Here are my hot tips (pun intended?) for hosting a casual end of summer celebration:
- For a colorful centerpiece, arrange some farmer's market finds (flowers or some fresh fruit!) in a cute dish.
- Pick a cocktail and run with it! Making a pitcher ahead of time of the cocktail base means you don't have to get up every time someone needs their drink refreshed. Set a few bottles of seltzer on ice next to the pitcher to keep the fizz fresh and a bowl of pre-cut fruits as garnish if you're feeling super fancy (assuming your friend won't make fun of you for this touch of pizzazz, as my friends surely would).
Everyone loves snacks! My favorite summer snacks for entertaining are fresh berries, popcorn, and little skewers with chunks of fresh mozzarella and cherry tomatoes drizzled with balsamic (this sounds more complicated than it is, and people always go nuts for them!)
Let your guests know what to expect for food! If you're going to have snacks and then order pizza, let them know ahead of time so they don't eat before they arrive! Or if you're planning on just serving dessert, you should definitely invite me, I will eat dinner ahead of time and come ready for ice cream cake.
Light some candles before you guests arrive so that when it eventually gets dark (which it usually does at some point), you're not either running around like a weirdo moving glasses to light candles or sitting and thinking "I should really light some candles" while you should actually be enjoying the company of your guests. How do I know you will do one of these two things? I've done both, of course.
Remember that there's more to the art of entertaining than providing food and drinks. Be prepared to entertain your guests - be thoughtful to invite guests who have something in common to make good conversation, or if that sounds like too much work, pick up a party game. Party games are games that are best when played with a group of people, and usually involve more witty banter than score keeping.
Looking for the perfect summer cocktail for your last hurrah? Join our mailing list and receive Sara's recipe for a Pimm's Cup, inspired by Session Cocktail by Drew Lazor.