From the Fourth of July, to Labor Day, to everything in-between, summer is meant to be spent in the open-air, enjoying blissfully unstructured, sunny days with loved ones. The epitome of the season? All of the backyard soirees – filled with dips, sips, friends and family – you can host to show off your envy-worthy outdoor space. Since we’re already in the summer-spirit, we wanted to pose a fun summer challenge to each of you: see if you can make time to connect with friends, family and neighbors over the next few months by hosting the 3 must-throw summer parties listed below.
1. Gather a Close-Knit Group
Busy schedules always seem to make getting together with close friends a little tough. But, with summer work schedules and people wanting to stay out later in the evenings to enjoy the warm evenings, it’s the perfect time to extend the invite to friends who you want to catch up with.
Since the get together will likely be on the smaller side, and be pretty casual – it is your closest friends, after all, they’ve probably seen you in your PJs before – opt for serving something a little special. Mules are all the rage right now, and it’s not just because everyone looks good sipping out of copper mugs (think of the backyard selfies you can take!)—they’re also downright dee-lish. This peach mule recipe from A House in the Hills is ripe for summertime. Fresh, muddled peaches are added to a concoction of vodka, peach schnapps and Grand Marnier. Of course, ginger beer is what makes a mule and what’s great is it also cuts the sweetness, so even those who don’t like sugary drinks will enjoy it. Serve some crunchy veggies with dip and salty snacks for the perfect mix!
Don’t want to spend that much time with a muddler in hand? Pin the recipe below to keep handy – it’s not only super refreshing to enjoy, it’s super easy to make! But, note, this drink isn’t for the faint of heart, too much “Grinning” can be a bad thing. Enjoy in moderation!
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Most of the time, chatting and reconnecting will take up most of the party amongst close friends, but if you’d rather have some entertainment to focus on, center your get-together around the release of a new summer television show (Netflix, anyone?), or a blockbuster that was just released. No matter what you decide, make sure your guests have snacks and beverages readily available at the beginning of your gathering, so you don’t have to spend time running into the kitchen to replenish the crudité.
2. Host a Block Party Bash
Find yourself waving at the neighbors each morning but not even knowing their name? Remedy the situation and host an impromptu block party. Many folks head out of town on the holiday weekends, so try planning your celebration on an “off-weekend.” Print up a few flyer-style invites and deliver them door-to-door to everyone on your block. While you may already know some of your neighbors, this is the perfect way to extend the invite to those you don’t. When party day rolls around, simplicity is key so that you can mingle with as many people as possible and appease to as many tastes as possible. One safe bet: beer and BBQ. To be someone unique, try adding some of Anheuser-Busch’s newest creation, Oculto, to your cooler. Tequila is increasing in popularity and beer—well, beer has always been popular. Put them together and you’ve got the perfect summer drink, and you don’t even need a mixologist! While the beer doesn’t actually have tequila in it, it’s made with blue agave, which is what is used to make tequila. The beverage is also blended with beer that was aged in wood from tequila barrels – quite a different brew! Round things out with some non-alcoholic beer, sodas and plenty of water.
Of course, chips, salsa and guac are the perfect easy snack serve, but also try throwing some marinated carne asada on the grill, it’s an easy cut of meat to grill quickly and in large quantities for groups. Set up a DIY taco bar so everyone can build their own tacos to their liking.
Since many visitors will be new to your home
, open up the back doors to make them feel welcome. Another helpful tip is to make sure everyone knows which restroom is designated for guest use – put up a simple sign that helps point people in the right direction.
3. Round up Your Family – Reunion Style
It’s typical for families to spend time together during fall and winter holidays, but try instituting a summer reunion so everyone can keep in touch year-round. Since it’s likely you’ll have attendees of all age groups, prep your backyard with activities for everyone. Cornhole is a fun game all ages can take part in, but some people may rather just sit back on your patio furniture with their feet up. We love the idea of turning on a backyard fire pit as the sun goes down. While some may appreciate the added warmth as summer breezes sweep in, the kids will be itching to roast some marshmallows.
In terms of food, why not make it a potluck? Everyone loves sharing their holiday dishes at Thanksgiving, so give them the chance to show off their summer cooking as well. Serve a refreshing summer sangria that pairs well with just about any dish. Plus, you can make an alcohol-free version for the kids – serve it in a fancy glass with a straw and they’ll keep themselves entertained sipping on their “fancy” drink.
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Will you accept the challenge to host these parties at your Shea home? We’d love to hear about them, and see any photos. Leave us a comment below, or share your photos with us on our Facebook or Twitter.
Have a great summer!