What do you get when you combine girlfriends + summer cocktails + the cutest little decor + delicious appetizers? Answer: A heck of a lot of fun. Here at Living In Yellow, we have started creating a habit of being intentional by planning fun parties to do with your girlfriends on a regular basis. From our Favorite Things party, 90’s themed Galentines Party and more, it’s been such a fun challenge of planning, prepping and hosting these parties. There is nothing better than getting together with those girls that you love oh so much and have some interrupted time to just sit back, have fun and if you’re lucky, sip a cocktail or two in the process. For our spring/summer themed party, we started talking about how fun it would be to host a summer cocktail tasting party where all attendees would come up with their own cocktail of choice to introduce to their friends and then have a fun judging element to keep things exciting [not that a Moscow mule without a competition aspect to it isn’t exciting…]. Let’s break down the basics on how to host your own party, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered with printables, recipes and everything aside from the vodka that you’ll need.
First things first, you’re going to need some friends to invite. While we can’t exactly provide these people for you, we can provide the cutest of cute invitations to send to them. As the invite says, it tells your guests to bring the ingredients for their favorite summer cocktail to teach the group how to make it once at the party!
Now that you’ve invited your guests and everybody is preparing which cocktail ingredients they are going to bring with them to the party, you’ll have to do a tiny bit of prep work on your end [I promise, it’s nothing difficult]. Let’s start with the “to buy” list:
- If you don’t already have cocktail glasses, you’ll probably want to grab a few of those – I opted for these simple martini glasses.
- Secondly, you may want pitchers for each guest to mix up their drink of choice in. I bought one of these inexpensive cute little pitchers for each guest attending.
- If you’d like to have prizes for your different judged categories, you’ll want to pick that up as well! I simply gave each winner a bottle of wine [seemed fitting ;)]
Now that we got those logistics out of the way, let’s talk a few more printables that you’ll want to have printed and ready to go come party time:
- First up, the summer cocktail tasting notes. Each guest will receive this piece of paper and will use it as each attendee makes their concoction. You simply write down the “mixologist” and the name of the cocktail and then can rank each drink on a 1-10 scale in each of the five categories: Taste, Visual [prettiest], Creativity [extra points for those crazy ingredients or intricate mixing details], Summer Vibes and Creative Name [yes, I would encourage your guests to create their own unique name for the cocktail that they are making]. print your own here
- Next, recipe cards. We thought it would be fun for the guests who absolutely loved a drink [or seven] to be able to write down the recipe to take home with them. We placed these in the middle of the table and by the end of the evening, all guests walked away with several different cocktail recipes to take home and make this summer. print your own here
- Another printable you may want to take advantage of are the little tags that you can use to both label food and use as your voting station tags.
- Last but certainly not least, what’s a party without a banner? We hung this on the front of the kitchen island and it added just the right amount of fun and personalization to the party without having to go overboard or spend much money at all. Print your own banner here [you’ll need page one and page two]!print your own here [page one and page two]
You can’t have a party without food. Well, you can, but nobody will ever come to one of your parties again. We decided to keep things super simple [who has time for a big ole smorgasbord?!] Here are the three things I served up:
Store bought pimento cheese with pretzel thins
Apple, pineapple and pork skewers. Triple yum.
To make these little sticks of goodness, 24 hours before serving, marinate your pork. Before marinating, you will want to cut up your pork into bite-size piece. I used four boneless pork chops to make 24 skewers. Once cubed, marinate it in this delicious easy to make marinade:
- 6 oz Pineapple Juice
- 4 T Orange Juice (or juice from 1/2 an orange)
- 3 T Honey
- 1/4 C Water
- 2 T Soy Sauce
- 2 T Olive Oil
- 1 T Minced Garlic
- 1/2 t Orange Zest
- 1/2 t Ground Ginger
- 1/4 t Black Pepper
Once your pork has marinated, cut-up your apple into bite-size pieces [I left the skin on], and cube your pineapple [or take the easy route and buy it this way like I did!]. Soak your wood skewers [I broke mine in half first] for 30 minutes in warm water prior to loading them up with the fruit and pork. Once loaded, grill until pork is cooked through.
The last dish I served was a sweet [but healthy!] treat! Fruit salsa with cinnamon and sugar pita chips. To make this salsa, simply cut up the following fruit:
- Red Grapes
Mix it all together and serve with pita chips and easy, peasy, done and so delicious!
Now the fun part – the party itself. As your guests arrive, have them all sit their ingredients at your “mixing station” where you have already set out the pitchers.
I highly recommend offering everybody a date for the party [wink] and have everybody take their spot at the watching table.
One by one, each guest will take her turn at the “mixologist station” creating the cocktail that she chose for the party. It’s fun to have each guest as she makes it first share her name for the cocktail and then talk about how she is making it during the process and any tips/tricks along the way! As the mixologist is doing her thing, the guests will be making notes on their tasting sheets, cheersing one another and hopefully making inappropriate jokes along the way.
After all of the guests have created their cocktails and all tastings have been done [don’t worry, the tasting portion can go as late into the evening as you’d like], it’s time for everybody to vote.
Give out those prizes and sit back, relax and have a good ole time.
If you aren’t having enough fun, repeat all of the above steps over. I promise the evening will only get better 😉
Who’s ready to have their own summer cocktail tasting party with their girlfriends? Cheers to creating experiences that you’ll always remember..or in this case, maybe not 😉