Ah, summer, the best time of year to entertain. As long as the weather is on your side, poolside mixers are the way to go.
They’re a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, and cleanup is a breeze. Whether at your folks’ or friends’ place, on your condo’s rooftop or in your own backyard, a pool party is sure to be a happy addition to your summer calendar.
The key is to create a casual vibe — we’re not just talking bikinis and beach balls here. A menu of mini-apps and refreshing drinks served on bar-height tables will create a relaxed atmosphere and encourage guests to mix and mingle.
It’s also a good idea to keep the food options varied: Offer a mixture of lighter items, such as antipasti or salads, alongside more substantial dishes like mini-burgers or maple-Dijon scallops so that guests can decide for themselves when and how much they’d like to eat.
Bite-size appetizers will entice guests to branch out and try something new.
When it comes to drinks, fruity cocktails are a poolside must, of course, but be sure to provide your guests with plenty of non-alcoholic beverages as well so they stay hydrated in the summer sun.
For cocktails, serve margaritas, martinis and pear-vodka snow cones. For hors d’oeuvres, offer blue cheese burgers, individual Caesar salads served in Parmesan baskets, Asian lettuce wraps, maple-Dijon scallops, feta and watermelon skewers, and provolone-stuffed sun-dried tomatoes. And for dessert, try cherries jubilee.
Ed’s drink tips
• Repurpose your existing outdoor accessories as ice buckets to keep bottled water, wine and beer cold and accessible to your guests. Planters, a fountain, an outdoor fireplace or a wheelbarrow are all fair game. Be creative and think outside the bucket!
• Set up themed drink stations, each stocked with a different beverage. Offer a selection of wines at one, frozen drinks at another and pitchers of martinis and/or non-alcoholic punch at another. Your guests will stay refreshed — and out of the kitchen.
Lights, planters, action!
So you’ve secured the pool and that’s half the battle. But don’t stop there. With a few simple decor ideas, you’ll find yourself in a sophisticated backyard oasis.
First step: Stash the noodles and inner tubes in the shed and turn your pool into an instant water feature using sprinklers. Their spray will sparkle in the sunshine, create interesting patterns in the pool’s water and fill the air with the soothing sounds of a fountain.
While you’re cleaning up the pool toys, put away the patio furniture and replace it with some cocktail tables. No need to buy anything new: Chances are you already have everything you need. Tall planters make great table bases.
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