Happy Hour Handbook

Autumn is officially upon us and the holidays are right behind, so I'm in full-on entertaining mode. Festive fall fetes and glamorous wintertime gatherings call for a cocktail spread that's in ship shape. Stock up on my essentials for a season's worth of happy hours, from sleek decanters and colored glassware, to my secret for hosting in small spaces (hint: it's all about the collapsable table!). You can find all of my favorites for holiday hosting and sneeky necessities on my Open Sky page.

Below you can find a few of my favorite holiday sneaky recipes!


Apple Cinnamon Sangria

When I think of Sangria It brings me way back to working for my mom (patty Powers) in her catering business in Weston, Ct.  When I was a kid we were taught how to do everything from opening a bottle of wine, to setting the table to even lighting my dad his daily cigar. Not quite of age yet I learned how to make a tasty batch of sangria.


2 bottles of one white wine and one of red (Don’t pick something too good because it will be getting mixed with all of the items below)

2 Granny Smith apples

2 mangoes

2 peaches

3 lemons

3 limes

2 cups apricot brandy

½ cup brown sugar

1 T cinnamon


Slice fruit and put in bowl or 2 gallon Ziploc bag with brandy, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Soak overnight.

Frostbite Spritz


3 oz champagne 1/2 oz Aperol 1/2 oz St. Germaine 1/2 oz Meletti amaro 1/2 lime squeezed

Pour champagne over ice. Add Aperol, St. Germaine, Meletti and lime.

Top off with: Frozen cranberries, a homemade ice cube, frozen grapes or a small candy cane

Lulu's Kir Royale


My clients love this festive and flirty drink. Garnish it with a few pomegranate seeds.


Serves 1 

1 tablespoon Chambord

6 ounces Champagne or sparkling wine, well-chilled


Pour the Chambord into a Champagne flute and add the Champagne.

Lulu’s Tip: I like to garnish this drink with a dressed-up ice cube. I use long ice cube trays that I find at IKEA. I fill them with filtered water, add pomegranate seeds and sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary, and freeze. They look beautiful floating in the drink. Another fun garnish is a sugared rim: simply moisten the rim of the Champagne flute with water, turn it upside down, and dip it in a bowl of superfine sugar.


Happy Holidays friends and remember, drink responsibly!


Mini Apple/Peach Tarts

These are great because they can be made a couple of days beforehand. They have a delicious buttery crust that lends itself to more than just apples; peaches, strawberries, or chocolate mousse with caramel would also be delicious.  

Serves 12

For the dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks salted butter, chilled and cut into pieces

For the apples

  • 2 ½ pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 16 equal pieces
  • 2 ½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspooons ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ tablespoons salted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature


  1. Preheat oven 10 400 F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat
  2. In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar until blended. Add the chilled butter and pulse until the mixture resembles crumbs. Add up to ¼ cup ice water and pulse until dough just comes together when pinched with your fingers.
  3. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and gently knead together with your hands. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling out the dough.
  4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out onto a lightly floured surface until the dough is approximately 1/8 inch thick. Using a 3 1/2 inch round biscuit cutter cut out 12 rounds. Prick each round with a fork and partially bake them on a sheet pan for 8 minutes. Let cool on the sheet pan.
  5. Meanwhile, to prepare the apple filling, in a large bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice, cinnamon, and granulated sugar.
  6. Place in a baking dish and dot the top with small pieces of butter
  7. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the sugar-cinnamon mixture has begun to caramelize and thicken and the apples are cooked through. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan, stirring occasionally.
  8. To assemble, arrange the apples on each pasty round, covering the entire surface and spooning a little of the juices left into the pan over each.
  9. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden.