NOTE: I am in NJ, if your state has more cases of COVID, please take care of yourself and stay home.
Throw a Stylish & Safe Star-Spangled Summer Party —
with help from your clean entertaining expert….
It’s finally gorgeous outside—and it might be time to get together. Are you thinking of having a few special friends over? I have collected some of my favorite hacks so whether you’re having a small dinner party, lounging by the above ground pool, or throwing a small neighbor get together? You must read this first, for safety, style, and fun.
“I am comfortable with you staying six feet away”. Tell your guests what you are thinking and make sure you are all on the same page. You don’t want Aunt Nicole coming over without a mask and trying to kiss the kids. Laying ground rules for everyone will ensure a good time for all. First off, it is alright to ask about your friend’s social-distancing history before they come over. Remember – no surprises!
Set up the rules you are comfortable with social distancing, masks, staying outside, not sharing food or drinks. Get clarity beforehand, even if you’re a guest. You don’t want to walk into a friend’s backyard and be surprised that no one is practicing your level of safe behavior. A safe bet is to limit the number of people invited and follow local guidelines. I’d keep it to ten people. The more people you interact with the more you increase your exposure.
PARTY MASKS & SANITIZER
Make it easy for your guests to follow your rules. When you decorate the space or just wiping it all down with disinfectant wipes, add a few masks. You may even make it an activity if you have little kids coming. Decorate your own mask to take with you. Remember if you are social distancing you may not need to be wearing a mask outside in some states. Sanitizer is essential, you can make your own or buy a few little bottles if they are available at the stores. If you have it available, then everyone will use it. No issue here.
You and your friends are so much safer outside than inside. Plus, are you letting anyone in your house? Start setting up with social distancing in mind. You are creating comfortable areas for your guests to eat/drink and connect. Set up your outdoor furniture and maybe a few pieces from inside with space in between, 6 ft apart. Use the yard, the patio all parts of your outdoor space. I love using blankets, rugs, and pillows along the grass, add some lanterns or string lights to set the mood, makes me feel like I’m at a fancy Hamptons party sponsored by Kettle One Mint & Cucumber.
Games always bring out my competitive nature, but it also is a nice way to bring everyone together. We have been playing a card version of Trivial Pursuit, on and offline with our friends. (YES! I’m a game person) My husband and I are team captains and our guests are split up to make teams. Do you have a favorite game that you can make into a team sport?
Each person needs their own set of silverware, dish, and glass, depending on what you are serving. You can share a huge bowl of salad, chicken, and more, just portion out the servings ahead of time and your guest can grab one and move on. They can also take from a serving plate as long as they use their own utensils. Serve the outlier… make a plate for anyone you deem not really taking your rules to heart.
BYOC – Bring your own CUP! If that’s not going to work, write everyone’s name on a cup with a marker. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that online get-togethers carry the least risk. For a small outdoor gathering; they encourage people to bring their own food and drinks and identify one person to serve shareable items.
My favorite backyard cocktails:
Meyer Lemonade (serves 6):
Meyer lemons are a cross between a regular lemon and a mandarin orange. The sweet and sour flavors make this drink go down easy.
Recommended Barware: Mason jars and a pitcher
- 3 cups vodka or gin
- 1 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
- 1 cup Honey Syrup
- Zest of 5 Meyer lemons
- Garnish: 6 to 8 lemon slices
- Combine the vodka, lemon juice, Honey Syrup, and lemon zest in a pitcher and stir until combined.
- Pour the contents of the pitcher into 6 ice-filled plastic cups, garnish each with the lemon slices, and set out for your guests. Don’t forget to write your guests’ names on the cups too.
Garden State (serves 6):
This cocktail is decidedly clean and refreshing. We use cucumbers picked straight from our gardens, and their high water content helps us stay cool during those hot summer months down on the Jersey Shore. Plus, we use the garnish for relief from the sunburns we inevitably get on the beach.
Recommended Barware: Rocks glasses and a pitcher
- 12 fresh mint sprigs,
- 9 ounces strained cucumber puree,
- 9 ounces gin,
- 9 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice,
- 3 ounces Honey Syrup,
- ice, seltzer water for topping,
- 6 lime wedges for garnish.
- Muddle the mint sprigs in a pitcher. Add the cucumber puree, gin, lime juice, Honey Syrup, and ice and stir.
- Strain the contents of the pitcher into 6 ice-filled highball glasses and top off each with the seltzer. Garnish each with the lime wedges and serve.
The Day Drinker (serves 6):
This cocktail is sunshine in a glass. Loaded with the strong antioxidant vitamin C, fresh grapefruit juice has an effect—albeit limited—on blood sugar levels, according to the Harvard Medical School. We like to think of the Day Drinker as the perfect immunity booster when typhoid hits your house. You could tote this one to t-ball games but bring enough for your friends . . . sports moms always covet!
Recommended Barware: Rocks glasses and a pitcher
- 3 lemons, cut into quarters
- 12 fresh sage leaves, torn in half
- 3 teaspoons coconut sugar
- 1½ cups gin
- 1½ cups freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- Garnish: 6 slender grapefruit wedges
- Muddle the lemons, one-half of the sage leaves, and the coconut sugar in a pitcher. Add the gin, grapefruit juice, and ice and stir until well combined.
- Strain the contents of the pitcher into 6 ice-filled rocks glasses. Garnish each with the remaining sage leaves and the grapefruit wedges and serve.
Wherever you are in the world and whatever you decide to do, please stay safe and healthy!
Everything expressed here is my own opinion, please seek out more information from the CDC or your own doctor to make your decisions.