 

Smoked Maple Bacon Old Fashioned

*This is a two part recipe* 

Bacon Washed Bourbon

750 ml Bourbon (I used Four Roses small batch)  

1  1/2 oz Reserved bacon grease (about 4 strips of cooked bacon) 

Large airtight glass container (Quart size -32 oz mason jar should be large enough)

Time - it takes approximately 24 hours to fat wash the bourbon 

Cook up your bacon for the Smoked Maple Bacon Popcorn and reserve the bacon grease. 

Let's get started. First pour your bourbon into the glass container, then pour bacon grease through a fine mesh strainer into the bourbon. Put your lid on and shake for about 20 seconds. Let sit on counter for about 4 hours. Place in freezer overnight. In the morning scoop out the bacon fat and run the bacon infused bourbon through a mesh strainer, cheesecloth or coffee filter. 

Voila it's as simple as that! The bourbon takes on a smokey mild bacon flavor. See Below for Smoked Maple Bacon Old Fashioned recipe.

*optional: Try fat washing Bacon into Portside Distillery's Maple Vanilla Rum or into vodka for Bacon Bloody Mary's 

Photo by Suzuran photography

Photo by Suzuran photography

Now that you've bacon washed your bourbon, you're ready to start experimenting with smokey bacon bourbon. 

Smoked Maple and Bacon Old fashioned

2 oz Bacon washed bourbon

1/4 oz Tippleman's Bourbon Barrel Smoked Maple syrup

4-6 dashes Full Measure Aromatic bitters

Garnish with smoked maple candied bacon strip or Luxardo cherry

Large Ice ball / cube

Add ice ball to rocks glass. In mixing glass filled with ice, add bacon bourbon, Tippleman's barrel smoked maple syrup, Full Measure aromatic bitters. Stir until well mixed, about 25 seconds. Strain and pour into your rocks glass, garnish and enjoy!

Hopefully you've enjoyed our collaborative blog post.

Make sure to subscribe to Nathan's blog, Follow That Fork, for more cocktail and non-cocktail recipes. You'll be seeing a lot more from both of us in the future.  

We'd love to hear from you! If you've tried some of our recipes and would like to share just tag us on instagram 

Happy Hour Collection @happyhourcle  and  Follow That Fork @nhubble

 

 

 

Summer BBQ Cocktail & Cooking Ideas

Ever wonder what to bring to those summer BBQ's you keep getting invited too? 
 

We have quite a few easy and delicious cocktail mixers to bring either as a host /hostess gift or to mix up refreshing summer cocktails. Or maybe you have a shrub sitting in your fridge that you bought, made a few cocktails and now you don't know what to do with the rest. Never fear! 

New Day Cleveland kindly had us back in the studio to talk about easy summer cocktail mixers you could bring to your friend's house as a gift (or be the hit of the party and bring the cocktail)! We also mixed up a cocktail and a main dish using Element's Pineapple Turmeric shrub. Below you'll find the recipes and the link to the episode. 

Hawaiian Pineapple shrub Chicken Kebabs

Marinade ingredients:

1/2 cup Element's Pineapple Turmeric Shrub

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 green onions chopped

1 tsp sesame oil

1 TBS canola oil

2 cloves minced garlic

1 TBS fresh ground ginger or 1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/2-1 tsp crushed red pepper

1 TBS honey (optional)

black pepper to taste

4 chicken breasts thawed & cubed

1 red pepper, cubed

1 green pepper, cubed

1/2- 1 pineapple sliced into 1/2 thick cubes (save the pineapple peel and core to make an easy pineapple beer...recipe coming soon)

wooden skewers soaked in water 

Whisk together marinade ingredients. Set aside about 1/4 cup.  Assemble skewers alternating peppers, chicken, pineapple and so on. Place in a shallow dish and cover with marinade. Cover and let marinate for 45min - 1 hour in the refrigerator. Grill until chicken is cooked thoroughly. Approximately 10-15 minutes total , turning kebabs every 2-3 minutes. Pour reserved marinade over the kebabs for extra flavor. 

*vegetarian option: use firm tofu or cubed portobello mushrooms instead of chicken

--->Be careful not to over marinate the chicken.  Shrubs are vinegar based and will over tenderize the chicken if left to marinate too long. One hour is plenty of time for the chicken and veggies to soak up the flavors.

 

Lake Erie Swizzle

1 oz dark rum

1 oz gold rum

1/2 oz Cointreau (or triple sec)

3/4 oz Element Pineapple Turmeric Shrub

3/4 oz Orgeat Works Toasted Almond Orgeat

1/2 oz fresh lime juice

2-4 dashes Full Measure Aromatic Bitters

Crushed ice

Tall Swizzle Stick

Collins Glass or tall thin tumbler

Mint for garnish

Measure Ingredients into Collins glass. Place swizzle stick in glass. Fill glass 2/3 full of crushed ice. Swizzle making sure to work the swizzle up and down the glass to thoroughly incorporate ingredients. When glass is frosted and ingredients are blended, remove the swizzle stick and top off with crushed ice. Add bitters, garnish with mint and enjoy! 

* for a little extra flair top with a little drizzle of Pope's All Natural Grenadine. Adds a lovely red color that filters down the glass. 

Please note if you're like me, almost every recipe is a guideline not a rule. Feel free to experiment and make it your own, after all the best recipes are the ones that you and your family love. <3

 

 

New Day Cleveland Gets 'Happy' for the Holidays

Did you catch Happy Hour Collection on 'New Day Cleveland?' 

 

The lovely folks over at 'New Day Cleveland' were nice enough to invite me back.

This time I shared some holiday gift giving ideas, stocking stuffers and an easy and elegant Prosecco Cocktail (see recipe below).

If you're looking for the perfect gift for the person who has it all or is just plain hard to buy for we have great gift ideas.

We can help you make up a gift box/basket tailored to fit your loved ones cocktail style. How about an Old Fashioned basket for the whiskey drinker or a premium Gin & Tonic gift box. Maybe you were thinking of getting Moscow Mule mugs? We carry the absolute best copper mugs (and copper bar accessories). Copper mugs plus Pickett's Ginger Beer syrup and you have the perfect Moscow Mule Basket.

Visiting friends and family over the holidays? Instead of bringing a bottle of wine, why not grab a crafted cocktail mixer? We carry a variety of cocktail mixers to make mixing up a cocktail a breeze.

If you'd like to learn more about Happy Hour Collection CLICK HERE or stop on into the shop. 

We'd love to help you put together a gift and we'd love to meet you.

For upcoming events CLICK HERE. You can also sign up for our email list.

I hate spam emails, so I can promise you that you'll receive only a few emails a month with news on the latest products, upcoming tastings & events, you'll also receive a cocktail recipe (or two). 

It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle, especially this time of the year.

Make sure to take time out to really enjoy the Holiday season, family, friends, the new Star Wars movie ;) 

Live in the moment . . . laugh, have fun and make wonderful memories with loved ones.

 Those after all, are the gifts that last a lifetime.

 

 

Holiday Sparkler Cocktail

Holiday Sparkler Cocktail


Holiday Sparkler Cocktail

For quick, easy and elegant entertaining this Holiday season consider mixing up a 'Holiday Sparkler'

4 1/2 oz Prosecco

1/2 oz Hudson Standard Cassis Berry Shrub

2-3 dashes Dram Apothecary Wild Mountain Sage Bitters

Fresh Rosemary Sprig for garnish

In a Chilled Champagne flute, add Prosecco first, then add Cassis Berry Shrub. 

Add your bitters, and rosemary sprig. Give a light stir with the rosemary and impress your guests with this lovely Crafted Champagne Cocktail! Here's a toast to a wonderful holiday season and and even better New Year! Cheers! 

**If you don't have Prosecco on hand, you can easily follow the recipe above and substitute the Prosecco for 1 1/2 oz vodka and 2 oz sparkling water. 

Here's the alternate recipe,  Fill Shaker with ice, add Cassis Berry Shrub and vodka. Shake until chilled (approx 15-20 seconds), strain into a rocks glass filled with ice (we prefer an ice ball for slower dilution), add seltzer/sparkling water and bitters. Serve & enjoy!


Thank you for visiting & Happy Holidays

Cheers!

All the best,

Marie



Posted on December 12, 2015 .

Welcome to Happy Hour Collection

Hello there and thank you for visiting our website. 

The website is still  a work in progress. Our online shop will be up and running very soon (fingers crossed).

Creating a cocktail doesn't need to be intimidating. It can as simple as using a quality mixer and quality spirit, mix or shake then enjoy!

If you're a little more adventurous, or your skills are up there with the master mixologists, we carry a variety of bitters, beautiful glassware, great bar tools and cocktail books to help you bring your cocktail game to the next level. 

To recap, Happy Hour Collection specializes in everything you need for your next Happy Hour,  minus the booze. We have a variety of crafted cocktail mixers, simple syrups, bitters, shrubs, vintage and modern barware and glassware, bar tools, cocktail books and more.

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If your looking for a cocktail gift, we are happy to help you put together a gift basket. We also have gift cards and we ship! 

If you ever see something on our Facebook or Instagram please feel free to email me or message me. 

If you saw us on New Day Cleveland, stay tuned! We'll be putting up a link to the segment and I'll be sharing the recipe to the Holiday Sparkler Cocktail. 

Cheers! 

Marie

Owner, Happy Hour Collection