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Plenty of SeatingIt can be more difficult to plan for seating for summer parties. People often do not sit down, wanting instead to walk around and mingle. However, it is vital that you have enough seats for everyone in attendance. If you do not have enough chairs, you can rent folding chairs for a low price or spread some nice blankets on the ground.
Try String LightsOne of the most difficult things about outdoor parties is lighting. Once it starts to get dark, it gets dark quickly. Luckily, our eyes adjust easily to the dark. Hanging strings of lights around your backyard will be enough light for your guests. Most likely, you will need to spread an extension cord through your backyard to accomplish outdoor lighting. Take old wire hangers, cut them into segments, and bend them into u-shaped pegs. Arc them over the cord and pound them into the ground so that the cord will stay secured to the ground.
Be Careful With the MusicChoosing the music for a party is arguably the most stressful part. Good music can ensure that everyone has an amazing time – and terrible music will be unpleasant for your guests. It can make or break your party. Even though you are outside, do not crank the music. No one will want to stand near the speakers if the music is blaring. The ideal set up is four or more speakers at a low volume, spread around your backyard. If you have a boom box or iPod dock, situate it above ear level and aim it toward the house. The safest choice is the classics. Though some people love the more modern pop songs all over the radio, others despise them. Classics are the most widely appreciated of all the genres. Keep it upbeat and plan for around five hours.
With summer right around the corner, there can be an overwhelming amount of events to attend or even host. Whether it’s a backyard barbecue, a family birthday party or a Fourth of July celebration, sunshine and nice weather makes for perfect entertaining. Plan ahead and keep a few tips in mind as you gear up for your next big gathering.
Prepare Your Cocktails
Save time and effort by purchasing pre-rimmed party cups for your occasion! RitaRims Party Cups are a perfect way to stand out and make your next party a hit. Pick your favorite flavor:
- Salt & Lime – Step up your margarita game and beat the heat with this favorite
- Sugar & Strawberry – Great with any fruity beverage, including daiquiris
- Bloody Mary Cup – Expertly seasoned to put your Bloody Mary recipe over the top
Keep Bugs and Mosquitos Away
Purchase citronella candles, as they are effective in combatting the swarm of mosquitoes that accompany summer weather. If you have a pond or other water feature, skim or treat it regularly. If bugs are particularly frequent in your area, hold your event on a screened-in porch to make guests more comfortable.
Lanterns and tiki torches are relatively inexpensive features that can add ambiance to your bash. Place them at the entrance of the party to draw attention and welcome partygoers. Use candles as mood-boosters for your tables.
Create Activity Zones
The day before your gathering, set up distinctive entertaining areas, naturally drawing your guests into smaller groups. This is a great way to move your party along and encourage talking within groups. Examples of activity zones include:
- A fire pit circle
- Dining tables
- An outdoor bar
- A patio lounge
- Areas for games such as corn hole or croquet
Collect Party Supplies
Keep a cupboard full of party supplies to avoid any last-minute stress. Often times, these can be items found around the house and require no purchase. Use old jars as glasses or vases, old bedsheets as tablecloths and florist’s buckets for centerpieces.
The Bloody Mary is a Prohibition-era tradition that Americans are still happily holding on to. The recipe has changed over the years from fresh, smashed tomatoes to canned tomato juice and has seen the addition of some elaborate garnishes. There are many different variations on the cocktail but we have included the best recipes to entertain guests.
Vodka and Tomato Juice
Many will say that the quality of vodka in a Bloody Mary doesn’t matter because the flavor is masked by the tomato juice. We disagree with this, as will your stomach if you use cheap vodka. Find a decent vodka, not bottom shelf, but not necessarily top shelf either.
For the tomato juice portion, canned juice is an option, as is pre-made Bloody Mary mix. We recommend using either normal or spicy tomato juice and then doctoring it to suit the tastes of your guests. The ratio of vodka to tomato juice is typically 1.5 oz of vodka to 3 oz. tomato juice. Of course, these ratios can also be reversed if you’re working on the hair of the dog.
Additional Ingredients to Suit Your Tastes
This is the part of the process that personalizes your Bloody Mary. Most Bloody Marys have a touch of Worcestershire sauce, a few drops of Tabasco, salt, pepper, and celery salt. Horseradish, lemon juice, lime juice, garlic powder and pickle juice are all options for additions. It is best to start with a fairly basic recipe, then make these additions incrementally to find what you like.
1 cup ice cubes
1 jigger vodka
¾ cup tomato juice
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 dash hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a salt-rimmed glass, garnish with celery stalk.
¼ cup tomato juice
¼ inch horseradish, chopped
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
4 dashes hot sauce
½ lime, fresh squeezed
½ lemon, fresh squeezed
1 Tbsp. vodka
Dash of black pepper
Dash of sea salt
Dash of celery seeds
Mix tomato juice, celery seeds, horseradish and Worcestershire in a blender until smooth. Now include salt, pepper, hot sauce, lemon and lime. Alter the spice, salt and citrus to suit your specific tastes. A splash of vodka will even out your mix and allow the juices to pop. Bring together 6-8 ounces of delicious mix with 2 ounces of vodka in a glass. Use two glasses with ice and pour your Bloody Mary back and 3 or 4 times to blend it all together. Add a celery stalk and lime for taste as well as aesthetic appeal
There is only one socially acceptable time to drink before noon, and that is while eating brunch. Bloody Marys are popular additions to the brunch menu and have been known to help with the occasional hangover. A mixture of tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, and spices, the drink is a favorite of many Americans.
History of the Bloody Mary
During Victorian times, health nuts would drink tomato juice as a health elixir, many times during breakfast. The consumption of the smashed tomatoes was thought to have many health benefits. Around the 1920s, a bartender in Paris was trying to make use of the newly arrived vodka from Russian immigrants. Unsure how to mix it, he attempted a concoction of vodka and tomato juice and the Bloody Mary was born.
Bloody Marys became especially popular during Prohibition, as the recipe had made its way across the Atlantic. Most booze during Prohibition was low quality, which made tomato juice a great mixture to cover the taste. Tomatoes were much more readily available during this time than oranges, so mimosas lost out to the popularity of Bloody Marys.
In 1895, an author named Guy Beringer wrote an essay entitled “Brunch: A Plea.” The essay was written as a plea to create a Sunday late-morning meal to appeal to those who have slept in due to hangovers. Thus, the idea caught on and the term brunch was coined.
Bloody Marys for Brunch
Brunch is often regarded as a wealthy, decadent meal. Rich dishes of exotic foods were always a hit, which made alcohol consumption during the meal popular during Prohibition. What could make a meal more decadent and exotic than an illegal substance? Consuming juices at breakfast and brunch were already popular, so adding Bloody Marys into the mix was not a far stretch.
Bloody Marys are still popular brunch time indulgences, especially for those wanting to follow up a night out with the hair of the dog. Whatever recipe you happen to use, be sure it has celery and other elaborate garnishes before serving. The more exotic the drink looks, the more socially acceptable it will be to have more than one at 10 a.m.
Instead of the age-old gift of flowers and chocolates, impress your special someone with an original and sophisticated cocktail on Valentine’s Day. If you are planning a romantic dinner, adding a themed drink to your menu can complement the meal and impress your sweetheart with your mixology skills. Even if you’re not planning anything fancy this year, the following easy-to-make recipes can be a delicious and charming way to set the Valentine’s Day mood and make the holiday memorable for you and your sweetie.
If you and your sweetie love whiskey, the balance between a sleek malt scotch and the fragile flavor of lavender in the Brogue is a wonderful option. The honey-lavender syrup is easy to make at home, and when combined with scotch, Drambuie, and lemon juice, this cocktail is an excellent choice for a before-dinner drink.
No Valentine’s Day is complete without Champagne. If you’re looking for a something sparkling, the figgy sparkler is the drink for you. The combination of cranberries, oranges, and figs with vodka and prosecco creates a fruity, sweet flavor perfect for a Valentine’s Day treat.
Adhere to the one of the signature colors Valentine’s Day by presenting this pink cocktail containing vodka, honey, Suze French liquor, and crème de framboise. The addition of grapefruit juice is the finishing touch that gives this drink a glowing pink color.
This simple cocktail calls for only four ingredients: angostura bitters, lemon juice, simple syrup, and sparkling rose wine. Garnish the drink with rose petals to add to the cocktail’s romantic flare of the cocktail.
This easy-to-make cocktail requires cherry juice, fresh lemon or lime juice, vodka, and triple sec. The mixture of sweet and tart flavors makes this an attractive choice for anyone who enjoys the complementing blend of sweet and sour.
Rather than a box of chocolates, make your sweetie a chocolate-infused martini this year. Consisting of chocolate liqueur, white crème de cacao, vodka, and ice, this cocktail is served in glasses that are lightly coated with chocolate syrup and topped with maraschino cherries.
The party starts at eight, but you’re running behind. Set up drink stations and allow guests to fix their own drinks based on what they want. No party is complete without having just the right blend of drinks. Here are some easy cocktails that will be the highlights of your party.
Vintage Is Always in Style
Stock your drink station with the makings for Cognac Sparklers. Sparkling apple cider and a dash of bitters pair well with cognac to create the perfect combination. Spice up a cosmopolitan with cranberry and orange infused vodka to create a memorable twist on a popular option. And vintage wouldn’t be vintage without the makings for an Old Fashioned – bourbon, bitters, sugar, and club soda. These are easy standbys your guests will be looking for.
A Taste of the Tropical
Even in the dead of winter, it’s fun to dream of more tropical locations and flavors. Let your guests taste a sense of escape by preparing a Caribbean Punch. Rum, lime, and pineapple juices and a few other ingredients make this an easy choice. Vodka, amaretto, crème de cacao, cream of coconut, and heavy cream all in equal amounts make Kokomos, a quick and simple recipe for any occasion. And nothing says tropical like a Pina Colada. Ice, coconut cream or milk, dark or white rum, diced pineapple and juice, and don’t forget the garnish!
Warm It Up
Of course, on a cold night, nothing is more welcome than a hot drink. A hot buttered rum is perfect for any cold winter party. This recipe for a Hot Night in Normandy will leave everyone wanting to try it. A spiked hot chocolate will warm you in every way. Start with a rich, sweet hot cocoa and add a bit of bourbon for that extra kick. Or substitute Kahlua and peppermint schnapps with the bourbon for a more complex flavor. Every drink tastes better when it’s served in a Rita Rims party cup, so be sure to stock up in advance.