Summer heat brings the inevitable invitation to entertain or be entertained and what better way to do it than with a simple get-together of friends, good music and a fabulous array of well designed and delicious cocktails served by a top thread mixologist in-house or out on the town. Here are several ways to design your own party or find one this summer season.
AT HOME Plan the perfect gathering with a few or more friends using some easily accessible tools. Whether you decide to entertain indoors or out or even a combination of the two is completely up to you;there are no rules. However,you do want your space to feel comfortable and intimate while still providing the encouragement to mingle. So as far as seating goes you don’t have to have a place for each and every guest as you would for a dinner party. A cocktail party is more open and definitely less confining than a formal environment. Which brings me to another subject, dress code. Decide if yours will be semi-formal or summer casual. Remember, this can be left up to interpretation for different people so indicate this in your invitation. You should also decide on a theme, this can be a deciding factor when you make a decision on the menu.
WHAT TO SERVE:FOOD Planning a menu can be fun or it can be a draining task depending on your planning skills. But because a cocktail menu isn’t nearly as extensive as a full-on five course dinner it needn’t be as cumbersome of a mission. First of all, think small finger foods like petite sandwiches,bacon wrapped shrimp,vegetable platters and creamy dip,stuffed mushrooms and so on. Walking about and socializing, guests don’t have much time to stuff hefty amounts of grub in their mouths, or at least that’s the objective. Hire a caterer for the bulk of the fare or lean on your local deli or grocer for pre-stocked platters. There are a host of venders that can accommodate your affair but if you are keeping it small look to a cook book for easy ideas that you can prepare in advance.
Photo Credit/Left/thekitchn.com Right/the girlwhoateeverything.com
Find this idea treasure here
WHAT TO SERVE:BAR Here is where you’ll definitely want some extra hands on deck. I’m not knocking your impeccable bartending skills at all but if you want to enjoy your party and your guests you’re not going to want to be stuck behind a bar all night. It’s best to entrust the expertise of a professional in this area at least for a couple of hours. Depending on the region you’re in and the skill set of the bartender, rates can vary and the way they charge can too, from an hourly rate to a flat fee. You saw Cocktail the movie, right? But for a fête to remember it could be well worth it. However, if you do decide to go the DIY route here are some books with ideas to get you motivated. *In either case don’t forget to figure in the cost of alcohol which can vary depending on your retailer. Try discount bulk merchandisers like BevMo in California and Sams Club online. see below
Photo Credit/ Reference.com
In APERITIVO Marisa Huff takes on an Italian flair with recipes for cocktails and delicious food. As the name suggests in the Northern sects of Italy like Milan, it is a traditional call for friends to gather before dinner to enjoy snacks and drinks. Dave Arnold shares his LIQUID INTELLIGENCE and breaks down the analytical aspects of the art of cocktails. Now that you’ve mastered the basics you’ll want this advanced course.
So not all of your guests enjoy alcohol? Don’t fret. Stuart Walton shows you Classic Cocktails in his book and also an unexpected selection of non–alcoholic drinks as well. Fabulous photography guides you through the process. Tony Abou–Ganim is the fielding force that created a signature drink for Caesars Palace, Cleopatra’s Smile featuring lemon bitters,ruby red grapefruit juice,Ketel One Citron, Pavan Liqueur and Aperol. In his book The Modern Mixologist he does a take on the contemporary cocktail that opens the window to ideas you never thought were possible.
SET THE MOOD:MUSIC Nothing says ambient, intimate and “let’s relax” quite like good lounge music and I discovered this on a distant trip to Miami’s South Beach at the Delano Hotel. They have mastered beach/patio entertaining down to a science. With a resident DJ, poolside bar and cabanas galore it’s the ultimate hotel experience.Invite your guests to take a load off and ease into a gentle retreat of great food, good company and eclectic yet soothing tunes. Other celebrations and parties may call for louder and more up-tempo music, but for a cocktail party the vibe is definitely suited for easy listening. And here’s the best part- you don’t have to hire a DJ for that. Simply pipe in a CD, your digital media or stream from an outlet like Pandora Radio. However, if you feel the need to spring for a DJ make sure to hire one that plays the music that will keep your guest entertained but not overwhelmed.
If you decide to go the CD route here are some selections that can’t be beat:
TIP: These are easily downloadable on iTunes
GOING OUT:WHERE TO GO
LOS ANGELES NORAH Expansive loft-like decor, vibe is elegant yet easy going. Still, dress to impress.
Photo Credit LosAngelesEater.com
CHICAGO MILK ROOM This bar masquerades as a cafe by day but by night you’ll find master Beverage Director Paul McGee serving a blend of exquisite liqueurs and “spirit forward cocktails“, as per the website. Located in the famed Chicago Athletic Club Hotel this gem only serves by reservation and if that were not enough, they only take eight at a time.Talk about exclusivity.
Photo Credit TheChicagoAthleticClubHotel.com
NEW YORK BAR GOTO Feeling like something Japanese inspired? Then head here and order the sakura martini, a blend of sake,cherry blossom, absinthe, plum sazerac and four other unique and staple ingredients that come together and make for a truly unforgettable experience. Well, I can’t say for sure as I’ve never been here but I think this one would definitely get the party started…of course for me it could end there too. I’m a lightweight.
Photo Credit NewTorkEater.com
Travelling? Use the Urban Buddy app to ask locals where to find awesome spots to dine, drink and even rest your head. Nothing beats the advice of the tried and true.
And for up to the minute responses, the SKORCH app guides you through your present location, revealing in real time the hottest places and events. If a bar,club,restaurant or any vendor associated with SKORCH is offering any specials you’ll be alerted. At this time SKORCH is available in the following cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, New York, Austin, Chicago and Miami.
WHAT TO WEAR: YOUR PLACE OR MINE Here you can really experiment and have some fun.Typically ladies will do a dress or dressy slacks and and a blouse. But how about silk walking shorts or a tailored linen romper with a pair of stilettos? That totally works! And when it comes to color, well it’s summer so think cool whites or turn up the heat with a bright like yellow or even a print. Let your imagination run wild but stay sophisticated.
From top to bottom column/ left to right red BCBG dress ,Gianvito Rossi red suede sandals,Gianvito Rossi gold and ivory sandals, Halston Heritage silk shorts, Moschino sleeveless bow tie blouse, Trina Turk multi color print dress, Twin Sister white tie wrap jumpsuit, Max Mara dress.
From left to right,Akris Punto graphic dress, IOSSELLIANI ring, Baublebar Helix Cuff, St. Xavier Magna Clutch, Baublebar Pisa Cuff, Baublebar Ion Cuff, Chicnova embellished box clutch,Sarahs Bag pill image box clutch, Pre-owned LANVIN box clutch.
I hope you all will enjoy at least a few evenings of small intimate gatherings and experiment with some new or traditional ideas inspired by this post. I know I’m going to make it a point to get out more myself. With the summer day temperatures rising to unbearable highs in most of the country, nighttime is the right time to enjoy an outdoor lawn or patio party. I live in a town home community so it’s not feasible for me but I can still envision it. And I’d have to shove the kids off to host one in my home but I’d gladly accept an invitation. Hint. Hint.
Wishing you Love and Luxury,
*Due to circumstances beyond my control some links may point to items that are no longer in stock at the time you are ready to purchase. I apologize in advance for the inconvenience. The items depicted on my page are in no way shape or form gratis or compensation for advertisement but simply items of interest to me personally that I have chosen to share on my site. All photo credits (except where noted) are the property of the retail sites from which the products are derived.