Karen Gordon: Keep happy hour fresh with these cocktail recipes

Karen Gordon offers up five of her favourite cocktail recipes, perfect for happy hour

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A weekly happy hour can not only help us preserve your sanity, but it will allow you to try a slew of different libations.
A weekly happy hour can not only help us preserve your sanity, but it will allow you to try a slew of different libations.  Photo by Karen Gordon /PNG

To help us get through the COVID-19 pandemic, we started our own happy hour tradition at home, every Friday, at 5 p.m.

For the last 20 months, my husband and I have each owned a week where we took turns at coming up with unusual cocktails. And since we’re both equally competitive, we are always looking to outdo the other in flavour and uniqueness. This ritual has not only helped us preserved our sanity, but it has also allowed us to try a slew of different libations. In the meantime, we’ve amassed a small collection of barware, a new liquor cabinet and a big list of cocktail recipes!


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Here are five of my favourite cocktail recipes — all delicious and distinctive — and perfect for the holidays. The first two are particularly unexpected. The Mushroom Truffle Daiquiri and the Pho Mango Bourbon Sour, both contain Campbell’s broths that magically transform into cocktails.

Did you know that using broth in cocktails is a new and modern approach to creating complex flavour combinations? Isn’t it ingenious? Brothtail, anyone?

The next three recipes also rely on the unusual combination of ingredients to create their special flavour profiles. The base of the Pomegranate Lychee-tini is a unique lychee liqueur, giving the drink its’ juicy, fruity yet floral flavour. The use of roasted shishito peppers in the Smokey Shishito Spice Margarita adds a sweet, smokey, herbaceous and slightly spicy note to an average margarita. And finally, a nightcap consisting of espresso and Coca-Cola, neither of which are conducive for sleep; but combined with vanilla rye and aperol, this cocktail makes for a party in the mouth. Sleep would be the furthest thing from the mind after a taste of this.


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Mushroom Truffle Daiquiri

This original cocktail is perfect for the foodie. Not only does it contain black truffle oil, a robust and savoury ingredient, but it also contains Campbell’s mushroom broth. The delicious combination of rum, lime juice, mushroom broth and truffle oil creates an earthy, pungent yet refreshing daiquiri, unlike anything you’ve tasted before.

2 oz. white rum

0.5 oz fresh squeeze lime juice

1 oz. mushroom broth syrup

1-2 drops truffle oil

Lime wheel for garnish

For the brothtail: Add rum, lime juice and mushroom broth syrup into a shaker with ice. Shake hard for 15 seconds until well chilled. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Add a drop or two of truffle oil. Garnish with a lime wheel. Enjoy.


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Mushroom broth syrup:

1 cup (240ml) Campbell’s mushroom broth

½ cup (100g) granulated sugar

Heat the Campbell’s mushroom broth and sugar a small saucepan. Simmer on low until dissolved. Chill in refrigerator until needed.

Pho Mango Bourbon Sour

The Pho Mango Bourbon Sour tastes nothing like Pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup. This delicious yet untraditional whiskey sour relies on white vinegar instead of lemon juice to give it its tang. Ginger, basil, mango juice and egg white make for a rich and creamy cocktail with a warm, spicy, and tropical vibe.

1 oz. pho basil ginger syrup

2 oz. bourbon

2 oz. mango juice

1 egg white or 2 tbs pasteurized liquid egg whites

Star anise and basil leaf for garnish

For the brothtail: Add bourbon, mango juice, pho basil ginger syrup, and egg white into a shaker. Shake hard until egg white is emulsified. Add ice and shake again for about 15 seconds until well chilled. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Garnish with star anise and basil leaf.


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Pho basil ginger syrup:

¼ cup Campbell’s pho broth

¼ cup sugar

1 tbs fresh basil, chopped

2 tbs white vinegar

2 tbs fresh ginger chopped

For the pho basil ginger syrup: heat the Campbell’s pho broth, sugar, ginger, basil, and vinegar in a small saucepan until it comes to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow syrup to cool. Strain and refrigerate until needed.

Pomegranate Lychee-tini

Here’s a holiday cocktail that taste as delicious as it looks. Soho lychee liqueur, lychee syrup and lime juice are layered with tart pomegranate juice and a gin float to create a fruity and floral martini. The trick to layering cocktails has to do with density; always start with the heaviest liquid first and end with the lightest.


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1/4 oz lychee syrup or simple syrup

1/2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

1-1/2 oz Soho lychee liqueur

1 oz pomegranate juice

1-1/2 oz chilled gin

Lime twist for garnish

Add lychee syrup, lime juice and Soho lychee liqueur into a shaker with ice. Shake hard for about 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Using the back of a tablespoon, layer on the pomegranate juice. Using another clean tablespoon, to prevent the transfer of colour, float a layer of chilled gin on top of the pomegranate juice. Garnish with a lime twist.

Smokey Shishito Spice Margarita

Shishito peppers, found in local Asian supermarkets, are mild peppers from Japan that are sweet with a delicate texture. Only one out of every 10 peppers will be spicy hot. When roasted, shishito peppers retain their sweetness but impart a slight smokiness to them which lends well to this refreshing cocktail.


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2 oz reposado tequila

1 oz triple sec

1 lime, rolled to release the juices and cut into eight wedges

3 pan-roasted shishito peppers

2 oz margarita or sweet and sour mix

Coarse sea salt for rimming

Add tequila, triple sec, two lime wedges and two roasted shishito peppers into a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler, crush the lime and peppers to release their juices and oils. Then fill shaker with ice and margarita mix. Replace shaker top and shake for about 15 seconds until very cold. Strain mixture into a chilled, salt rimmed, highball glass. Garnish with shishito pepper.

For a spicier margarita: Add a couple of slices of jalapeno or serrano peppers to the shaker along with the shishito peppers before muddling.

To pan-roast the shishito peppers: Add ½ lb (250g) rinsed and dried shishito peppers, and ½ tablespoon olive oil to a large mixing bowl. Toss well to combine. Preheat a skillet over medium heat until very hot. Add the peppers. Allow the peppers to char on one side for about 2-3 minutes before turning. Cook until peppers are tender with charred spots. Remove and set aside to cool.


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Espresso and Coke Nightcap

Instead of dessert, how about an after-dinner cocktail? Adapted from The Dewberry Charleston’s Coffee and Coke recipe, this cocktail combines the delicious warmth of vanilla whiskey with the bitterness of chocolate and espresso, hint of orange, and the effervescence of Coca-Cola to create a cocktail that’s sure to rival any dessert.

1 oz. vanilla whiskey

0.25 oz. aperol

1 oz. cold espresso

1 dash chocolate bitters


Orange slice for garnish

Add vanilla whiskey, aperol, espresso and bitters into a cocktail shaker. Shake hard. Pour into an ice-filled highball glass. Top with cold Coca-Cola and garnish with a slice of orange.

Karen Gordon is a Food Blogger from North Vancouver who shares her recipe creations online at karentology.com and on Instagram at @karen.t.ology



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Source: vancouversun.com