One of the best parts of summer is throwing summertime soirees for your friends. There’s nothing better than pulling together a Friday night dinner party al fresco where you spend a few hours soaking in the sun, enjoying the warm weather, and decompressing from a long week.
A COLORFUL SUMMERTIME SOIREE
My secret to throwing a summertime soiree is that just a little effort goes a long way. With a colorful table setting, a signature cocktail, and an easy and simple menu, your guests will think you spent hours planning. And this summer, I partnered with Malibu Rum to bring you colorful inspiration including a fun twist on a classic summer cocktail.
SETTING THE TABLE
Before we get to your new favorite cocktail recipe, let’s set the stage, or the table, rather, for this summertime soiree. When you’re entertaining guests during warm weather, you want to pull out all the stops with color. This isn’t the time to use your white tablecloth and white china. I want print, I want bold color, I want life in my tablescape.
For this particular evening, I knew that the green in the Cilantro Mojito with Malibu Rum and in the guacamole and other Mexican dishes I would be preparing would look so fresh and vibrant set against a palette of blues and gold. So I mixed a terrazzo print melamine plate (these are a lifesaver for outdoor entertaining, particularly when you have to bring everything up to a rooftop like I do!), a gold charger, blue cut plastic cups (another outdoor favorite!), and bold turquoise napkins with royal blue and white ikat placemats. The placemats give everything a more casual, laid-back summer feel than a tablecloth and let the rustic wood table shine through. I also added in gold details in the cocktail glasses and the pitcher for a bit of sparkle. Such an easy tablescape, but with so much summery punch.
MIXING UP A COCKTAIL WITH MALIBU RUM
Now, when it comes to your signature cocktail for the evening, the first rule is, you should always have one. Even if your guests only drink one and then switch to wine, it helps set the tone for your soiree. For this particular dinner, I wanted something that had a tropical, refreshing vibe using Malibu rum, but I wanted something that went beyond the standard cocktail recipe. So, I took a classic mojito recipe and turned it upside down by adding cilantro instead of mint – plus, that’s what I happened to have on hand!
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons simple syrup
2 ounces Malibu rum
Middle together cilantro leaves, lime juice, and simple syrup in cocktail shaker. Add rum and ice. Shake well. Pour ice, cilantro, rum, everything into a glass. Top with a bit of club soda to add some fizz. Give it a quick stir. Garnish with the lime wedge. Enjoy!
ROUNDING OUT YOUR SUMMER SOIREE
Now that you have the table set and the signature cocktail crafted, let’s turn to the menu. My piece of advice: keep it easy. You don’t even want to bother wish dishes that need recipes. Make some guacamole and serve it with some crisp tortilla chips. Throw some steak and chicken on the grill, saute some peppers and onions, make some pico de gallo, and let people assemble their own tacos. Focus on simple, summery flavors that everyone will enjoy.
And, a final word of advice? Light a few candles, have an extra bottle of Malibu rum on hand, and keep the evening easy breezy. Just have a colorful and relaxing night with good friends, good drinks, and good food.