Pretty Cocktails to Serve for Happy Hour

Ah, Happy Hour! The designated time to transition from work to play. Celebrating with a pretty cocktail is the finest way to mark the occasion. Looking to add some new ones to your bartending repertoire? Check these out!

friends toasting happy hour with pretty cocktails
Photo: Shutterstock

The American institution known as Happy Hour actually began in Europe in the late 1800’s when bohemians gathered to sip absinthe and discuss the affairs of the day, according to an article in Saveur. Now, it’s the perfect finish to a long work day, a casual way to unwind with your friends.

Hosting a Happy Hour at your home is a way to welcome friends, catch up and relax without the stress of planning a sit-down dinner or large party.  Since Happy Hour is usually a small-ish gathering, preparation is easier and more enjoyable for you, the host. 

pretty pink happy hour cocktail on a coaster on a wooden table
Pretty in pink! Pink cocktails are always a treat, to look at and to sip. Photo: Cathy Bennett Kopf/The Open Suitcase

Choose one pretty cocktail to serve as your signature drink. Usually I set up an entire home bar and let my guests figure out their own drinks. And then someone gets stuck playing bartender. Or, we resort to always easy bottles of beer. Instead, let a signature cocktail be the focal point of your evening. When served in a beautiful way, it’s a simple and sophisticated way to celebrate Happy Hour.

Choose one of these 16 pretty cocktails to serve for Happy Hour. It’s easy for you and delicious for your guests. The result? A happier Happy Hour!

Keep the rest of your Happy Hour simple also.  Serve bite-sized appetizers that you prepare ahead of time so guests don’t need utensils and can easily eat while standing and moving around the room.  Two or three “small bite” foods should keep everyone held over until dinner.

Pretty Cocktails

Set up your cocktail station a few feet from the food.  Choose a spot in your home where guests seem to gather most.  That will generally be where people feel most relaxed.  In many homes, that is the kitchen no matter how hard we try to get people to circulate.

Most of all, Happy Hour is for relaxing and having fun.  Make your preparation simple, welcome your guests, then pour yourself a pretty cocktail and join in the festivities. Cheers!

Sparkling Blood Orange Margarita |

Vodka Pear Lavender Lemonade |

Pineapple Mango Rum Punch |

Very Pink Raspberry Cosmopolitan |

Grapefruit Cardamom Gin Fizz |

Pink Mojito |

Mermaid Margarita – Teal Blue Margarita |

Rose Lemon Spritzer |

Elderflower Syrup, Vanilla and Pear Champagne Cocktail |

Blueberry Mojito Royale |

Raspberry Sorbet Bellinis |

Summer Pineapple Cocktail |

Fresh Peach Gin and Tonic |

White Sangria with Mango and Berries |

Malibu Sunset Cocktail |

Come On, Eileen |