Easy Cocktail Hour Ideas

Plan the perfect cocktail hour with these easy, appealing cocktail and snack ideas.

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Crispy Buffalo Chickpeas

These super crispy, super flavorful Buffalo chickpeas are also super easy to make. Just salty and spicy enough to keep things interesting, they're the ideal snacking companion to a great cocktail.

Get the Recipe: Crispy Buffalo Chickpeas

Apricot-Honey Margarita

Cointreau plays a double role in this fruit-forward margarita. Fresh apricots are drizzled with Cointreau and honey, then roasted, drawing out their natural sweetness. The resulting jammy halves are muddled and shaken with more Cointreau, tequila and a spritz of fresh lemon to create a refreshing, beautiful and boldly colorful drink rich with the aroma of orange and apricot.

Get the Recipe: Apricot-Honey Margarita

Classic Negroni

With a bracingly bitter flavor, the three-ingredient negroni calls for equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari.

Get the Recipe: Classic Negroni

Harvest Cosmopolitan

The perfect drink for the crisp late-summer-into-early-fall time of year, this Cointreau-based play on the classic cosmpolitan nods to apple-picking, cooling evenings and the spices of fall baking. Unique and autumnal in coloring, the drink combines Cointreau with apple cider, cranberry juice, vodka and lemon, with a cinnamon-sugar rim to augment the fall flavors.

Get the Recipe: Harvest Cosmopolitan Cocktail

The Best Deviled Eggs

Our classic deviled eggs get their kick from mustard and hot sauce. We like the simplicity of the flavor — it's the perfect recipe to use your imagination and add your favorite toppings or mix-ins.

Get the Recipe: The Best Deviled Eggs

Cucumber-Mint Margarita

The ideal end-of-summer cocktail, this margarita takes advantage of the season’s abundance of cucumbers and herbs — in this case, fresh mint — muddling them to combine with the unique and balanced flavors of Cointreau, as well as tequila and lime. Once shaken with plenty of ice and served in a glass with a salt rim, it is fresh and light, and ideal for cocktail hour.

Get the Recipe: Cucumber-Mint Margarita

Orange You Glad

Named for its color and part of its flavor, this carrot-infused orange drink relies on bitters for bracing structure.

Get the Recipe: Orange You Glad

Jalapeno Margaritas

This bright and easy margarita has a surprising kick, thanks to the addition of a whole jalapeno. Celery leaves provide an unexpected, but cooling contrast to the chile, all balanced with Cointreau, tequila, fresh lime juice and a bit of confectioners’ sugar.

Get the Recipe: Jalapeno Margaritas

Garlic-Herb Mixed Nut Snack Mix

Make your own take on bar snack mix. This one combines nuts, popcorn, pretzels and cereal for a garlic-herb-flavored snackable bonanza.

Get the Recipe: Garlic-Herb Mixed Nut Snack Mix


This classic cosmopolitan — beloved for its tart-sweet flavor and vibrant pink color — is surprisingly easy to make. Simply shake together Cointreau, vodka, cranberry juice cocktail and fresh lime juice for a combination as bright to behold as it is to sip.

Get the Recipe: Cosmopolitan

Air Fryer Potato Chips

These crunchy air-fryer potato chips are a salty, satisfying snack that’s a cinch to cook up in time for cocktail hour. Sprinkle with parsley, paprika or coarse salt to add a little extra pizzazz.

Get the Recipe: Air Fryer Potato Chips

Frozen Watermelon Margarita for Two

Sweet, juicy watermelon adds a refreshing twist to the ultra-popular classic frozen margarita. With a bold pop of color, it’s both striking and refreshing, thanks to its base of Cointreau, tequila, lime juice and just enough confectioners' sugar and salt to make the flavors pop.

Get the Recipe: Frozen Watermelon Margarita for Two

Marinated White Beans

The ideal make-ahead snack for cocktail hour, these white beans look and taste impressive, but are blissfully easy. Slowly soften garlic in olive oil, then toss in fresh herbs and serve with toasted bread or crackers.

Get the Recipe: Marinated White Beans

French 75

Seemingly light and bubbly, with a fun name and an easy-to-sip flavor, this sweet, lemony, Champagne-topped sip is spiked with two ounces of gin.

Get the Recipe: French 75

Lemon-Wine Spritzers

Light and effervescent enough to enjoy on the hottest of days, these gin-bolstered wine spritzers are bright with lemon juice

Get the Recipe: Lemon-Wine Spritzers

Baked Goat Cheese Dip

Be sure to toast some baguette slices so that you're ready to dip when this bubbly, gooey cheese dip comes out of the oven. Goat cheese and Parmesan form the base for the tomato-topped spread.

Get the Recipe: Baked Goat Cheese Dip

Easy Sidecar

A classic sour cocktail, this sidecar is made with cognac, fresh lemon juice and orange liqueur.

Get the Recipe: Easy Sidecar Cocktail

Orange, Aperol and Rosemary Sangria

This bright orange sangria combines Aperol, a slightly bitter orange-flavored aperitif, with orange liqueur, soda, juice and slices and a nice herbal hit of fragrant rosemary for an early autumn tipple.

Get the Recipe: Orange, Aperol and Rosemary Sangria

Eggplant Ricotta Bites

This five-star finger food looks restaurant-quality, but is light and easy to whip up in just 25 minutes.

Get the Recipe: Eggplant Ricotta Bites

White Russian

Sometimes referred to as an adult milkshake, the white Russian is deceptively easy, with just three ingredients. When making each one, the cream is poured off the back of a spoon for a neat layer on top.

Get the Recipe: White Russian

Gin Marmalade Cocktail

Don't toss those near-empty jam jars. Use them to flavor — and be the shaker for — cocktails. For this easy one, add gin, lemon juice and sugar to a near-empty marmalade jar. Shake it up and pour.

Get the Recipe: Gin Marmalade Cocktail

Mai Tai

This rum-based blend taste of the ropics conjures balmy breezes and beach chairs, no matter where you spend cocktail hour. Shake light and dark rum, orgeat syrup, two juices and orange liqueur, then sip your way to warmth.

Get the Recipe: Tonga Mai Tai

Simple Singapore Sling

If you have a few common ingredients on hand, you can whip up this popular tropical drink. Pineapple juice, lime juice, grenadine and seltzer are all it takes to bolster a generous shot of gin.

Get the Recipe: Simple Singapore Sling

Frozen Sangria

Consider this sangria 2.0. Your favorite Spanish beverage has gone slushy thanks to some clever homemade red wine ice cubes and a blender. It's your new favorite warm-weather drink -- step aside daiquiris.

Get the Recipe: Sangria Slushie