SUMMER – means higher temperatures, less of that cold white stuff falling from the clouds (we won’t even call it by its name in fear that it’ll come back), and generally more fun!
In New England especially, summertime is the best time of year to entertain. Not only is the outside air more comfortable at 80 degrees than it is at 25 (at least to most), but the clear blue skies, the green grass, and the bright sun make for an enjoyable atmosphere!
Here at Table & Vine, we’re definitely excited for the warm breezes and refreshing cocktails – even if it means a couple of pollen-induced sneezes here and there! We have a couple of secrets to achieve successful summertime get-togethers, and we’ve complied them into one post just for you!
Here are five tips to impress your guests this summer:
#1. Beware of Dilution
When crafting cocktails for a large number of people, it’s useful to mix the drink ahead of time in a pitcher. Not only does this ensure that you’re a part of the party instead of being stuck in the kitchen creating your concoctions for each individual guest, but it makes serving very simple.
A very common mistake is adding ice to the mixture in the pitcher before serving. We’ve established that it’s useful to make a large quantity of a cocktail at once, but adding ice to the mixture when doing this could be a detrimental error.
Once ice is added to a drink, it is subject to dilution as the ice melts. Our suggestion is to make the drink ahead of time with all ingredients at room temperature, and store it in the refrigerator to chill before your event. Once it’s time to serve, distribute ice in your guests’ glasses and THEN pour your cocktails. This will help the drink maintain its quality and taste for a longer period of time!
#2. The Perfect Balance
Choose cocktails to serve to your guests that follow the ‘Golden Ratio’. If you’re unfamiliar, this formula is used in a lot of staple summer drinks. The ‘Golden Ratio’ consists of 2-parts of liquor of your choice, 1-part of a sweetener, and 1-part of a tart or sour element.
A perfect example of this formula working its magic is the classic ‘Sex on the Beach’ cocktail. The vodka acts as the two parts of liquor obviously, the orange juice is the perfect sweetener, and the cranberry juice helps break up the sweet flavor with some tartness. Following this ratio will allow you to create some very refreshing drinks for your guests to enjoy!
For sweet flavors, use items like simple syrup, pineapple juice, blended watermelon, or triple sec.
For tart or sour flavors, use items like lemon or lime juice, citrus flavored vodka (not too much), or grapefruit juice.
Try it out for yourself and see what combinations you can create!
#3. Always Have a Bottle Opener Available if Necessary
If you’re adding beer to the menu, always a keep a bottle opener around – preferably near the drinks so they’re quick and easy to open!
If you’re using a cooler, we recommend either keeping the bottle opener on top of the lid when it’s closed, or tying the bottle opener to one of the handles for easy access! This also helps you keep track of it so that you don’t have to get another one for your guests.
We have a wide selection of bottle openers available online for you – from army men to sharks and so much in-between, shop our selection here!
#4. Plan Ahead Just in Case the Meteorologist Makes a Mistake
Mother Nature is wildly unexpected, especially if you schedule your event far in advance. There’s no telling whether or not there will be a severe thunderstorm or downpour on the day of your event, so always have an alternate plan.
We know far too well living in New England that things like this happen, so we recommend being prepared to host your get together indoors rather than outside just in case. If you can find an affordable, large tent, that is an alternative as well!
#5. Create a Mocktail for Children if There Are Any Attending
We definitely don’t want to encourage children to be interested in alcohol, however we do want them to feel special and included in the fun! Prepare a similar cocktail to the one that the adults were having, except obviously skip the alcohol this time. Try making the kids a virgin piña colada, an iconic summer drink. Here’s a quick recipe to try (makes 2):
2 cups Cream of Coconut
1 ½ cup Pineapple Juice
4 cups Ice
Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
*Before blending, make sure to stir your cream of coconut, as separation is natural.