Summer calls for time spent tailgating at baseball games, strolling on the beach, and hosting cookouts in the backyard. Any outdoor summer event should be paired with some friendly competition, a few refreshing drinks, and a wide array of appetizing dishes.
Keep it Simple
You can keep it simple by grilling some hot dogs and burgers or impressing your guests with restaurant-worthy steaks, ribs, or skewers. Either way, give your cookout a bit of flair by getting creative with your drinks and desserts. Check out these tips to keep your BBQ cool with a few mind-blowing cocktails while your grill is hot and ready!
Setting Up a Safe Buffet
A buffet allows guests to help themselves, and setting it up is fairly simple, but be sure to cover the food with some custom covers to protect it while everyone is occupied with games, drinks, or socializing. Food contamination can lead to some unsightly illnesses, so here’s how you can serve a safe and delicious spread
Don’t keep food out all day. In hot, 85° summer weather, meals can only last outside for two hours. Bacteria can contaminate the dish and develop quickly in the heat, causing food to spoil.
Leave your salad on ice. You can keep your greens as fresh as new by keeping your salad bowl in a larger bowl filled with water and ice. Handle raw meat carefully. Do not put cooked burgers on the same plate as raw patties. Also, use separate tongs when handling the meat that is already cooked thoroughly.
Keeping It Cool
Getting enough ice to keep your beverages frosty is imperative for any outdoor event in 80° weather. You can gauge the amount of ice needed depending on the number of people in attendance.
Use about 2 lbs of ice per person, and keep a small ice bucket handy when serving cocktails. Keep pitchers in the fridge until guests need to top off their drinks. Throw soda and beer in a cooler filled with at least 10 lbs of ice.
Having hot dogs, burgers, and sandwiches as your main dishes for the cookout may seem boring at first, but let your guests get creative with toppings and take their meal to the next level.
Be sure to provide vegetarian options for friends or family members that don’t eat meat. You can either prepare some veggie burgers or have fun with some delicious sides.
Coleslaw, potato salad, macaroni salad, grilled corn, and even some chips and dip are all classic options for guests to munch on as they wait for the main course.
Create an Atmosphere
Legendary cookouts aren’t just about the great food. You want to build an ambiance to make the backyard cozy and inviting. Spruce up the deck with string lights or torches. Switch out the everyday chair covers with some elegant options saved for special events.
Decorate the buffet table with candles, flowers, and other fun party pieces to liven up the atmosphere. Whether it’s a casual cookout or a glamorous outdoor soiree, you’ll want to take the extra step to decorate accordingly.
Ready for Refreshments
Many would say the main event of any outdoor party isn’t the food but the cocktails. Just prepare a pitcher of these easy-to-make drinks, and your party is ready. Serve as intended, sprawled out in total relaxation in the comfort of your ottoman covers.
Strawberry Wine Punch
All the wine connoisseurs at your party will adore this strawberry wine punch. It is a sunny and refreshing alternative to regular wine. The ingredients needed to prepare this drink are strawberry daiquiri mix, Moscato, and fresh strawberries.
Pineapple Rosé Sangria
If you don’t like a conventional sangria, you will fall in love with this unique twist. The ingredients are blackberries, pineapple, raspberries, and pineapple juice. Mix all your ingredients in a large pitcher and serve with ice. For extra fizz, add some sparkling wine.
Watermelon Hibiscus Lime Margarita
This option is a great way to spice up the classic margarita and an excellent summer drink. All you need is dried hibiscus, purified water, simple syrup, watermelon juice, silver tequila, and lime juice. You can also prepare a non-alcoholic version of this drink if you’d like.
Strawberry Pimm’s Cup
This unique cocktail is a well-known British drink that combines Pimm’s with fresh fruit. Your ingredients include – cucumber slices, fresh mint, limes, lemons, ginger beer, club soda, and Pimm’s No. 1.
Cider Rum Punch
Cider may seem more like a winter holiday drink, but when mixed with rum, it can be a perfect summertime drink as well. Using thyme simple syrup, dark rum, lemon juice, club soda, apple cider, and Angostura Bitters, you can prepare this unique drink.
Vodka O’Clock Somewhere
A blueberry lavender vodka spritzer will be a hit at both sophisticated parties and casual BBQs. If you are not that fond of blueberries, you can always swap them out for blackberries or raspberries instead. To prepare this refreshing drink, you need some vodka, blueberry lavender, simple syrup, soda water, fresh lavender, and blueberries.
Mint Vodka Lemonade should be your go-to choice if you’re looking for a clean, fresh, and classic taste. This drink has just the right amount of tartness and sweetness necessary for a summer drink. Ingredients include mint leaves, cold water, limes/lemons, sweetener, and vodka.
Don’t Be a Basic Batch
Any one of these delicious drinks will surely be a hit at your next BBQ party. Make 2-3 batches and freeze them to ensure you have plenty for everyone. Also, select a few pretty pitchers and punch bowls for serving. Disposable cups are great for easy clean up, while a dumpster covers taking away the trash.