Summer evenings are meant for gatherings of any size. A romantic evening for two, or a group of friends, a summer cocktail party can be as simple or as elegant you’d like!
Drinks for Two
There is nothing like the natural ambiance of a quiet summer night for creating a flirty (and affordable) evening at home. With a few small touches, your outdoor space can become a private oasis for two. Add candles, place a few flowers from the yard in a pretty vase and let nature take over the rest of the décor (hopefully with a sunset view!). Instead of reserving the champagne for New Years, try romantic summertime bubbles with any of these light champagne cocktails, perfect for summer sipping. For swoon-worthy food, keep it easy so no one has to be tied up in the kitchen. Fresh shucked oysters, a cheese and charcuterie plate, and summer fruit are ideal for an evening spent lingering outdoors. For an easy dessert, dip summer berries in fresh whipped cream.
A Large Cocktail Gathering
Outdoor evening parties always seem a touch more elegant when there are good cocktails involved! Instead of having a full-bar, where drinks can seem thrown together and sloppy, we suggest serving a signature cocktail or two in addition to beer and wine. Good cocktails are hard resist on balmy summer evenings. Familiar drinks like mojitos or sangria are great summer options, but aim to serve more unique drinks to keep your crowd (safely) buzzing. The chilled and citrusy flavors of the Italian classic, Sgroppino or the easy-to-make watermelon tequila cocktail are seemingly effortless drinks great for a crowd. Serve in chilled mason jars with colorful straws for more of a summer-lawn vibe.
Food for a cocktail party should be light–think four to six pieces per-person. Serve foods that can easily be picked up and eaten with one hand. Any food on skewers work well, grilled shrimp cocktail, grilled Caprese salad, or fruit kabobs. These days we are seeing the humble burger slider pop up in up-scale variations, such as pulled-pork with mango salsa or ahi tuna sliders. Sliders are ideal appetizers to serve, as they are filling and fantastic crowd pleasers. Serve unique colorful dips, like creamy beet or corn and crab.
Summer decorating is simple! String up outdoor lights and burn citronella candles in lanterns. To keep guests mingling and flowing, set up different seating areas throughout your yard using an eclectic mix of rustic yard chairs, picnic blankets, and if you can, hay bundles– cover with a blanket for cozy seating.
Be careful! A good cocktail party is hard to leave so be prepared to have guests dawdle a little later than planned. (That’s OK in our book!)