Master The Art Of The Summer Dinner Party

posted by Chris Valentine

There’s nothing better than a big backyard when you’re hosting a dinner party. Summer is the perfect season for dinner parties when you’ve got that much space, you just need to be prepared. Fire up the grill, get your cocktail bar set up, and start making your summer playlist. With these tips, you’ll be throwing the best summer cocktail parties in the neighborhood.

#1: Setting Up

You may need to refresh your patio furniture before you host your next summer dinner party. Make sure there’s enough room at your outdoor dining table or that you have extra chairs to accommodate everyone. When it comes to dining tables, you probably want to invest in something that’s going to be weather-proof such as wrought-iron or a tempered glass top and steel frame. Set it up under some shade like a canopy or patio umbrellas so that your guests can find some relief from the sun. If you’re not sure you’re going to have enough space, improvise some extra seating by laying down throw blankets and pillows on the deck in neat little nooks. Center them with a bucket of wine and maybe some hors d’oeuvres on an overturned metal bucket.

#2: Prep Your Cocktail Bar

Every great summer dinner party has a signature cocktail. In addition to wine and beer, set up a cocktail bar station with all the ingredients your guests need to fix it themselves. Keep it simple and have everything prepared ahead, such as having your garnishes sliced or your mint crushed. There are some clever ways to build a fold-away bar in your backyard, but a bucket of ice and a utility cart with all the liquors and ingredients will do in a pinch. 

Want to explore your cocktail-making skills with something more exciting? You won’t want to be making cocktails all night, but if you just can’t wait to serve up a frozen dark & stormy or a Moscato margarita, make everyone’s first round.

#3 Fire up the Barbecue

The key to any successful dinner party is a delicious meal. Instead of working away in the kitchen while your friends are outside, get the barbecue going and start grilling. From classic rib eye steaks to sweet cola ribs, you can do just about anything on a grill. Check out this recipe for “swineapple,” a sweet and salty mashup where you tuck pork ribs into a pineapple slice. Southern BBQ classics will always be a hit if you have the time and patience, or you can explore the world with dishes like Argentinian matambre (a rolled and grilled flank steak) with chimichurri, Hawaiian-style Kalua pork shoulder, or Korean skirt steak.

Summer’s waiting for you. Start planning your next summer dinner party from top to bottom and blow your guests away. Delight your guests with wicked cocktails and surprise them with barbecued treats from around the world this summer. With these tips, you can make your dinner parties legendary.

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