When great summer weather beckons, your motivation to throw an outdoor party may go up a notch. As summers are conducive to easy traveling, they're also a popular time of the year for family reunions. If you've been tasked with hosting a summer party or taken it upon yourself, plan it smartly to make it memorable for all the right reasons.
Nail the Basics of Hosting a Summer Party
Where will the party be held? Who's invited? What happens at the party? The pressure will be on you to make practical decisions while also exploring ways to make your party fun. Here are some essentials to think about when planning your summer party.
- Location - Your home (inside/patio/backyard/by the pool), or at a beach or park?
- When - Give guests time to plan given how summer calendars tend to fill up fast
- Timing - Midday/Afternoon or evening?
- Eats - Decide foods based on your guest list (vegetarian/vegan options, including kosher/halal or other lawful foods)
- Drinks - Alcohol or non-alcoholic (NA) drinks and what type?
- Keeping cool
Serve Non-Alcoholic Drinks at Your Summer Party (You Can Keep them Sweet Too!)
While beers and cocktails are staples at summer parties, they can dehydrate you by increasing your frequency of urination. This isn't something you want on a sweltering afternoon. But it isn't the only reason to consider alternatives to alcohol for your summer party.
Alcohol increases your heart rate and widens your skin's blood vessels, making you sweat. Handing out water bottles to guests and placing a cooler filled with ice and washcloths will take care of thirsty and sweaty guests.
A pool party with alcohol creates a risk of accidental drowning. Monitoring your tipsy uncle or a friend who has had one too many drinks will become your responsibility.
If there's one thing you could change at your next summer party, consider substituting alcohol with non-alcoholic drinks. They could be non-alcoholic versions of classic cocktails that remove the particular alcoholic beverage from the recipe (and add a replacement) or replace the alcohol with its low-alcohol or alcohol-free counterpart.
Non-alcoholic options are hydrating. You cannot get drunk on them, so they're safer too. On top of that, you can focus your drinks menu on sweet non-alcoholic drinks. On a hot day, the body craves sugary drinks. But sugary drinks can have a dehydrating effect on the body, although not to the extent of a high ABV beer or spirit. Considering these points, sweet non-alcoholic drinks are a vastly better option to their alcoholic counterparts.
10 Sweet Non-Alcoholic Drinks for Summer Parties
These NA drinks help you and your guests beat the heat and keep your energy levels high.
1. Mango lassi
Mango lassi is a creamy blend of mangoes, yogurt and milk. Add freshly cut mango, one cup of yogurt, half a cup of milk and a 1-2 tablespoons of white sugar to a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.
2. Piña colada
If you love the taste of pineapples and coconut, this is for you. The alcoholic version blends rum, cream of coconut/coconut milk, pineapple juice and ice. A pineapple wedge garnish completes the drink. Skip the rum and add a cup of vanilla ice-cream for the non-alcoholic version.
3. Strawberry daiquiri
A staple at beachside restaurants, strawberry daiquiri tastes a lot like fruit punch. A non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiri requires a few simple ingredients: non-alcoholic rum, simple syrup, fresh lime, and strawberries. Substitute with banana or canned/fresh pineapple to enjoy the drink in different flavors.
4. Mai Tai
The rum-based tropical cocktail hits the spot on balmy summer evenings. A virgin mai tai uses orange juice in place of rum and Curaçao liqueur. For an elevated taste, consider a recipe of non-alcoholic rum along with orange juice, pineapple juice, and orgeat syrup.
5. Blackberry and mint bramble
This summer gin-based refreshment is big on the sweet-tart flavor of fresh blackberries. You can keep the desired flavors intact with non-alcoholic gin. Other ingredients are fresh lime juice, agave nectar, bubbly water, crushed ice, and fresh mint leaves.
6. Rhubarb gimlet
Fruity and slightly sweet, rhubarb gimlet is a combo of non-alcoholic gin, lime juice, and rhubarb simple syrup. It's an equally impressive spring and summer cocktail.
7. Watermelon lemonade
Watermelon is the king of summer fruits thanks to its high water content and abundant Vitamin C, A, B6 and minerals. You definitely want to use in your non-alcoholic drink recipes. A simple one is combining equal parts of watermelon juice and lemonade to make watermelon lemonade.
8. Iced tea
Making iced tea at home doesn't require anyone to have advanced cooking skills. You'll be working with three ingredients only - tea bags, sugar, and water.
Boil water in a saucepan and remove it from heat. Add the tea bags and allow them to steep for ten minutes. Remove the tea bags, add sugar and whisk until it dissolves completely. Add in cold water and whisk. Refrigerate until chilled, and serve with lemon slices.
9. Arnold Palmer
Made famous by the legendary golfer, the Arnold Palmer contains three parts sweet iced tea to one part lemonade. You can also use both in equal parts. It makes a refreshing midday drink, but is also great if you plan to hang out on your porch all afternoon.
10. Surfer Girl
The mocktail recipe uses non-alcoholic gin, lime juice, watermelon juice, honey, and basil leaves as garnish. Something new to try and get guests' reviews to help plan your next party!
Tips to Double the Enjoyment at Your Summer Party
Extra touches can make your summer party memorable. Some ideas to explore are:
- Invite a family member or a former colleague or friend the rest of your guests have lost touch with. It will be a nice surprise for everyone and an opportunity to reminisce about your time together.
- If you know a guest has a cool secret talent, ask them if they'd be willing to showcase it at your party. Do this at the time of inviting them and only if they're comfortable doing it.
- For a family reunion, request everyone to pay tribute to a family member who has played an important role in their lives. Everyone can take turns acknowledging the support and love for the person.
- Plan a game or two - capture the flag, treasure hunt, charades, and lawn scrabble are some options. Pick games based on your knowledge of what your guests like and how amenable they might be to joining in.
Ready to start putting together a summer party that people will remember for a long time to come? All the best!