Stuck at home wishing you were at happy hour? Pour yourself a drink!

If there was ever a year that made you wish every hour was happy hour, 2020 is that year. Unsurprisingly, alcohol sales have been up during the pandemic. (We’re pretty sure ‘Wine with DeWine’ is partially to blame.) Several communities in Ohio passed legislation to allow open containers in public spaces this spring and many took to Instagram to learn mixology in between Zoom calls.

But with COVID-19 cases once again on the rise across the Mid-Ohio Valley and a new social curfew of 10:00 pm in place in Ohio, hitting up your favorite local bar on a Friday evening is a little less appealing, especially with colder weather setting in. While a drink at home is no substitute for a night on the town with friends, mixing your own cocktail can make quarantine a little more fun. (Just ask Stanley Tucci.)

We’ve asked a few of our favorite local bars to share a recipe for one of their signature drinks, but first – a few tips!

Set the mood. Dim the lights and pick a good playlist. For an extra touch of local, check out this “Quarantunes” playlist curated by Bobby Rosenstock of Just A Jar Design Press and local band OYO featuring several local musicians.

Don’t stress. This is supposed to be relaxing, remember? If you’re missing an ingredient, look up a substitute or just experiment. You can hit up Weber’s or North End Market for your staples, but you can sometimes find mixers like simple syrup and bitters at your neighborhood grocery store, too. Nobody is watching (unless you’re Stanley Tucci) – so feel free to skip the garnish or grab whatever glass is clean. Don’t have a cocktail shaker? No worries – you can use an insulated travel mug strained into a colander.

Take your time. It’s still worth taking that extra step if you have fresh lemons or limes to squeeze. And unless you have bartending experience, it can be easy to make your drink too strong or way off, especially if you are relying on shot glasses as measuring units. If you don’t have a jigger, 1 Tbsp is the same as 1/2 oz.

740 Social’s River Roar

One of the newest bars in town, 740 Social opened just this spring in downtown Marietta. This swanky, speakeasy-style bar, restaurant and lounge not only offers a mouthwatering menu featuring dishes like Cauliflower Buffalo Bites and stone oven pizza, but a superb list of specialty drinks, including a number of prohibition-era cocktails. We asked owners Whitney and Sebastian to share the recipe for one of the local favorites, the River Roar Martini.

Ingredients: 1.5 oz Absolute Citron, .5 oz Blue Curacao, 3 oz White Cranberry Juice, and a lemon wedge for garnish

Pour the Vodka, Blue Curacao, and White Cranberry Juice into a glass, add ice, top with shaker and shake. If you don’t have a Boston Shaker, you can pour the three liquids into a glass, add ice, and stir for 1 minute until the glass chills on the outside. Strain into a Martini glass (or drink on the rocks! You’re the bartender now!) Garnish with lemon.

Sound like too much work? All of 740 Social’s drinks are available to-go. They even send all of their specialty cocktails and martinis with plastic glasses, garnishes, and the drinks in glass bottles so that you can enjoy the full experience from the comfort of your home! You can also dine in person, 740 Social is open Monday – Friday, 11:00 am to 9:00 pm, and Saturday, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.

The Blennerhassett’s Lavender Dream

If you’ve been to The Blennerhassett Hotel’s Restaurant & Lounge in Parkersburg, chances are you’ve had their signature Lavender Dream Martini. This light and refreshing cocktail is a local favorite. When it comes to the taste and fragrance of this particular cocktail,  real  lavender (not extract) is of utmost importance. You can find dried, organic and locally grown lavender at Mother Earth Foods in Parkersburg. Fresh lavender will provide the same taste, but the color is not nearly as striking as using dried lavender.

The sweetness of the Lavender Dream comes from their house made lavender-infused simple syrup.

Ingredients and supplies for the simple syrup: 1 cup boiling water, 3 tbsp. dried lavender, 2 cups sugar, a coffee filter, and a small funnel

Bring water to a boil. Add lavender and sugar, mix gently. Be sure the sugar is completely dissolved. Reduce heat, let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool. Once mixture is cool to the touch, strain through the coffee filter and funnel into a pitcher. The mixture will store for approximately one week.

Ingredients and supplies for the martini: Cocktail shaker/strainer, a jigger if you have one, 1 cup ice, 3 oz. Vanilla Vodka (we prefer Absolut, but you can use your brand of choice), 2 oz. Lavender Simple Syrup, half of a pressed lemon

Mix all ingredients together until chilled – roughly about 20 shakes. Strain into chilled or room temperature glass, depending on your preference. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Sound like too much work? The Blennerhassett Hotel Lounge is open Sunday – Thursday, 11:00 am to 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday, 11:00 am to 10:00 pm.

The Galley’s Caramel Apple Sangria

The Galley, which was voted the #1 place to find the Best Creative Cocktail in last year’s Best of the MOV, had a hard time choosing a favorite from their seasonal cocktail line-up. Quite literally in the center of downtown Marietta, The Galley is known for their clever and delectable drinks – and their Caramel Apple Sangria is no exception. Treat yourself to this sweet sangria with a twist!

Ingredients: 1.5 caramel vodka, 5 oz Pinot Grigio, 3 oz Apple Cider, Ice

Mix vodka, pinot grigio, and apple cider in a shaker with ice. Strain into a red wine glass with ice. Garnish with a sliced or quartered apple.

Sound like too much work? The Galley is open Monday through Thursday, 11:00 am to 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday, 11:00 am to 10:00 pm. In addition to seasonal cocktails and cordials, they have one of the largest beer selections in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

DaVinci’s Italian Restaurant’s Moscow Mule

While we definitely frequent DaVinci’s Italian Restaurant for the food, there’s nothing quite like cozying up in the bar with a refreshing drink, and the Moscow Mule is one of our go-to’s. This popular drink features vodka, spicy ginger beer, and lime juice and is famously served in a copper mug.

Ingredients: 2 shots of Vodka of choice, 1 shot of lime juice, 4 oz. of Ginger Beer, a slice of lime, and a copper mug

Combine vodka and ginger beer in a copper mug or highball glass filled with ice. Add lime juice. Stir gently and garnish with the lime slice.

Sound like too much work? DaVinci’s is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10:30 am to 9:00 pm, and Sunday, 11:00 am to 8:00 pm.

The Cocktail Bar’s Goldie Hawn Martini

The Cocktail Bar (formerly The Coffee Bar) is located in downtown Parkersburg and has been known to sling a mean (aka wonderful) drink. The Goldie Hawn Martini – a sweet (but not too sweet) twist on the Espresso Martini blends the best of both worlds – coffee and cocktail. Owner Zak Huffman shared the recipe so that you can impress yourself making this delightful signature drink!

Ingredients: 1 oz Bacardi Silver Rum, 1 oz McGillicutty’s Vanilla Liqueur, Espresso or Coffee, Half & Half , ice, honey, cinnamon

In your glass, pour the rum, vanilla liqueur, espresso or coffee and half & half until the glass is nearly full. Pour into a shaker and shake over ice vigorously for 10 seconds or until frothy. Pour desired amount of honey around the rim, let it drizzle down into the glass. Using a strainer, pour your cocktail back into the glass. Add a small coat of cinnamon to the top.

If you want to go the extra mile, since your cocktail is frothy, you can throw a few coffee beans on top as a garnish. Congrats, you’ve now made The Cocktail Bar’s most popular drink!

Sound like too much work? The Cocktail Bar is open Monday – Wednesday, 11:00 am to 10:00 pm, Thursday, 11:00 am to midnight, Friday, 11:00 am to 2:30 am, Saturday, 5:00 pm to 2:30 am, and the first Sunday of each month for brunch, 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. The Cocktail Bar also offers bottled wine and domestic and craft beer to go.