We’re coming to the close of our 3-part Summer Soiree series, and I hope you’re getting as excited as I am for the next outdoor event. We’ve already looked at how to form the foundation of a party, as well as how to choose the right serving tools to make the table setting a conversation starter. Now it’s time to add the finishing touches that provide substance and lasting satisfaction: food and drink. Creating a memorable menu can be so much fun, and keeping the look elegant doesn’t mean having to break the bank. With the right focus and a bit of creativity, it’s easy to turn out food and drinks that please the eye as well as the palette.
Making a Memorable Menu
The most important thing to remember when it comes to serving food and drinks is to keep it flowing. Nothing kills a party like running out (trust me, I know). But keep in mind that the menu doesn’t have to be extensive to be a hit. Too many options and you’ll be spending more time and money preparing the food than being with your friends. Limit food to 3 or 4 items and stock up on those. The drink menu should include between 1-3 options, and themes are always a good place to start when coming up with unique appetizers and drinks.
Unique Theme Ideas:
Make it a contemporary camp-out and serve s’mores over a fire pit. I did this recently with a group of close friends, and it was a big hit for all ages. Serve Mexican Hot Chocolate to the kids and add Kahlua and White Tequila for an authentic one for the adults. For a colder drink option, go for plain milk or a White Russian – both perfect for dipping graham crackers. (Get the drink recipes here.)
If you’re going for something more classy, sushi and sake rarely falls short. Guests fill up on rice fairly quickly, and sake can be served chilled or hot depending on how the weather behaves.
For a relaxed party sans theme, instead of serving whole burgers, go for sliders – they’re the right size to carry around, and people are encouraged to converse because they’re not taking huge bites of food. Chilled beer is always an excellent pairing with sliders.
The Bright Idea
But if cocktail hour is the name of the game, impress friends with the Lumens cocktail, the Bright Idea. It’s incredibly tasty, and its layered look brings a colorful punch to the table. A sweet drink, the Bright Idea pairs well with simple Mexican sides, like chips and homemade salsa and guacamole. To friends!
For a stronger version, try the Lumens Blue Lagoon: