Search This Blog


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Love Happy Hour - Gifts Ideas for the Cocktail Enthusiast - Christmas 2013

by Maren Swanson

Whether you are looking to gift yourself or your friends that stayed on the "nice" list this year, we've gathered some unique gift ideas to add cheer to any cocktail enthusiast's barsonal. Sure, that Ketel One vodka gift box seems like a bright idea, but come on, we all know that's a lazy choice. Now I'm not saying your recipient would be bummed about receiving such lovely present, but why not think outside the typical "gift box" and go for something different? Here a some options that won't break you budget and will leave your Secret Santa will a holly, jolly smile.

1. Vintage Barware.

Vintage is always in, right? A great place to start is your local flea market. Here you can strike up some real deals and find some classic bar pieces. I've found some fabulous flasks, decanters and full sets of martini glasses from the fifties to the eighties and haven't spent more than $50.

2. Holiday Booze.

Duh. As I mentioned earlier, it will be hard to piss someone off when you are gifting alcohol, but friends and family will definitely appreciate it if you get them something with some extra thought put into it. Instead of the typical bottle of gin or vodka, try gifting them something different like seasonally inspired special release beers or cordials.

3. Bar10der.

Love your swiss army knife but wish you had one for your bar? Bar10nder is a new tool on the market that combines 10 bartending tools in one gadget - the muddler, standard and channel knives, reamer, jigger, zester, stirrer, strainer, corkscrew, and bottle opener. So cool.

4. Homemade Stuff.

Everyone loves something homemade. Plus, you won't break the bank and you will definitely get praised for your creativity. Pinterest in a great resource for this. One idea is to create a certificate that includes a promised night of chocolate dipped strawberries and Champagne cocktails (made by yours truly). Or try making my DIY Christmas beer. All you need is a beer with a green bottle (Heineken, Rolling Rock), pipe cleaners and scissors.

5. Barsonal Gift Basket

Variety is the spice of life, so get creative and fill a large basket with all of the essentials like a shaker, jigger, peeler, wine/beer opener, silicone ice trays, a great bottle of spirits, and some fantastic glassware. This gift idea is perfect for the novice bartender whose just getting started. I would also suggest adding cocktail book to get them even more motivated to start there barsonal. If you don't have time to do it yourself, Build-a-Basket can help you find a customized basket that's perfect for your giftee.

- See more at:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Makin' It With Maren - The Lite of Pie: Low-cal Thanksgiving Cocktail

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I don't know about you, but usually end up stuffing my face that day and drinking a lot of wine or beer. And after I've had a huge dose of tryptophan and turkey, I'm ready to crash. How is it that my friends and family are always ready to drive straight into desert - especially pie?

"Lite of Pie" video recipe

Well, I recently came up with drink that gives me the best of both worlds and saves me on the carbs and calories. I have created a coffee cocktail that will perk you up from that turkey trance: The Lite of Pie. Taste the flavors of Thanksgiving dessert without all of the guilt.

To make this drink, you will need Ciroc Amaretto, Pumpkin Liquor, Hazelnut coffee creamer, whipped cream and ginger snaps. You can make you own homemade whipped cream (spiking it is optional too), but we chose canned Reddi Whip because we trying to save on calories for this particular drink. This Thanksgiving cocktail is low-cal and so easy to make. Enjoy and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

The Lite of Pie cocktail:

1 Cup of Coffee
3/4 oz Ciroc Amaretto
3/4 oz Pumpkin Spice Liquor
1 oz Sugar Free Hazelnut Coffee Creamer
1 Cup of Coffee
2 Dashes of Pumpkin Pie Spice
Fat Free Whipped Cream
Ginger Snap Cookies (crumbled)

Make it:

Add Ciroc Amaretto, Pumpkin Spice Liquor, Creamer and pumpkin pie spice to your cup of coffee. Top with whipped cream and crumbled ginger snap cookies. Serve. Enjoy. It's that easy!


Follow me on Twitter!

Makin' it with Maren
Makin' it with Maren: Mixology Made Easy
by Maren Swanson
November 26th, 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Love Happy Hour - Tips & Tricks for Halloween 2013

If you’re going out on Halloween then you’re pretty much in for a good time, even if you were dragged by your BFF to come to this party.  It mainly has to do with the fact that you are someone else, alcohol is involved and you can judge everyone else’s costumes.  With all that said, us here at Love Happy Hour came up with some pretty good tips for you to survive all the parties/bars/dinners you’ll end up at on Halloween night.

Tip #1:  Bring Sandals.

*foldable ballet slips are purse friendly too

I feel like this is pretty self explanatory, but if you just had to buy those to-die for heels at Nordstrom’s because they matched your little red riding hood costume perfectly then you definitely need to follow this tip.  You’re probably going to do a lot of walking around, whether you’re going to bars or to a party. You’re feet will get sore.  Just do it. You can even go to Rite Aid or CVS; they should have some flats that will fold up and fit into whatever purse/clutch you’re bringing out with you.

Tip #2: The Cab Company is your Friend.

Put this in your phone when you’re sober. Drinking and driving is not cool, neither is getting in a car accident because of it, so just add that cab company’s number and you’re good. And if you want a Halloween happy hour of sorts, sign up at Patron Social Club to receive a $25 promo code for passengers over 21 with Uber. Here's what to do:

1. Download the free Uber iPhone/Android App or sign up at
2. Enter your information and promo code: PATRONXOCAFE
3. Request a ride 5 - 15 minutes before you need one. $25 will be applied towards your first uberX, UberBLACK, or UberSUV ride (where available). Promo code expires 11/10/13.

Tip #3:  Fully Charged Battery

Don’t go out if your phone (camera helps too) battery isn’t all the way charged; especially on a night like Halloween. Weird stuff happens sometimes and you don’t want to be stranded because you didn’t charge it all the way. This way if your friend calls you because you left him/her at the bar before or there’s an issue at the party you’re at you will never end up stuck.

Tip #4: Hydrate and Eat.

Unless your the designated driver, chances are you will be enjoying a cocktail or more. Plus, that witches brew you are drinking at the Halloween party may just take like juice, but beware, chances are it's packed with more than punch. So if you don't want to end up being a serious party foul, then alternate water between sips of booze. Carry a water bottle in your purse or jacket and make sure you have a sensible meal before you hit the town. Oh, and always keep an eye on your drink.

Trick #1: Blast that Music.

You might not be excited to go out. Maybe you’re just shy or maybe your BFF is dragging you to her BF’s party.  Either way, try and make the most of it. You do not want to be the downer in the group because everyone will just hate you all night.  Blast you’re favorite Nelly song while getting ready and dance around with your BFF while drinking some kind of mixed drink. If you get to the party, hate it and are just having a miserable time then call a cab (tip #2) and go home. Watch Harry Potter instead and be happy because hey, at least you tried.

Trick #2: Be a Kid Again.

I know, I know, if you’re going out to bars and stuff you’re probably too old to be trick or treating. BUT, if you’re feeling down about Halloween and have no idea how you got to be so old then just hit a house. If the lights are on and they’ve got decorations up, do it! It’ll make you feel better and you’ll probably end up with a good story to tell.

Trick #3: Be Confident.

A lot of the time we can get down on ourselves (especially when looking at a more creative costume, etc.), but make sure that doesn’t happen tonight! Wear an outfit that you feel most comfortable and confident in. It doesn’t have to be slutty so don’t base it around that if you’re not into that scene. Being comfortable makes you confident, which makes you stand out at wherever you’re going out this Halloween night.

Enjoy your Hallows eve, Halloween, and/or the day after party! Make sure to be safe and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. 

*co-written by Jessica Tierney and Maren Swanson

Halloween Cocktail Recipe - The Clockwork Orange

Halloween is almost here - check out this fantastic cocktail recipe!