Ohmygoodness. It’s been forever and a day since I’ve posted something new here and I feel very inadequate/brain-scrambled/excited about finally being back with something new. I actually have a lot of things I want to talk about, like WHY I’ve been MIA and how life can be so overwhelming, and all kinds of other random thoughts as well, but instead I’m letting someone else do the talking today. :)
Quinn from Healthy Living by Quinn got in touch with me about writing a guest post for the blog to share some outdoor entertaining tips, and since I’m definitely NOT an expert in that field (like at all), I’ve been super eager to let her share. We collaborated on this post together; all the tips below and the cocktail recipe are from her, while I made the recipe at home to take the photos/taste the drink/gulp it down because it’s so amazingly bright, crisp, and refreshing. If her outdoor entertaining tips are even nearly as spot-on as this cocktail, she’s a total pro at this stuff.
Tips for Throwing a Fantastic Outdoor Party
(by Quinn McAdams)
The best part of spring and summer time is weather and what better way to enjoy it than hosting an outdoor party? They’re always a huge hit with friends, because it allows them to enjoy the gorgeous weather, while also being more loud and rambunctious. But how should you go about throwing your outdoor bash?
Before you begin planning out the party, select a theme. Having a theme helps you easily narrow down the décor options and gives you a guide for the food and drink menu. It also adds a little spice to the party for guests to enjoy. Though any theme will do for an outdoor party, there are a few that seem extra-special when thrown outside. Some of these themes include garden party, country hoedown, Texas barbecue, tropical luau, vintage bash, and Indian barbecue. If you want to be general and sophisticated, you can even select a theme based on the season.
Now that you have a theme, you can begin crafting the décor to match. Some of your essential outdoor party accessories include: table clothes, table arrangements, streamers, flower arrangements, and tiki torches. Keep in mind that tiki torches are not just for tropical themes! If your party goes into the evening, it will provide soft light while keeping the mosquitoes at bay.
One of the keys to a great party is an out-of-this-world menu. It’s equally important for an outdoor party, especially if you plan on serving BBQ-style food. This is obviously a popular choice for outdoor parties, as you can cook on the grill and enjoy the party instead of being stuck in the kitchen! If you want to add a little flair to your typical BBQ, go with an Indian BBQ theme. You can pick a few exotic dishes, along with more American-friendly foods, such as Tandoori Chicken.
Always be sure to include a few veggie options for guests with dietary restrictions. If you’re throwing any party with BBQ-style food, this should be really simple. Fill out the grill with some delicious veggie skewers that will have even the most ardent meat lovers at your party drooling.
Overall, versatility is vital for your menu. You want even the pickiest guests coming back for seconds and the best way to ensure that is to provide a little variety.
The sky is the limit when it comes to drinks. Stock up your beautifully decorated bar with all the ingredients needed for the most popular drinks: Margarita, Screwdriver, Rum and Coke, etc. Be sure to have a bottle of wine and a few beer options as well. If you’re throwing a summer party, it’s usually preferable to serve cocktails with refreshing, cooling elements to counteract hot weather. I love serving our cocktails in the mason jars my husband got for me from here. For example, an alcoholic iced tea or lemonade could be a huge hit for a 4th of July Party.
We love serving our favorite summer cocktail! We tasted it at a restaurant while traveling and had to get the recipe:
The Half Windsor Cocktail + Tips for Throwing a Fantastic Outdoor Party
Cucumber and lime add a bright, fresh twist to this cool summer cocktail. It’s the perfect drinking for serving at outdoor parties, or for a wind-down after a hot day.
- Yield: 1 cocktail 1x
- 1 ½ ounces vodka
- ¾ ounce fresh cucumber juice*
- ½ ounce agave nectar
- ½ ounce fresh lime juice
- cucumber slices, for garnish
- Mix together the vodka, cucumber juice, agave nectar, and lime juice, or shake in a cocktail shaker.
- Strain over ice in a rocks glass and garnish with a slice of cucumber. You will fall in love, I promise!
*To make fresh cucumber juice, skin a cucumber and grate flesh. Use a cheesecloth to strain juices from grated cucumber.
Recipe lightly adapted from Windsor Gansevoort Park via Cosmopolitan
Party games aren’t just for the little ones! The options for outdoor games are endless. If you want to get your guests’ heart rates up, host a potato sack race! Net sports are fun to play, whether badminton or volleyball. Horseshoes or croquet require a little more backyard room, but they’re a favorite for outdoor parties. Throwing a Frisbee is a more casual kind of game that is great for chatting while you get a little exercise. We’ve become big fans of KanJam!
The Right Attitude!
Always remember that you’re the host and the tone of the day rests on you. Throwing a party may be stressful, but if your guests see you sweat, it’ll take away from the jovial mood of the day. Relax, smile, and have a good time so your guests can too!
Thanks so much to Quinn for her tips and the incredible cocktail recipe! Seriously you guys, make it!! Also, if any of you have your own pro tips for outdoor entertaining, I want to hear them… especially if they involve delicious cocktails. ;)