Summer means long evenings hanging out in the backyard with your friends and family, relaxing over cold drinks and delicious food. Planning happy hour shouldn't be hard -- it's summer, so keeping it easy-breezy is key. All you need are a few drinks, a good sandwich, and some simple snacks. Add a few festive touches with brightly colored dishes and don't forget the citronella candles.
Summer happy hour drinks should focus on the frozen and the citrusy, but make sure you've got something non-alcoholic on the menu, too. While breaking out the grill is fun, sometimes you need to keep things even simpler, so don't shy away from picking up snacks and sandwiches from a good local restaurant.
Read on for some ideas, recipes, and tips to help you host the ultimate backyard happy hour this summer.
1. The Mocktail
From the mixologists at Perry's Steakhouse & Grille come some fizzy non-alcoholic drinks that can be a tasty inspiration for your ultimate happy hour because it's important to have a mocktail on the menu that both kids and adults can enjoy. This Pineapple Ginger Ale Mocktail is built on the essence of spicy summer flavors. Just take freshly muddled pineapple, mint, and ginger, shake well, and then top with your favorite ginger ale.
2. The Lobster Roll
The good folks at Vince Young Steakhouse bring us the ultimate food for picnics and backyard grill outs: the Lobster Roll. Indulgent butter-poached lobster, tarragon aioli, butter lettuce, and a toasted brioche bun make for a sandwich that has summer in every bite. If you're ready to try your hand at this delectable dish at home, remember that fresh lobster and good rolls are key.
3. The Frozen Cherry Limeade
Cherry limeades are classic summer backyard sippers and this version turns everything you love about the pink drink up to 11. First, make it a frozen slushy because after a long day's work in the heat, you deserve a cool treat. Second, it's happy hour, so make it a fun boozy adult version. All you need is a blender and a few ingredients. Use Seersucker Southern Style Gin and blend it up with fresh lime juice, a splash of the South's own Jack Rudy Grenadine, and ice, then garnish your summer slushy with a maraschino cherry and lime wedge.
4. The On-the-Rocks Paloma
Forget margaritas, Palomas are on the rise this summer. The Paloma, which is Mexico's most beloved cocktail, is a simple mix of grapefruit, lime, tequila, and club soda. Dulce Vida Spirits makes it easy with their grapefruit-infused tequila, so you only need to mix in lime juice and Squirt soda for a refreshing summer cocktail. Plus, Dulce Vida Tequila only has 66 calories, which means you have more room for everyone's favorite summer snack...
5. The Guac
Okay, so guacamole is good any time of year, but it really does fit right in with the ultimate backyard happy hour. Fresh guac is easy to make (or pick up from a place like Freebirds World Burrito, because let's face it, the whole point to happy hour is that it should be as easy as possible). If you are going to make it at home, stick to the classic combo of avocados, chopped jalapeños, onions, cilantro, lime, and salt and pepper. Pro tip to make your guac last all through the evening: drizzle some olive oil on top to help preserve the bright green color.
Watch: How to Make a Southside Rickey.