The story below is from our July/August 2015 issue. For the full story download our FREE iOS app or view our digital edition for FREE today!
Enjoy the outdoors like never before with expert tips on planning the ultimate summer event.
The summer months are full of reasons to celebrate: Independence Day, Parents’ Day, National Watermelon Day. Not that we need an excuse to invite friends over and enjoy a cocktail or two. It can be overwhelming to plan a gathering of any size, whether it’s a small dinner party or a neighborhood barbecue. Fortunately, the valley is overflowing with outstanding resources to help inspire your next event. From table centerpieces and recipes to outdoor decor and tips for styling a bar cart, we’ve got you covered.
Setting the Scene
Any outdoor space, whether it is mostly grass or mostly concrete, shaded by trees or exposed to full sun, can easily be transformed into a festive yet comfortable outdoor entertaining area with the right key pieces. Basic outdoor furniture gets a facelift with colorful pillows and throw blankets. Warm up the basic bare patio with an outdoor rug and candles of various heights. Glass hurricanes are great vessels to use outdoors for pillar candles, flowers and fruits. And adding natural elements, such as an oversized glass wine jug with fresh greenery, helps to balance and fuse the indoor-outdoor elements.
Using a bar cart allows you and your guests to enjoy your outdoor party to its fullest extent. Instead of walking in and out of the house to refill drinks, style a bar cart or other tabletop with bottles of your favorite liquors, decanters of wine, bottles of sparkling water, glassware and any mix-ins you like. Accent the bar essentials with a vase of flowers, a terrarium filled with citrus fruits, and even a stack of coffee table books for a suprisingly sophisticated twist.
Fresh flowers liven up any space, indoors or out, and make for a beautiful centerpiece on a buffet or picnic table. Choose bright, vibrant colored blooms such as orange roses, yellow tulips and hot pink mini gerbera, and accent the arrangement with green hydrangea and silver dollar eucalyptus. Let nature inspire your color scheme by selecting linens to coordinate with your flowers instead of vice versa.
Five O’Clock Somewhere
You can never go wrong with a margarita on the rocks or a peach bellini during the hot summer months, but if you want to shake up your next get together, let these recipes from local restaurants inspire you to try something a little different.
Los Pantelones Oscuros
- 2 oz Smooth Ambler Greenbrier Gin
- 4 pieces seedless watermelon
- 2 mint leaves
- dash of lemon juice
- 1 oz sugar syrup
- 2 dashes angostura orange bitters
Combine all ingredients in a Boston shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously then double strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with a slice of watermelon and a mint sprig.
- 3 or 4 fresh grapefruit supremes
- 1/4 oz lime juice
- 1 oz simple syrup or agave syrup
- 2 oz 100% agave tequila, any brand
- 2 oz fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
- 1 oz soda water
- salt for glass rim
Muddle grapefruit segments in shaker. Add lime, syrup, tequila, grapefruit juice and ice. Shake well, then add soda water and pour into salted glass. Garnish with fresh grapefruit and mint leaves.
Note: You can buy grapefruit supremes packed in light syrup in most supermarkets. This is a fine product if you don’t want to do the knife work it takes to supreme a grapefruit. Adjust syrup to taste.