"Choose happy" is a mantra I try to live by every day. And today — on National Happy Hour Day — there's a chance to enjoy a double dose of glee. In honor of the special holiday, I shook up some tasty libations (putting my novice bartending skills to the test). Grab a glass and sip on these two elegant "Joy-tinis": The first is a light but flavorful cranberry-lemon martini and the second is a spicy, double-dirty martini with jalapeños. And of course, I've included a yummy snack: cheesy, salty, crunchy cacio e pepe popcorn. Hey, it's 5 o'clock somewhere!
Cacio e Pepe Popcorn
Popcorn is a snacker's delight! It's a whole grain that can be flavored in any number of delicious ways. I got a little creative on this version, merging the munchie with the classic Italian combo of pepper and cheese. This recipe is beyond easy — it takes just five minutes to make. And after several testing attempts, I figured out a way to ensure all kernels pop evenly. That's right — no uncooked stragglers or sad-looking burnt kernels lingering at the bottom of the bowl. I toss it with grated Pecorino Romano — a sharp, salty cheese that pairs perfectly with cracked black pepper. (You can easily swap in Parmesan, if you prefer.) The combo of cheese, pepper and an addictive crunch bring a simple snack to a whole new level.
Get the recipe here.
This holiday helper is so festive and delightful, you'll be sipping in finesse all evening long. Without a drop of simple syrup or added sugar, plus a dose of antioxidants, this cocktail boasts boozy benefits (try saying that ten times fast). Martinis can go in infinite directions and you can adjust the recipe to your liking by either pulling back on the cranberry juice for a stronger sip or adding more lemon juice for tart, lip-puckering goodness. Also, you can choose vodka or gin for the base. Joyful tip: This drink is best served ice cold so consider placing the glasses in the freezer before using.
Like your martini dirty? This cocktail is definitely calling your name. You get a hit of heat from the fiery jalapeños. Taper the spice level by adjusting the amount of jalapeños: For a fierce kick, leave the seeds and membranes intact; for more subtle heat, remove them before adding to your glass. While the traditional dirty martini calls for gin, I prefer using vodka for a smoother feel … but as I like to say, "You're the boss of your sauce!"
For more tasty recipes, check out Joy's cookbook "Joy Bauer's Superfood!" and follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
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