The season of patio parties, backyard BBQ’s and impromptu invites is underway and we’re here to remind you that the key to hosting any summer soirée is to keep it simple. Forget elaborate recipes and trying to make everything perfect (that’s what the holidays are for!). Instead, embrace the lightheartedness of long summer days and focus on just a few key elements to create a fun gathering that you will enjoy as much as your guests. After all, it’s summertime and the living — and entertaining — should be easy.
Choose a color or hue to infuse into everything from the centerpiece and place settings to the cocktails and serveware. Whichever color you choose, select one that pairs well with your home’s interior or outdoor living space to create a cohesive, polished look. Incorporate natural and white accents to compliment your palette while adding brightness and texture. Make the setting extra inviting by bringing indoor furniture outside (like accent tables and additional seating) and having plenty of pillows and throws for guests to cozy up with when the sun goes down.
Celebrate the fresh flavors of summer by making whatever is in season the star of your party. Highlight local ingredients like ripe tomatoes, juicy peaches and aromatic herbs to create a farmer’s market-inspired menu. Prepare a signature dish that you put a little more time and effort into while keeping the rest of the spread no-fuss. And consider recipes that can easily be doubled or tripled in case your guest count grows last minute.
Yield: 4 drinks
INGREDIENTS 1 cup fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 8 ounces silver tequila Cold soda water or sparkling water 1 lime, sliced into thin wheels
INSTRUCTIONS Mix 2 drinks at a time. Tear the mint leaves into pieces and put 1/2 cup into a cocktail shaker with 1/4 cup lime juice, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 4 ounces tequila. Add crushed ice and shake well. Strain over ice into high ball glasses and top off with soda water. Garnish with mint leaves and lime slices. Empty the shaker and repeat the steps to make the remaining 2 drinks.
Pre-make a big batch of your favorite summer cocktail and serve in pitchers so guests can help themselves or set up a DIY cocktail bar with an assortment of liquors, mixers and garnishes and a couple of easy to follow recipes for those who need a little libation inspiration. Charcuterie and crudité and can be assembled ahead of time and brought out casually as guests arrive for self-serve snacking. When it comes to the main event, consider recipes that can be made in advance and served cold or at room temperature like summer salads and shish kabobs. ‘No host’ hosting allows you to enjoy the party alongside your guests rather than being stuck behind the bar or the grill.
• DID YOU KNOW? •
The quickest way to keep pesky mosquitoes from crashing your party is to plug in some fans. Mosquitoes are weak flyers so even if a fan is set on low, it can create enough airflow to keep them away. It’s also a good idea to put a fan near the food table to keep them from ruining your guests’ appetites.
Lighting and music are essential to creating a party perfect atmosphere so make sure to plan for both. The good news is you don’t need a covered patio to create ambience with lighting once the sun goes down — fill buckets with stones to anchor poles for a ring of festive lights or hang outdoor lanterns from tree branches around the yard. Add extra tealights to tabletops (more near the food and drinks so guests can see what they’re serving up) and larger hurricanes in clusters on the ground for additional mood lighting. Create a playlist of your favorite songs or simply tune in to one of Spotify’s summer playlists to keep the party going.