The quintessential summer is made up of watermelon, sunsets, and, above all, cocktail parties. And with longer days and warmer weather, throwing the ultimate cocktail party has never seemed more appealing. Luckily, we’re here to help you do it with a step-by-step guide and six cocktail recipes guaranteed to impress your guests.
Step 1: The Space
The first step in the ultimate cocktail party is to make the setting feel like the summer backyard wonderland of your dreams. And the key to making your setting perfect is lighting. Decorate your space with twinkle or globe lights. You can string them criss cross across your space or simply drape them across a wall. Another great idea is to spread votive candles over your tables. They’re chic and inexpensive! Creative lighting is a simple hack to take your space from plain to dreamy.
Step 2: The Food
A cocktail party doesn’t necessarily call for a full buffet, but a little food goes a long way. And the ultimate cocktail party dish? A charcuterie board. Start with a quality board made out of wood or stone -- marble or slate is the way to go. Fill the board with an assortment of cheeses, dried fruit, and nuts. (Cheese ideas: brie, gruyere, and goat cheese drizzled with honey.) Slice up a baguette and add little bowls of pesto, jam, and bruschetta with demi spoons. Get creative! The more items on your board, the better.
Step 3: The Entertainment
Cocktail parties are great for catching up with friends, but chatting for hours can get boring. Spice up your party with some simple lawn games. Bocce ball and cornhole are both easy to set up and can provide entertainment for hours. Plus, if you have kids, it gives the little ones something to do. Check out our blog on outdoor game parties for more ideas!
Step 4: The Vibes
No party is complete without music of some kind. Whether you have a bluetooth speaker or a full sound system, music is the perfect added touch for the perfect cocktail party. And if you’re not into making playlists, Spotify and Apple Music have you covered with curated playlists like “Cocktails for Summer,” “Summer Party,” and “Summer Acoustic.”
Step 5: The Drinks
This is, of course, the most important step for any cocktail party. It’s quite literally the main character of a cocktail party. And here are six great (and easy) recipes.
Process blackberries in a blender until smooth. Place a wire mesh colander over a small bowl and pour the blackberry puree into the colander, pushing it through the wire mesh and into the bowl with the back of a spoon. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar to the seedless puree and stir to combine.
Fill a cocktail shaker about 3/4 full with ice.
Add 2 teaspoons of the blackberry puree, 2 ounces lemonade, and 2 ounces tequila. Squeeze in the juice of 1/2 a lemon.
Place cover on the shaker and shake. Strain through the cocktail shaker over ice.
Repeat with the remaining ingredients for a second cocktail.