The winding roads of Acadiana are still quiet most summer evenings under lockdown and now phase 1 of recovery, resulting in a sharp uptick in internet traffic from homes abuzz with families on video chats, the core social feature that gave rise to Zoom’s virtual happy hour, surging since March.
Just like that, those who had never even heard of Zoom were now using it for work, school and social life. The video chat app has exploded in popularity from 10 million to 300 million users in recent months. In response, Facebook and Google are each launching new group video chat products as an alternative to Zoom.
Whether you’re looking forward to a weekly Zoom happy hour with close friends, or plan on dropping into a video chat room filled with dozens of strangers, the celebrations of summer can help inspire themes for hosting your next virtual happy hour.
Consider island attire and a dance party announcement, tropical hors d’oeuvres and include one of the following cocktail recipes (listed below) for your featured group libation. (Tip: The delivery app Drizly partners with local liquor stores and can deliver the ingredients.)
Inspired by breezy beaches, the refreshing summer cocktails were created by Chef Matthew Gill with owner Johnny Blancher of Ye Olde College Inn Steak & Bank Bar, the new upscale dining concept at Rock ’n’ Bowl de Lafayette (a new food line is now hitting stores); and Bert Istre, proprietor of Shucks! Seafood House in Abbeville, which remains open, offering a full take-out menu that includes charbroiled oysters (sacks are also available). The new frozen margarita machine at the drive-through is helping to appease fans in the evening car lines.
CHEF MATTHEW GILL
Add 2 ounces bourbon, ¾ ounces simple syrup and ¾ ounces fresh lemon juice into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Using the back of a spoon, slowly pour 1 ounce of red wine of your choice into the cocktail. By pouring the wine onto back of spoon, it will float the wine on top rather than incorporating it into cocktail.
CHEF MATTHEW GILL
Shake 4 ounces coconut rum, 1 ounce vodka, ½ ounce midori and 4 ounces pineapple juice in a shaker filled with ice. Strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Top with a splash of lemon-lime soda and garnish with a maraschino cherry.
CHEF MATTHEW GILL
Blueberry Breeze for Two
Muddle 4 slices of cucumber in a cocktail shaker. Add 4 ounces tequila, 2 ounces triple sec and ice. Shake well. Strain into two mason jars filled with ice. Top with 1 cup lemonade, then 2 ounces blueberry syrup to desired taste and color. Garnish with cucumber slices, lemon wheel and skewered fresh blueberries.
To make blueberry syrup, simmer blueberries with equal parts of sugar and water in small saucepan over medium heat. Add lime zest. Stir until sugar is dissolved and the blueberries burst. Strain and chill until ready to use. If you’re making a pitcher of lemonade, add the remaining blueberry syrup to make blueberry lemonade for the kids while the adults enjoy cocktails.
Shucks! Bay Breeze
Put 1½ ounces vodka, 1½ ounces peach schnapps, 1½ ounces Malibu coconut rum, 1 small can pineapple juice and 1 small can cranberry juice into a plastic container or pitcher, then pour what you need in a shaker or a plain glass with ice and shake well. After shaking, strain liquid from the ice and pour into a martini glass.
Rock ‘n’ Bowl de Lafayette rocknbowl.com
Shucks! The Louisiana Seafood House shucksrestaurant.com