17 Apr 2020
How to do happy hour at home

With the COVID-19 lockdown in full swing, our routines are on pause. A daily happy hour at home is a great way to transition from work to play – if you’re still working – or to simply relieve any anxiety you may be experiencing due to the pandemic. 

Below, three bartenders share what sundowner snacks and drinks they’ve been making at home, so you can make them too.

Kurt Schlechter, Cause Effect Cocktail Kitchen

‘The other day I made baked-apple martinis for us, because we have a lot of apples here. You get this beautiful, baked cocktail. It’s such an easy way to make a really nice drink.’

  • Bake and muddle apple (or pears, banana, berries – whatever fruit you have)
  • Add 50ml spirit of choice (brandy works amazingly well with apples)
  • Add 25ml of sugar syrup, maple syrup or honey water  
  • Add spice, like cinnamon or cloves (optional, and depending on your fruit and spirit)
  • Shake with ice, and strain into a glass

‘In the 1880s, they used to make a hot version. Baked apple, hot water, sugar, [spirit], then strained. Adding lemon will taste nice.’

‘[For snacks,] we like making quesadillas. Tortillas, cheese, jalapeños; maybe some salami. You put it together and cook it in a pan with the lid on, then cut it into thin slices. Then we make our own sauce, with mayo and hot sauce.’

Running out of mixer? Make your own to use as a cordial. All you need is fruit, sugar, vinegar and water. 

WATCH Kurt show you how here:


Peter Lebese, Thee Gintleman

‘I’m really enjoying my low-ABV drinks. A little nice gin, [Martini] Bianco, grapefruit and soda. Or if I don’t have soda, then I’ll go with San Pellegrino. They have that nice blood-orange flavour.’

WATCH Pete make a lockdown mimosa here:


‘Whenever I make a Bloody Mary, I keep the tomato relish and eat that with crackers and camembert cheese, pickled onions and some biltong. Something nice and easy to nibble on.’

WATCH Pete make a lockdown dessert cocktail here:


Owen O’Reilly, Sip Exclusive

‘A great but easy drink to make after a long day would be a sour! It’s a 2:1:1 recipe.’

  • Two parts spirit of any kind (gin, brandy, whiskey, tequila, or whatever floats your boat … even wine)
  • One part sugar syrup (equal parts sugar to water, simmer and stir on stove for 10 minutes)
  • One part freshly squeezed lemon juice (DO NOT use store-bought!)
  • Egg white and bitters can add great mouthfeel and depth, but totally optional

‘This can all be shaken together in a jar with ice and strained over fresh ice, or served straight in the jar. You can also top this with soda for a long drink, or skip the shaking and add hot water for an amazing winter warmer – and a healthy one, too!’

WATCH Owen work at home while Rudi de Vos makes a Cinematic Stagalicious here:


‘[For snacks, take] toasted brown bread (preferably seed loaf), drizzle with olive oil, cover with crushed-up avocado and top with tomato, or make garlic bruschetta.’

Now is the time to get creative with your happy hour at home – use up those weird syrups or jams you received as gifts as the sweet component in your drink. No lime for margaritas? Replace with vinegar (say, 15–20ml per 25ml of citrus).

Please consider supporting these bartenders while their businesses are shut down. Kurt is selling cocktail bonds, while Owen has a funding campaign with lucky-draw prizes.

This post first appeared on Food24 on 9 April 2020.

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