It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to shoot some promotional photos for the new cookbook, The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Happy Hour, which is out today! The author is John Schlimm, whose three vegan cookbooks I’ve been lucky enough to photograph (The Tipsy Vegan, Grilling Vegan Style and The Cheesy Vegan), so I knew I was in for a treat. His latest cookbook features bar snacks and beer cocktails that are perfect for parties and pair nicely with craft beers and seasonal brews. I have to say everything I prepared for the shoot was wonderful, but the ones pictured above were my favorites. And with permission from the publisher, I get to share the recipes with you!

I’m pretty sure I ate my weight in those mixed nuts, so be careful with them; they’re addictive!

Grilled Portobello Burgers

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons dry white vermouth
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, divided
2 Anaheim chile peppers, seeded, each pepper carved into 2 wedges
2 jalapeños, finely chopped
8 portobello mushrooms (about 1 pound), black gills under the caps scraped away
4 potato bread rolls/buns or regular hamburger buns
2 to 3 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1/4 cup mayonnaise
4 romaine lettuce leaves, halved and trimmed to fit inside the rolls
1 tomato, sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced

Whisk the canola oil with the balsamic vinegar, vermouth, garlic powder, onion powder, Old Bay Seasoning, soy sauce, Tabasco sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Add the Anaheim chile wedges, jalapeños, and mushrooms, and toss to coat thoroughly. Marinate the mixture at room temperature for 45 minutes.

Lightly oil the grates, if necessary, and heat the grill to medium. Grill the pepper wedges, skin side down, until blackened, about 10 minutes, turning after 5 minutes to create crisscross grill marks. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then rub off the skins with paper towels.

Meanwhile, grill the mushrooms, covered, until tender, about 8 minutes, turning once after about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Split the buns and toast them. Stir the tarragon into the mayonnaise in a small bowl. Generously spread the mayonnaise mixture on both insides of the toasted buns.

Place two grilled mushrooms on the bottom half of each hamburger roll, and top with a lettuce leaf, and tomato and red onion slices. Close the burgers, and serve promptly.

Alehouse Agave and Chipotle Mixed Nuts

2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried chipotle powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups pecans, almonds, unsalted peanuts, and/or walnuts
3/4 cup Wheat Chex or Chex Mix
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt, such as Lawry’s

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Combine the agave, chipotle powder, and cinnamon in a medium-size skillet and heat the mixture over low heat until it’s warmed through. Add the nuts of your choice, and stir to coat evenly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread the nuts and Wheat Chex in a single layer on the sheet. Bake until the nuts are fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once. Allow the nuts to cool slightly for 1 to 2 minutes.

Combine the brown sugar and seasoned salt in a medium-size bowl. Add the warm nuts and Chex, and toss to coat evenly. Spread out the nuts on a sheet of waxed paper, and let them dry completely. Once dry, store the nuts in an airtight container for up to a week.

Beach Party Punch

4 ounces rum
4 ounces vodka
4 ounces amaretto
4 ounces gin
24 ounces Pale Lager, Fruit Beer, or Kölsch
1 (12-ounce) can Sprite or ginger ale
8 ounces orange juice
8 ounces pineapple juice
Garnish with your choice of orange slices, pineapple chunks, and maraschino cherries (optional)

Combine all the ingredients, except the optional garnishes, in a medium-size to large punch bowl, stirring well. Garnish as desired, including freezing some orange slices, pineapple chunks, and maraschino cherries inside an ice mold.