Updated: Sep 7, 2022
Though there might only be a few weeks left of summer, the festive vibe of the season is still just as present as the warm weather that makes it so special.
Whether you're toasting to the end of summer or still relishing in the season as if it's June, there is still plenty of time to plan an outdoor gathering with loved ones. To help, BHS Hamptons Agent Amelia M. Doggwiler has compiled a helpful benchmark guide for throwing the perfect summer soireè. Also, read on for two seasonal cocktail recipes to infuse your gathering with international flavor.
1. Pick a Theme
Having a party theme can be a helpful guide for décor and dress code. The theme can be subtle, like a color scheme, or use florals, lighting, and accents to invoke the landscape of an island paradise. Maybe you want to do the classic "white party," which complements flowy summer attire perfectly, or capture a place that feels like summer year-round, like Miami. Keep lighting low and warm to create a more intimate environment.
If you're lucky enough to live in an area with a tropical climate and foliage, then use that to your advantage. Limit decorations and themes to a minimum so as to let guests appreciate the natural beauty of the weather and setting.
2. Offer a Signature Drink
A nice cocktail hour is a great opportunity to allow guests to mingle and get comfortable, especially if you're hosting an eclectic crowd. Along with non-alcoholic options, consider having a signature drink to complement the theme and get your guests that much more excited about attending. Utilize seasonal fruit flavors, like watermelon, mango, guava, and pineapple.
Having a kind and knowledgeable bartender is always a plus, and you can always bring your own recipes to the table as well (see below).
3. Set the Tone with Music
An integral part of any great party is music. A skilled DJ, band, or singer can serenade the guests with music during cocktail hour and dinnertime then change the mood when it’s time to hit the dance floor. As summer is oft a time for leisure and relaxation, consider jazz and easy listening music—both of which are universally loved. For an ambiance reminiscent of a tropical vacation, a steel drum band can be great for setting the mood.
4. Tie it All Together with Cuisine
Food is arguably the most important component of a good party, and it can help enhance your theme and bring people together. For instance, if your theme or decorations feature florals, tie in floral flavors—like rose and lavender—or garnishes to help carry this out. Regional themes should incorporate authentic cuisine from the region to which you are paying tribute.
A Hamptons-themed party, for example, should feature any type of shellfish and seafood, especially lobster. To transport your guests to a place like Miami, prioritize Cuban and other Latin flavors. Do thorough research to find the right caterer and/or recipes, and don't be afraid to shop around.
Two Summer Cocktail Recipes For Your Gathering
Peruvian Vodka Sour
Being that I am originally from Peru, I miss the delicious Peruvian pisco sour. I recently found out that you can actually achieve a similar result with vodka!
To make a Vodka Sour, you will need two ounces of high-quality vodka, one ounce of lemon juice, slightly less than an ounce of simple syrup, two dashes of Angostura bitters (optional), and one egg white (optional).
While the bitters and egg white are optional, they add character to the drink and are part of the traditional Peruvian recipe.
1. Add your vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup, and bitters to a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
2. Shake the mix vigorously for about 15 seconds.
3. Strain the mix into a a glass filled with ice.
4. Optional: Pour the egg whites into the shaker.
5. Shake the shaker vigorously for about 30 seconds.
6. Strain the egg whites onto the top of the prepared drink
7. Garnish your drink with a slice of lemon and a cherry, and enjoy!
Classic Brazilian Caipirinha
The caipirinha is the national cocktail of Brazil. It is similar to a mojito, except instead of rum and mint, the drink incorporates cachaça and lime for a tart yet refreshing cocktial that is ideal for summertime.
Caipirinhas are also quite easy to make. All you need is one lime, cut into wedges—be sure to do this inside if it is sunny out—two teaspoons of sugar, two ounces of cachaça, and a lime wheel as a garnish.
1. In a double-rocks glass, muddle the lime wedges and sugar.
2. Fill the glass with ice.
3. Add the cachaça and stir briefly.
4. Garnish your cocktail with a lime wheel.