Posts filed under bourbon Cocktails

It's Party Time! Cocktails for a Crowd


Cocktails can be the perfect ice breaker or finish to a long day. A classic martini, a refreshing gin and tonic or maybe the sophisticated Old Fashioned but what happens when you are having a party and are planning out cocktails for your guests? For me, I often shake or stir cocktails to order, especially if it's a small gathering. For those times that the party includes 10-20 guests (or more), being behind the bar means you don't really get a chance to enjoy the party and mingle with your guests.  To make your next gathering a little less stressful and a lot more enjoyable, I've put together a couple of cocktail recipes that will make your guests happy and let you enjoy the festivities as well (win-win!). 

The measurements I provided are for 10 cocktails. These can easily be doubled or tripled for even larger gatherings. Following each batch cocktail, I've provided the measurements for one cocktail, so even if you're not having a party you can still enjoy these great cocktails! 

Party tips: In addition to a few batched cocktails, I always have beer and a nice chilled wine for the hot weather months. A beverage dispenser with ice water and lemons will help keep your guests hydrated between cocktails. And for the non-drinkers, omit alcohol and add seltzer water to the recipes below. 


Check out our Batched Cocktails for a Crowd segment on New Day Cleveland!

Peach Tea Bourbon Smash

makes 10 cocktails

1 -3/4 cups bourbon ( I used OYO Whiskey ) 

1 cups Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Sweet Tea Syrup

2/3 cups Lemon Juice

4-6 Peaches sliced into thin wedges 

*Basil (optional)

Roughly 1  1/2  tsp of Crude "Pooter" Smoke & Salt bitters (add more or less to taste) 

Directions: In large pitcher, drink dispenser or punch bowl, add sweet tea syrup, lemon juice, bourbon, Crude Smoke & Salt bitters and peaches. if you're adding the basil, give it a whack against your hand before you add it to the pitcher and LIGHTLY muddle it (just enough to release the oils). Stir well and serve! 

I recommend slicing the peaches and placing them in the bourbon at least a few hours prior to serving... this adds more peach flavor and makes those pretty little peaches a boozy treat. The bitters are pretty amazing in this drink they remind me of drinking a cocktail near a beach bonfire, adding a hint of smokiness and a wisp of sea salt. 

To serve: Place an ice bucket and cups next to the premixed cocktail. You can add ice to the pitcher before serving but be aware that as the ice melts the cocktail will become watered down. A ladle or large spoon also comes in handy for your guests to fish out the boozy peaches. 

(for one cocktail:  1-1/2 oz bourbon, 3/4 oz Jack Rudy Sweet Tea Syrup, 1/2 oz lemon juice) 

For a non bourbon version, check out the recipe below.

For the non bourbon drinkers...

Recently my husband and I were invited to a get together with friends. I was asked to bring the cocktails, the twist... that they NOT taste like alcohol.... Say what?!?

  Hmmm, a challenge for me, especially since I prefer boozy and oftentimes bitter forward cocktails.  Sometimes you just do what you gotta do! After all, it's all about making sure your guests have a great time.  I accepted the challenge and put together this peachy little gem :) They LOVED IT! I have a feeling that if you're not a bourbon lover,  you'll enjoy it too! 

That's Peachy -Peach Tea Cocktail

makes 10 drinks

1 3/4 cups vodka 

1/4 cup peach schnapps (yes, I said schnapps)

1 cup Jack Rudy Sweet Tea Syrup

2/3 cup lemon juice 

2 peaches sliced into thin wedges

Fresh basil *optional 

Follow the directions above. Be sure to soak the peaches in the peach schnapps for that extra little boozy treat. Add ice to your pitcher for even less boozy taste.  


Passion fruit Cocktail - 3 ways:


makes 10 cocktails

1 cups Liber & Co Passion Fruit Syrup

2 -1/2 cups rum (preferably dark rum) 

1  cups lemon juice

Directions: In a large pitcher or drink dispenser, add passion fruit syrup, lemon juice and rum. Add a cup of ice to help agitate the mix. Stir really well. 

To Serve: Place an ice bucket and cups nearby and guests can help themselves. You can add ice to the pitcher before serving but be aware that as the ice melts the cocktail will become watered down. 

Ultimately rum is the traditional spirit for this sweet, tart tropical cocktail but if you and your guests prefer a different spirit the following variations make a tasty summer cocktail as well. 

(for one cocktail: 3/4 oz Liber & Co Passion fruit syrup, 2 oz dark rum, 3/4 oz lemon juice, serve with crushed ice)


Passion fruit Cocktail #2 Passion fruit Vodka Sour

Being that Vodka ranks as #2 for liquor sales in the world, I'd be remiss if I didn't include a vodka variation. Same recipe just swap the rum for vodka. 


Passion Fruit Cocktail #3 Passion Fruit Margarita

And because margaritas are perfect for hot summer months, here's another variation ...swap out the rum for a nice silver or reposado tequila and use lime juice instead of lemon. 


How much alcohol do I buy?

Good question! Here are a few simple conversions to help you out...

Most liquor bottles are 750 ml which is the equivalent to approximately 25 fluid oz

There are approximately 12 cocktails in one 750 ml bottle if the average pour is 2 oz

750 ml = 25 oz

8 oz = 1 cup

An important part of any get together is to ENJOY! Laugh with your friends and family and don't sweat the small stuff!

Even more important... no drinking and driving! Plan a sleepover or download one of those handy transportation apps before you imbibe. 

Hope these recipes help make your next party fun & stress free! 




Happy Hour Collection 


Off to the Races - It's Derby Day!

Kentucky Derby 

What do you think off when you hear someone mention the Kentucky Derby? I'm going to guess that elaborate hats, red roses and mint juleps are a couple of the first things that come to mind, quickly followed by horses. You might also think of throwing your own Kentucky Derby party.  Below we'll share recipes perfect for making your Derby party a hit but first, history...

The Kentucky Derby is steeped in tradition. Here are a few fun facts:

The Kentucky Derby has run continuously since 1875, even through the Great Depression. 

The land was acquired by Colonel Merriwether Lewis Clark, grandson of William Clark, of Lewis & Clark fame. 

1932: The first thoroughbred winner was draped in garland of roses

The Kentucky Derby was always a fashion forward event. Men and women were expected to dress up in their finest. However it wasn't until the 1960's that the wearing of elaborate hats took off. 

1938: The Mint Julep became the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. The reason for the silver cup? Rumor has it that jockey's were awarded sterling silver julep cups as a reward for first prize (and they look a bit like a trophy cup). 

Flowers by  Love, Anji ,  Pope's Mint Simple Syrup , Julep cup and barware by  Happy Hour Collection , Cake by , Photos by  Nathan Hubble

Flowers by Love, Anji, Pope's Mint Simple Syrup, Julep cup and barware by Happy Hour Collection, Cake by, Photos by Nathan Hubble

Now that you know a little bit about the history of the Kentucky Derby, it's party time! Here we'll get the party started by sharing two great recipes. First, I'll share the recipe for the Mint Julep and here you can find an absolutely delicious Chocolate Bourbon cake recipe by Nathan Hubble, 

Mint Julep

1 oz Pope's Mint Syrup 

2 oz Bourbon 

Crushed ice

Mint for garnish 

Julep cup

First things first... crushed ice. There are a few ways to approach this ingredient... first the crushed ice setting on your fridge, a blender or my favorite a Lewis bag and ice mallet. Why the Lewis bag & Mallet? The canvas Lewis bag actually wicks away extra moisture from the ice making a drier ice and therefore not watering down your drink from the get go. It also seems to produce a finer crushed ice than many of the blenders out there (no large chunks of ice mixed in with the fine ones). Not to mention it's oddly satisfying to smack ice with a hefty wooden mallet. 

Now it's time to make your mint julep! Add 1 oz Pope's mint syrup, 2 oz bourbon into your julep cup,  at this point I'd give it a quick stir to incorporate the syrup and the bourbon. Add crush ice to the rim and stir again frosting the outside of the julep cup. Top with more ice creating a little dome. Give your mint a slap or two against your palm to release the oils (this adds to the drink by bringing the lovely aroma of mint right to your nose). Add the mint to your julep cup, don your fancy hat or smart bow tie (or cravat if you prefer) and cheer on your favorite horse!

*We did say Derby party, right? Here are few quick tips to make life simpler, after all who wants to spend the whole time crushing ice and mixing mint juleps? The night before or morning of, crush lots of ice and store in in a ziploc bag in the freezer. The day of: wash and cut your mint sprigs for garnish,  place them stems down in a cup of water to keep them fresh. In a large pitcher, pre-measure and mix the bourbon with the mint syrup, store in fridge until ready to use. When it's party time fill your julep cups with ice, pour bourbon & mint mixture over top, garnish with mint, serve and cheer on your favorite horse! 
**not a bourbon lover? sub your favorite vodka, no one ever needs to know ;)






Sources: "Kentucky Derby History," Churchill Downs Inc. Web 06 May 2017

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 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

Smoked Maple Bacon Popcorn -photo by Nathan Hubble

Smoked Maple Bacon Popcorn -photo by Nathan Hubble

Smoked Maple Bacon Popcorn

by Nathan from

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