What can we say? Warmer days have us dreaming of moving our parties to the porch. We’ve partnered with Claire Thomas, founder of The Kitchy Kitchen, to see how to host a casual party that is perfect for long summer weekends.
Long weekends are meant for long evenings. I love those lazy kind of summer parties where friends show up in the afternoon and trickle in and out until you can’t believe how late it has gotten.
For open-ended get togethers, alfresco dining seems like a must. It’s a casual way to entertain during the summer months. You can enjoy the sunset, and it seems to encourage a lazy mood, one that you can just find a comfortable chair and a cocktail and hang out for hours.
Inspiration and Ideas for a Summer Party
For this get together, I was inspired by those effortless long weekend vibes and classic Americana, creating a party menu based on my childhood favorites and mixing red, white, and blue cocktails. For the food, I relied on bite-sized recipes that are meant to be easy to snack on at a summer party and cocktails that can delight every drinker’s palette.
Gorgeous Red, White and Blue Decor
To complete the look of my summer dinner, I partnered with Crate and Barrel to style my balcony for the summer kickoff party and kept the look classic but modern. Market lights and patriotic red, white and blue flags were hung across my balcony, and little details like red-striped straws to match the red and white flecked napkins kept the Americana theme going.
I especially loved using metal serving platters with the steel enamel plates for my informal dinner party. The look is casual and rustic, but still with East Coast polish—perfect for summer appetizers and dessert bites.
But for real though, how cute is that copper cocktail shaker? Love! I hope you enjoy my inspiration for the long weekend.
Pretzel-Wrapped Little Smokies With Mustard Miso Sauce Recipe
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup warm water (100-110 degrees F)
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 4 cups boiling water
- 1/4 cup kosher salt, for topping
- 1 pound package of small sausages
Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for five minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour and oil and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl (about 15 minutes). Put the dough into a greased bowl container, cover and sit in a warm place for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
When dough has risen, preheat oven to 450 degrees and fill a large pot (I use my largest and deepest frying pan) with 2 inches of water and 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Turn it on to bring it to a boil.
Spray two cookie sheets with cooking spray and begin wrapping the little smokies with the dough. Set wrapped smokies on cookie sheet.
When you have finished wrapping half of them, place them in boiling water for one minute, fish them out with a slotted spoon and put them back on the cookie sheet. Repeat until all the pretzel dogs on the sheet have been boiled.
Brush them with egg wash (beat the egg with one tablespoon water) and then sprinkle lightly with coarse salt.
Cook them for 12 to 15 minutes in the 450 degree oven.
While those are cooking, prep the other half of the smokies so they will be ready to go in the oven when those come out.
Spicy Miso Mustard
- 1/4 cup yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon white miso
- 1 teaspoon Coleman’s Mustard
- 1 pinch cayenne
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
Mix and serve.
Cheddar Honey Mini Grilled Cheese Recipe
- 4 slices cheddar
- 2 slices white bread (I used a pullman-style loaf for easiest slicing)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 1 pinch cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons butter
Place two pieces of cheese on one slice of bread and top with the honey. Sprinkle with a little salt and cinnamon. Add the other two slices of cheese, and press the other slice of bread onto it. With a knife, butter the bread. Heat a skillet over a medium heat, and press the sandwich on buttered side down. Press until the bread is grilled golden brown and the cheese has started to melt. Butter the other side of the sandwich (which is facing up) and flip. Cook until golden brown and the cheese is gooey (this should all take about 3 to 4 minutes). Slice and enjoy this tasty grilled cheese!
Chocolate Malt Whoopie Pies Recipe
Makes Two Dozen
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cream sugar and beaten eggs, and add sour cream. Mix dry ingredients and add to egg mixture. Drop 1-inch spoonfuls onto lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes and then cool on a rack.
- 5 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon malted milk powder
- 2 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted, then cooled
- Pinch kosher salt
Cream the sour cream in an electric mixer until light and a little fluffy, and add the butter, beating for one to two minutes, or until combined. Add the brown sugar, and beat until combined. Turn the mixer to low and add the powdered sugar. Finish with the pinch of salt and vanilla extract, beating until just combined.
Spread on the flat side of one cookie and sandwich with the other. Enjoy!
Red, White and Blue Summer Cocktail Recipes
Red: Strawberry Rose Gin Punch with a Touch of Cassis
- 3 strawberries, chopped
- 1 teaspoon simple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon rosewater
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce orange juice
- 2 ounce gin
- 1/2 ounce crème de cassis
Muddle together the strawberries, syrup, lemon and orange. Add the gin and crème de cassis and ice, and stir. Strain into a glass over ice.
White: Coconut Rum Punch with a Touch of Amaro and Orange
- 3 ounces coconut milk
- 1 ounces white rum
- 1/2 ounce amaro
- 1/2 ounce orange cognac liqueur
Combine everything in a cocktail shaker, along with ice, and stir. Strain into a glass over ice.
Blue: Blueberry Bourbon Smash Cocktail
- 2 tablespoons blueberries
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/2 lemon, sliced
- 2 ounces bourbon
Muddle together the blueberries, honey and lemon in a cocktail shaker. Add the bourbon and ice, and stir. Strain into a glass over ice.