Rejoice! The Summer Entertaining Season is finally upon us. You have waited for months and the time has come to hose off the patio set and reach far back into your kitchen closet to bring out your favorite red, white and blue serve ware. We are hosting a summer gathering outside!
For this party let’s keep the menu simple and focus on setting up a fabulous beverage station. We’ll offer a refreshing selection of wine, water and cocktails that is sure to please even the pickiest of crowds.
Beverage stations have been popular for weddings and larger events for years and recently are being seen more and more at backyard gatherings and barbecues. They are visually appealing but more importantly, once set up, a beverage station allows the hostess to spend more time with her guests instead of running around mixing drinks for everyone.
An ideal beverage station includes chilled water, sparkling water, a variety of wines and a signature cocktail. Be sure to offer glassware (unbreakable if hosting near the pool), ice, straws, festive napkins and sliced fruit for adding to water or cocktails. I also like to use whole fruit in the display to add color and texture – limes, lemons and oranges in wire baskets are perfect for a summer party beverage station.
If your summer party is during the heat of the day, I highly recommend offering herb- or fruit-infused water, along with sparkling or flat water. Easy to make the night before, infused waters not only look great on your beverage station, they keep guests hydrated. Simply fill a clear beverage dispenser, or two, with a combination of herbs and fruit such as raspberry and lime, or cucumber and mint then chill before setting out for your gathering.
Another trick that doubles as decor for your summer beverage station is a big tub filled with ice and colorful seltzer water bottles. You can find a variety of brands and flavors in most markets these days. Look for bottles with colorful logos or images that will add a pop of color to the lower level of your summer beverage station. Fill your tub with ice and tuck your chilled bottles on top approximately one hour before your party begins.
One last step and your station will be ready for summer revelers – add a signature cocktail! For summer temperatures I like to offer a signature cocktail that is mainly mixer rather than loaded with alcohol. Grab one of those colorful bottles of seltzer, slice a few limes and you have a refreshing Lime + Raspberry Vodka Spritzer. Did you know our term spritzer comes from the German verb, meaning to splash or squirt?
- 1 ounce chilled vodka
- fresh raspberries
- fresh squeezed lime juice
- 2 - 3 slices of lime
- 1 teaspoon of simple syrup
- 2 - 3 drops Angostura bitters
- 1 bottle 8 ounce raspberry seltzer, Boylan or similar unsweetened seltzer
- In a cocktail glass filled with ice, pour vodka, lime juice, simple syrup and bitters.
- Stir well to combine.
- Add lime slices and raspberries.
- Top with raspberry seltzer.
- Top with additional ice as needed.
If you are hosting a large group you may want to offer several signature cocktails rather than just one. A few of my favorite refreshing recipes to consider:
What’s your favorite summer drink to serve as part of a party beverage station?