LIFESTYLE Recent Posts Travel & Food  >  Throw Your Best Summer Cocktail Party Yet

Throw Your Best Summer Cocktail Party Yet

Throw Your Best Summer Cocktail Party Yet
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

By Kathy Hester

The long days of summer are the perfect time to have friends over for drinks. Once you find out just how easy it is, you might find yourself hosting a weekly beginning of the weekend celebration.

What sets the mood for the party is the cocktail you select. There’s no need to get stuck playing bartender all night unless you just love doing it. It’s much easier to serve one signature drink and make it up in advance.

Skip the frozen margaritas or other high maintenance drinks. Instead choose drinks you can make ahead of time and let it do double-duty as the base for your cocktail and a mocktail for those who prefer not to drink alcohol. Make up a few pitchers or use one of those large, glass beverage dispensers. That way you’ll make it once and have enough for the whole night. Keep a supply of ice close to the ice bucket or keep it in a cooler next to the drink table. That’s just one more thing you can do before the party to free you up to enjoy the party.

Take full advantage of fresh herbs while they are in season. If you aren’t growing any yet, consider planting a few pots of easy to grow herbs like mint, basil, and thyme.  They can really make a drink go from good to stellar. Of course, it’s even easier to buy fresh herbs, and you can find them at farmers markets and most grocery stores. Try throwing a surprise into your mojito by using basil instead of the traditional mint.

Another perfect drink addition is fresh berries. They are so sweet and plentiful in the summer. My signature drink this summer is a few blackberries muddled with a few leaves of fresh mint, then topped with some homemade limoncello and sparkling water. There is an easy way to do a large batch of this drink too. Just toss the berries and mint into a blender with the limoncello. Blend until smooth and then transfer to pitchers. Keep it in the fridge until the party and make sure to stick a spoon in the pitcher so it can be stirred before each serving is poured. I like to top mine with some sparkling water but it tastes great with or without it.

Once you have the drink picked out it’s time to start thinking about food. No one expects a full dinner at a cocktail party, but it’s a must to have some food to snack on. After all, you don’t want your guests drinking on an empty stomach.

You can build the food around your drink choice. So if you’ve decided to have a Pineapple Cucumber Margarita, a spread of tortilla chips, guacamole, and a bean dip warmed in a small slow cooker would work great. Tip: Make your guacamole ahead of time and squeeze lime over the entire exposed surface so the top doesn’t turn brown before you serve it.

Whiskey Sours or a Lavender Collins could bring the retro out in your gathering. Just arrange a platter of steamed veggies and lightly toasted chunks of bread with a few dips, deviled eggs, and some canapés filled with a cream cheese and olive mixture. If you’re willing to go all the way you could even make a jello mold centerpiece.

If you don’t have time to cook just pick up some hummus, babaganoush, tabouli and some mini whole wheat pitas. Put the dips into your favorite bowls and the spread will look amazing. I promise you none of your guests will be disappointed. Make a quick batch of Moroccan Mint Tea to go along with it. It’s easy to make a large amount and makes a great cocktail when you pair it with some vodka and a touch of orange liquor.

Getting the food and drink prepped up to a day before will insure that you’ll more relaxed and in the perfect mood to enjoy your party.

But don’t forget about making the cleanup easier too. To me the most important thing of any party is to start with an empty dishwasher. It may not seem important when you’re setting up your food, but at the end of the night it will be the thing that lets you clean up in a snap. Waking up to a clean house the morning after is one of the best parts of having a party!

In addition to the links above take a look at a few of these sites to get some cocktail inspiration:

Liquorious.com

Food Network Cocktails

Martha Stewart’s Cocktails

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...