Hungry Girl Happy Hour: 75 Recipes for Amazingly Fantastic Guilt-Free Cocktails and Party Foods

Image of Hungry Girl Happy Hour: 75 Recipes for Amazingly Fantastic Guilt-Free Cocktails and Party Foods
Release Date: 
June 21, 2010
St. Martin's Griffin
Reviewed by: 

 Get out of here! You’ve got to be kidding—vodka, Jell-O, and chocolate chips? No, she’s not joking, though Lisa Lillien does interlace this small paperback with a touch of whimsy and humor. The previous ingredients are from the “Black Forest Jell-O Shot Dessert” recipe and, like most of the others in this collection, are easy to create and quite delicious, even those that at first glance sound just as bizarre.

This is the latest in the best-selling Hungry Girl series, which is fast becoming a franchise. If this title is any indication of those preceding it, it is easy to see why the series has caught on like wild women riding wolves on Venus. The introduction prepares the home chef or party-planner with items one should have on hand before preceding. The book is nicely illustrated (without being too corny or pretentious); is laid out smartly, with easy to follow directions; and has such killer photographs in the middle section that you want to reach in and grab a drink or snack right off the page.

As the author states, Hungry Girl Happy Hour has no “fancy-schmancy stuff required,” which is exactly why it is such a treat. It’s like your best friend calling you up and saying, “Let’s meet up at the Out of This World Bar. They have the best drink ever. It’s called the ‘Chilly Chocolate Mudslide’ and it will knock your socks off.’” The big difference, of course, is that you don’t have to go to your local tavern to enjoy a good time; you can whip up these devilish delights in minutes at home.

Some small piddling persnickety problems with Happy Hour are: the print size, which is too small and difficult to read (in some places); about half of the recipes require a lot of ingredients, which can be mixed quickly, but can take some time to acquire in the first place; and except for Chapter Five (“Crazy-Good Crowd Pleasers”), all of the recipes are for only one serving. Even though it is easy to multiply the ingredients for the number of people drinking (two partners alone or a small gathering of four), it would have been nice to have measurements clearly stated for one, two, and four servings with each drink.

The refreshing aspect of this wonderful and creative collection is that Ms. Lillien is no puritanical purist and doesn’t pretend to be. All of the drinks and snacks are low in calories and fat, but there is no admonition to make the ingredients organic or locally grown. If you’re looking for guilt-ridden politically correct fare, take a class in philosophy or join some religion, because you won’t find it here. You will find some of the most delightful off-the-wall drinks and snacks you could ever imagine—and some that Einstein himself couldn’t have discovered.