Is DovBear transitioning into lifestyle blog? Not likely. I'm just sharing my thoughts and experiences as per usual
** Pre-shabbos Happy Hour might not work for everyone. It can be hard to pull off if you have small kids, a disorganized, last-minute personality (or a wife like that) or an inflexible work schedule. However, I don't think its fair to assume that it only happens if the wife gets screwed. There are other models.
As a veteran of dozens of these small, informal gatherings I can tell you there are generally three ways to pull it off.
A BAD JOB
The Drink: Want to strike out? Put out a low end beer, like Bud or Coors. There is literally never a good excuse to serve these horrible beverages. And you lose points for using a Red Solo Cup.
The Snack: Chips and salsa. You think you're playing it safe. Really, you're being cheap and boring.
The Drink: You owe it to your guests to pour something decent, plus you don't want to look chintzy. At around $50, Oban fits the bill. Its sweet with a pleasant hint of smoke without being peaty. Larceny is a good up-to-the minute option for your bourbon lovers, and Blue Moon is your can't miss beer.
The Snack: Toss your favorite variety of Jack's Sausages on the grill, and serve them in thirds with a good mustard. No one wants to overeat or get full right before shabbos, so cut them up. Put out some olives and pickles to go with the chips.
NOW YOU'RE TRYING
The Drink: You'll still need a whiskey/bourbon option for the unadventurous, but you can show you're trying by offering to start things off with a cocktail.
Don't bother with something complicated, and stay away from anything that requires weird ingredients or fruity garnishes.The Lime Rickey (air conditioning in a glass) is nothing but ice, lime, bourbon and seltzer. Thanks to Mad Men, the Old Fashioned is enjoying a reawakening. You can make one in your sleep: Just splash some bitters* on a sugar cube. Soften it up with some water or seltzer and add a slug or two of Rittenhouse Rye.
The Lime Rickey goes in a Collins glass like this nice looking number from Stolzle, Set of six - $37.99 (three left!).
Use a low ball glass for the Old Fashioned. This Borgovo Gotico- $56 costs way too much ($56!) but feels great in your hand.
* Angostura Aromatic Cocktail Bitters are certified kosher, and can be used to mix up a great OF. $12 bucks from Amazon (and about $8 in your local grocery)
Draper makes an Old Fashioned, but because he's gay he added a cherry and an orange. Don't make this mistake. All you need is a sugar cube, bitters, ice, a splash of water and Rittenhouse Rye
The Snack: While the sausages are on the grill, serve up some dips like matbucha or chumas. Bonus points if you, or better yet your wife, can make them from scratch. [Recipes here] If you are going to use a store-bough chumas, freshen it up with some oil and lemon juice before serving. If you have skills, make some wings, too. Be aware that at a minimum you'll need to section your wings, and render out the fat before applying your sauce.
Make it heimsih: Add kugel of course.
What should you wear? Don't be the dork who shows up in the suit and tie he wore to work. Take a minute to put on a polo (like this black one from Nautica) and a pair of chinos. (I like Bonobos but this flat front pair from Dockers is just fine.)
If you have some better ideas, please share them in the thread.
Search for more information about the pre-shabbos Happy Hour at 4torah.com