As predicted, its been a long, hot summer in most cities. My stay-cations have been filled with lots of visiting friends and entertaining on the terrace. I’m always the lookout for great entertaining ideas and here are just a few cool ways to keep the drinks chilled while hanging around outside:
A small mini fridge hidden in a guest room or in the home office is a great way to keep the overflow of beverages cold. During the winter months I use it for keeping bottled water ready to go and during the holidays it’s a great place to store extra party food. A small wine chiller is an absolute toy for those who entertain year round and have a wine cellar to show off. Whether it be a wine fridge or smaller compartment, you’ll never have to worry about serving up luke warm wine at your next dinner party.
Tip: Mini fridges are easily bought online after students graduate; look online for a used one or, sell yours at the end of the summer to a returning student.
If it’s a long-haul to the hammock or you tend to do the visiting rather than entertaining, then a portable cooler is a great accessory to have. Keep them small and compact in size so they stay light and easy to carry.
Tip: Freeze one bottle of water and use as your ice pack; empty about one third of the water away to accommodate expansion in the bottle when the water freezes (also make sure to use a plastic bottle).
Juice pitchers with a built-in ice compartment are an inexpensive way to keep sangria and draft beer cool without the ice melting into the drinks. Such a smart and cost effective way to keep things cool on the patio.
Tip: Add some food colouring to the water before freezing the ice pack; it will be a decorative touch and it will be easier to see when the ice has melted. Tip: A small freezer bag filled with ice and sealed makes a great insertion into a pitcher of draft or lemonade and will not water down your beverage.
My recipe for success:
- If you want to cool your bottled beverages much faster, try this recipe for an even colder ice bath: Add a cup of salt to one litre of water and four litres of ice. The ice will become much colder; shortening the cooling time of wine or pop in half. Adding salt to the ice is an old trick used with the old fashioned ice cream makers. You’ll have colder beverages in almost half the time!
- I like to make ‘garnish cubes’; take your favorite drink garnish like mint, raspberries, strawberries, etc and freeze them in lemonade or cranberry juice. Use instead of regular ice for colour, flavour and your drink will not be diluted.
- Chill wine glasses in the fridge (not freezer). Even a red wine glass that is chilled will help to refresh red wine a few degrees cooler, which makes it the ideal temperature for serving.