To Do This Weekend: Host a Happy Hour

It’s Friday!  That means it’s time to unwind and enjoy some time with friends.  These recipes are simple, don’t require any obscure products, and can be prepped ahead.  Paired with a roaring fire in the fireplace, these recipes will make a great spread for an easy cocktail hour gathering.

Ginger Sparkler

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  • 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) dry sparkling wine, such as Cava, Prosecco, or Champagne

    Set a fine-mesh sieve over a small bowl; set aside. In a small saucepan, boil ginger, sugar, and 1/4 cup water until syrupy, about 2 minutes. Pour through sieve into bowl, discarding solids. (To store syrup, refrigerate in an airtight container, up to 1 week.)

    Pour 1 tablespoon syrup into each of 8 tall glasses. Top with sparkling wine, and gently stir.

Pear and Sparkling Cider Cocktail

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  • 2 cups pear nectar, chilled
  • 2 cups sparkling apple cider, chilled
  • 2 cups seltzer, chilled
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) bourbon whiskey, such as Knob Creek
  • 1 Bosc pear, unpeeled, cored, and cut lengthwise into 8 wedges

    Stir together pear nectar, cider, seltzer, and whiskey in a pitcher. Divide pear wedges among glasses, and pour in cocktail. Can be prepared 1-2 hours in advance.

Warm Spiced Nuts

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  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups pecan halves, or assorted nuts, such as cashews, walnuts, or almonds

    Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Beat egg white until soft and foamy. Combine all remaining ingredients except pecans; whisk into egg white. Stir in pecans until well coated; spread mixture in single layer onto an ungreased baking pan.

    Bake pecans for 15 minutes, then remove from oven. Using a metal spatula, toss, stir, and separate nuts. Reduce oven to 250 degrees and return nuts to bake until medium brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven; toss, and stir again. Place baking pan on wire rack to cool (they will crisp as they cool). Break up any that stick together.  Serve warm.

 Happy sipping, and have a great weekend.

via martha stewart

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