4 Tips for Hosting The Ultimate Summer Cocktail Party

Jul 5, 2023

how to host a summer cocktail party

It goes without saying: we love to entertain.

Heck, we’ll take any excuse to gather our closest friends and loved ones, set out a few delectable bites and drinks and spend the evening enjoying the pleasure of good company.

And summer is no exception—warm weather and sunny days make for great entertaining, especially when paired with a cold, refreshing cocktail.

So, to help get you inspired to host a soirée of your own, we tapped our in-house entertaining specialists for their top tips for hosting the ultimate summer cocktail party.


Hungry for more? We’ve got everything you need to make your party the event of the summer—shop our outdoor entertaining and dining collections to find the perfect piece for your next gathering.

Shop Our Outdoor Dining & Entertaining Collection

how to throw a summer cocktail party

Keep It Colorful

In our books, summer = color. So don’t skimp on the bright and colorful touches.

Whether you opt for colorful glassware, like these blue sky-hued wine glasses, or some fun and funky plastic (i.e. durable) old fashioned glasses, keep the mood light and fun with pops of color. Fresh flowers, festive table runners and glimmering string lights can go a long way toward making your gathering feel like a celebration.

This pop of color should also extend to your dinnerware.

For an outdoor-friendly option, look for plates and bowls made of melamine, a more durable form of plastic that’s shatter-resistant and dishwasher safe. This wildflower-inspired set is great for adding a bit of whimsy to your gathering. Or, if you’re wanting more of a summery, Americana vibe, we love this red, white and blue collection.

how to throw a summer cocktail party

Don’t Skimp On The Snacks

If we could only eat one type of food for the rest of our lives, it would probably be finger foods.

They’re small enough to indulge in but plentiful enough to keep us feeling satisfied. Plus, a buffet of canapes, crudites and tapas means your guests can help themselves, which means more time mingling and less time spent restocking the snack table.

Our favorites?

You can never go wrong with an ample charcuterie board—not only are they an eye-catching centerpiece, but they’re relatively hands off. Arrange a few boards before your guests arrive and place them in areas to encourage conversation.

Or, if you’re more into playing host than spending time in the kitchen, order in some heat-and-serve small bites for your guests to nosh on. This will not only save you time (and albeit, stress), but it will also keep your guests feeling full and satisfied.

how to throw a summer cocktail party

It’s All About The Drinks

When it comes to entertaining, we like to abide by one golden rule: drinks should be as hands off as possible.

Nothing kills the mood faster than having your guests wait on you to play bartender. The solution? Let them serve themselves.

Keep beer and wine accessible (and chilled) by placing a few ice buckets around your space. Or, for a more casual, summery, backyard bash feel, fill a cooler with a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink options.

Another great choice? Batch cocktails. Here are a few of our favorites:

cocktail recipes for summer

Peach Sangria

Stone fruit is to summer what pumpkins are to fall: quintessential. This recipe celebrates the juicy, nectarous fruit in the best way—a fresh, fruity summer sangria. Serve in a large beverage dispenser and watch the party unfold.

how to throw a summer cocktail party

Aperol Spritz Sangria

What happens when you combine two of summer’s most iconic cocktails, the Aperol Spritz and Sangria? You get this delightfully boozy and fruity batched cocktail that’s perfect for entertaining. Serve in a large pitcher and let guests help themselves.

cocktail recipes for summer

Peach-Lemon Tea

A solid, non-alcoholic option is always a must when entertaining. Not all of your guests will want to imbibe, and having an alcohol-free drink available can also help to prevent your guests from over-indulging. This citrusy, peach-laced tea is a delightful, refreshing addition to the lineup.

how to throw a summer  cocktail party

Set The Mood

As we mentioned above, the décor you choose will have a big impact on the tone of your party. But there are other things to consider to ensure your guests are comfortable.

Is it going to be sunny? Is there enough seating for all your guests? What about the music? Are you going for more of an upbeat, party-type feel or do you want your guests to be relaxed and to focus more on conversing than dancing?

These are all good questions to ask when deciding how you want your guests to feel.

For hot, sunny days, consider putting up some sort of shade to offer guests a reprieve—this could be as simple as setting out a large umbrella with a few chairs for guests to relax in or stringing up a few mesh sunshades.

Consider the music as well. Light, instrumental jazz may be great for a black-tie event, but it may not give off that relaxed, summery feel you’re looking for. However, a playlist stacked with Top 40 hits could go over well at a big shindig but might not be the best choice for a more intimate gathering.


Hungry for more? We’ve got everything you need to make your party the event of the summer—shop our outdoor entertaining and dining collections to find the perfect piece for your next gathering.

Shop Our Outdoor Dining & Entertaining Collection

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