So, here we are. It's midway through August, which means there's only a limited amount of time left to soak up all that these divine summer months have to offer.
But that does NOT mean all hope is lost. Summer 2016 is so NOT canceled. There are plenty of rays left to catch. From music festivals to the return of classic cocktails, there is so much to celebrate. In fact, if you play your cards right, you can keep the summer vibes flowing all year-round.
Here's a wrap-up of this season's top entertaining trends and some of the best party hacks we learned along the way. Now there's no reason why you can't make your next late-summer hang feel just as memorable as those early-summer parties.
It's time to go next-level on summer party goals — now!
Hack your summer party's drink menu.
Here's a surefire way to simplify your party-planning and insure all of your guests have a great time: Choose a themed cocktail for your party and serve it in a unique way.
If you need some inspiration, we've got you covered.
Take a pineapple, lob off the top, scoop out the fruit and toss it into a blender with rum. Pour the delicious concoction back into the pineapple — or watermelon, coconut, cantaloupe, it's up to you — and serve it to your deserving guests. Watch as the line forms.
It's summer, which means you've GOTTA stay fresh.
Take your haul from the farmer's market or your garden and show it off to your guests. Toss it into punchbowls, stick it onto glass rims, blend it, mash it, muddle it and add rum. (Always add rum.)
If you have too much fruit, here's a quick hack to keep from wasting the good stuff: Boil two cups of sugar with two cups of water in a pot. Next, drop in any kind of fruit. (I'm talking REALLY full, so it is JAMMED right in there.) Then boil, cool, blend and strain if necessary.
Voilà. You have a simple summery syrup you can mix when the spirit moves you. With this syrup in your cooking arsenal, you'll feel like you're on a tropical island — even when hosting a party in the dead of winter.
Embrace the summer and don't skimp on the garnish.
If you garnish, then go big. Don't just cut a piece of fruit and place it on your drink's glass. Cut a BIG, DELICIOUS piece and display it proudly for the world to see.
Why? Repeat after me: more Insta fodder.
Your guests will love the summery touch, and that edible garnish will work double-duty for you. After your drink is finished, you can eat that giant slice of pineapple or orange (or anything, really).
Dessert is served.
Here's a hack that will change your life: Go to a wine supply shop that sells huge glass decanters and buy one. Apart from letting your wine breathe (which you definitely, absolutely care about), the small neck keeps away flies.
Never again will your outdoor party be ruined by bugs.
You can even buy a pump online to make your set-up look pro, and you can build a complex cocktail in peace and quiet well ahead of time — with no cranky partygoers calling out your mixology moves. With your fancy new decanter, you'll have a savage batch of perfectly-proportioned cocktails every single time.
The cocktails will flow all night with little effort on your part (aside from sticking a piece of fruit on the glass). Plus, it “breaks down” fast, which is restaurant- and bar industry-speak for easy cleanup and storage.
Bar hard. Bar strong.
Since drinks are broken down into parts (or proportions), you don't necessarily need a shot glass to create a delicious cocktail. That means that as long as you maintain the proportions from the original drink recipes, you can freehand the process. That said, here are two tips that will help streamline your outdoor cocktail-making process.
1. If you're having an outdoor party, use a mason jar as your shaker. It makes less of a mess, and it's more portable.
2. Instead of a breakable shot glass or jigger, keep a bunch of teaspoons or tablespoons around.
No more broken glass. No more mess. That's a win-win.
Keep it chill (literally).
The happiest summer trend we saw was chilled. With ice in the mix, your sweaty guests will cheer when you serve them frozen cocktails and slushies.
If you're feeling especially ambitious, then make your own rum popsicles. Alcohol can be difficult to freeze, so you may have to play around to produce the optimal mix for these extra-fun ice pops. But could there be a better way to spend this last weekend of unofficial summer? Plus, popsicles provide you and your guests a predictably-dosed way to have fun — without getting too spun.
DO try this at home.
Meet Trevor Burnett, the ambassador for Bacardi. He was kind enough to share this recipe, which he developed for the Blue Jays, our own Boys of Summer.
“This is a Jay's team classic and favourite that I serve them at their golf games, charity events, etc. They really like when I garnish with sugar cane because so many of them are from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico or the Southern states where it is grown. Many of them grew up eating sugar cane,” he says.
“Although it's blueberry, the syrup turns the cocktail purple, but they've never complained once (lol). A bunch of jocks sipping on purple Mojitos is a perfect illustration of how down-to-earth and fun this team is.”
Blue Jays Blueberry Mojito 2oz Bacardi Superior rum 1oz *blueberry syrup 4 lime segments 3oz club soda 10 fresh mint leaves
Method: Add lime segments to a large highball glass and muddle well. Clap mint leaves in your hand and drop into the glass. Pour rum and syrup into the glass and add crushed ice about three quarters of the way up the glass. Add soda and stir. Top with more crushed ice and garnish with a generous bouquet of mint and blueberries.
*To make the blueberry syrup: Add two cups of water, two cups of sugar and one cup of fresh blueberries to a pan, and heat on medium until sugar crystals dissolve. Turn off the heat and let the syrup cool. Bottle the syrup, label it with a date and refrigerate.