The Latest

This page is essentially the blog section of the site. I am constantly updating and adding pages to all the sections on Social Hour, from recipes to the liquor guide.  You can always come here to keep track of the most recent additions, as well as past ones.  

June 18, 2019

The Watermelon Margarita brings together two of the most delicious members of the culinary kingdom.  But despite the promise of its alluring name, this drink is rarely made to its full potential.  That fate will not befall you.​  You can't just add watermelon to a Margarita and call it a day, adjustments need to be made.  The most important: watermelon syrup, using my recipe, it is a game-changer.  If you're into all things spicy, I highly recommend using jalapeño tequila in this.  Regardless, follow the steps and irresistible refreshment awaits you!

Visit the Watermelon Margarita Page!

April 19, 2019

The Jack Rose is a classic, fruit-forward sour with Apple brandy and grenadine.  It was huge in it’s day - which was the early 20th century - but today is not embraced the way some other resurgent classics are (Last Word, Sazerac, etc.). This is likely because of the grenadine, which has a reputation for kid’s drinks and cocktails that are better off forgotten - sorry, Tequila Sunrise.  But real grenadine is a legit classic cocktail ingredient, provided you don’t use the mass market stuff.  I've always made it from scratch - my recipe is also on the new page.  If you use that in your Jack rose, and balance it well, it is a drink that absolutely deserves a seat at the grownups cocktail table. 

Visit the Jack Rose Page!

February 2, 2019

After 2 years of focussing on recipes, I'm finally making on update to the Liquor Guide.  This new section contains 5 new pages about the inner workings of spirits production: from fermentation to distillation to barrel maturation, and beyond.  I've been working on this on and off for 4 or 5 years (seriously) and in the coming months, I’ll be adding individual pages for each spirits category that will include definitions of different styles, production details, and some of my personal brand recommendations.  This new section will serve as a foundation to all of that.  Fair warning, is without a doubt the nerdiest and science-iest stuff I've ever posted, as well as the most fascinating - to me anyway.  Get ready for some chemistry and biology!

Visit the Spirits Production Section!

January 4, 2019

This is one of my favorite cocktails that I’ve created.  Which is ironic, because it was kind of an accident. I threw it together on a whim thinking it would be a tasty Martini riff.  But because it was so simple I assumed the recipe already existed in an old cocktail book somewhere.  That turned out not to be the case. But while some drinks are very similar (it’s basically a Martinez with a little dry vermouth) there’s nothing out there quite like it. So I did what any humble bartender would do.  I claimed the drink as my own, and named it after myself.  To be clear, I’m not saying this is the perfect Martini, just a perfect Martini (as in, a split of sweet and dry vermouth) created by me.  That said, I do think it’s pretty damn perfect. 

Visit the Tom's Perfect Martini Page!

December 18, 2018

Christmas approaches!  As such, I'm adding another Eggnog recipe to the site, which brings the total to 4.   Pumpkin spice has become so popular it’s practically part of the American Zeitgeist. Not only is it delicious, it manages to evoke the warm cozy feeling of autumn, winter and the holidays all rolled into one. So adding it to Eggnog - which also evokes those things - was a no brainer.

What’s nice about this recipe is it actually contains, and tastes like, real pumpkin.  Most pumpkin spice-flavor things are just the baking spices associated with pumpkin pie: cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg. So of all the pumpkin-y things out there, this is probably one of the pumpkin-y-est. 

Check out the Pumpkin Eggnog Page!

November 11, 2018

The Mai Tai is the most iconic tiki cocktail of all time. Why am I posting a tropical cocktail in the middle of November you ask?   Because I started working this post in July.  It was a beast.  Lots of time, research and Mai Tais went into the making of this page.  From how to make orgeat (an almond syrup), to the proper rum blend to the history, there’s a lot of ground to cover.  But at long last, here it is.  As you'll see, the Mai Tai is a drink that takes some effort to collect and prepare all the ingredients for.  But it is well worth it. For those who complete the quest, paradise awaits.

Visit the New Mai Tai Page

July 29, 2018

The Paloma is the most popular tequila cocktail after the Margarita (unless you're in Mexico, where it's more popular than the Margarita).  It's endlessly refreshing and dead simple to make, just blanco tequila topped with grapefruit soda, a squeeze of lime and a pinch of salt.  Of course, as those familiar with me and the site won't be surprised to hear, perfecting the recipe together wasn't so easy.  Over the past 6 weeks I've tried, and made Palomas with, every grapefruit soda I could get my hands on - some I had to hunt down - along with several tried different ratios and compositions (rim the glass with salt or throw it right in? one lime wedge or two?).  But it was all worth it.  The recipe on this new page may just put you off Margaritas for life (maybe, probably not).  

Visit the Paloma Page!

May 26, 2018

Playing a bit of catch up here.  I've made a few additions to the site over the last month.  On Mother's Day I posted at page on the Cosmopolitan, which is is actually a damn good drink.  If you wrote it off after Sex and the City ended, it's worth revisiting.

Visit the Cosmopolitan Page!

I also just posted a page on the Constant Gardener, a Daiquiri variation that I created with muddled red bell pepper and peach liqueur.   It works, trust me!

Visit the Constant Gardener Page!

April 28, 2018

Spring has sprung, finally!  My first warm weather cocktail pages of the year feature two close relatives: the Southside Fizz and the Southside.  The Southside Fizz is basically a gin Mojito with muddled cucumber and the most refreshing cocktail I know.  I’m not kidding, if I had to pick one, this would be it.  The Southside is a modern variant with no “fizz” (soda water) or cucumber and is served straight up like a Gimlet, so it offers more bracing to-the-point refreshment.  It all depends on your mood.

A third cocktail called an Eastside also fits into this story, this is a Southside plus cucumber. Confused? That why I didn’t give the Eastside its own page, the variances are so slight. Though I did go into the details of each drink’s history and how they are linked together on the Southside Fizz page, along with why I think cucumber is the bacon of the cocktail world.

Check out the Southside Fizz and the Southside pages!

April 8, 2018

Spring still stubbornly refuses to surface, so I am holding off on herbs, fruit and citrus cocktails for now.  But I’m not complaining, because that gives me excuse to feature another one of my favorite stirred cocktails: the Hanky Panky.  Despite it’s adolescent-sounding name, this is quite the grown-up cocktail.  Its constructed a lot like a Martinez, but with the key addition of fernet, which imparts an intriguing bittersweet note.  If you’re a fan the Negroni, Manhattan, and particularly the Toronto, this cocktail is for you.

Included on the page is the usual look into the cocktail’s history, which is particularly notable in this case because it was created by Ada Coleman, the head bartender of he iconic Savoy Hotel bar from 1903-1926. This makes the Hanky Panky an, unfortunately rare, example of a classic cocktail created by a woman.  Which is why I’ve also added some thoughts on bartenders who happen to be women (hint: they are the best).

Visit the Hanky Pa...

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