Summer’s almost here, which means it’s time to start updating your party planning checklist. This outdoor party season calls for fresh drinks, exciting snacks, and a colorful ambiance with a little twist of something new.
The key to throwing the best backyard get-together is creating an immersive, unforgettable experience. If you want to throw a relaxed-yet-exciting summer party, we’re here to help. Read on for some of our tried-and-true tips and tricks to help you throw the ultimate backyard party.
The Best Drinks for Summer Parties
Picture this: the sun is going down, the lights are flickering on, and soft music is bumping in the background. All your guests are laughing with (zero-carb, zero-sugar) drinks in their hands, and your party was a success.
No party is complete without a bubbly drink in hand — especially as the weather starts to warm up. We’ve got you covered with some top-of-the-line recommendations to help kickstart the perfect party atmosphere.
Hard Seltzer: Light, Crisp, and Refreshing
Hard seltzer is the light, refreshing drink of choice for anyone looking to have a good time. This buzzy take on an airy classic is on-trend and easy to drink, which means it’s the perfect way to get your party started. There’s no better way to greet your guests than to hand them a sip of summer.
Everyone has different tastes; luckily, we have enough flavors to satisfy even the pickiest palates. Our Botanicals & Bitters Hard Seltzer Variety 12 Pack features juicy flavors like Black Lime Juniper, Cranberry Raspberry, and Blood Orange.
Hard Kombucha: Bold, Bubbly, and Wildly Delicious
For guests who want a bolder flavor experience, hard kombucha delivers. This innovative drink blends adventurous flavors with a refreshing texture to provide the perfect summer experience in a can.
Stock up on light flavors like Cucumber Juniper that are perfect for outdoor entertaining. For your more adventurous guests, bring the zing with Pineapple Chili. Born under the pink sunsets of Ojai, California, and brewed in Ventura, our hard kombucha is crafted with plant-based ingredients and herbal botanicals. The end result is a kaleidoscope of flavor that just gets better every time.
Craft Cocktails: There’s a Mixologist in Everyone
As the sun sets, your guests will want to let loose. Indulge them by offering creative cocktails, and don’t be afraid to get a little wild with your flavors. Offer a drink your guest list can’t get anywhere else, and we guarantee they’ll come back for more — you’ll be the host of the season.
To help you get started, we’ve pulled together a spicy-sweet recipe that’s equally perfect for sipping by the pool or on the patio:
The Spicy Pineapple
- 1 oz chili-infused mezcal
- ½ oz lime juice
- ½ oz agave
- 2.5 oz pineapple chili kombucha
- Garnish: pineapple fronds and tajin rim
Prepare a glass by adding tajin to the rim. Add ice, mezcal, lime juice, and agave, and top with pineapple chili kombucha. Garnish with pineapple fronds or wedges.
The Best Snacks for Summer Parties
You’ve got your drinks picked out, but your guests will need some light appetizers to fill up on between sips. Here are some of the best side dishes for ultimate party success.
Homemade Guacamole: Bring on the Dip
Make sure everyone’s happy by serving this classic favorite. Guacamole is light and tangy, which makes it perfect for summer weather. Traditional guacamole combines avocado, jalapeño, garlic, and other ingredients for a popular comfort snack. Top it all off with a sprinkle of sea salt and a little rosemary, and you’ll have to herd your guests away from the snack table.
If you want to spice it up, swap out the traditional chips for crisp baguette slices or add fresh mango for a sweeter snack. If that’s not innovative enough, check out these unique guacamole recipes that’ll keep your guests happy all evening long. If your drinks are adventurous, your guacamole should be too!
Fruit Salads: Light, Sweet, and Summer-Ready
Fruit salad is the perfect sweet complement to savory guac. It’s also incredibly potluck-friendly.
Make a classic fresh fruit salad by mixing cubed cantaloupe, pineapple, grapes, and honeydew and serving on one of your prettiest platters. This refreshing fruit combo is a time-tested crowd-pleaser that will go great with burgers and hot dogs (or grilled veggie skewers and portobello burgers) at your summer cookout.
Take the classic up a notch by combining watermelon, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, and freshly chopped basil. This unique combination has all of the refreshing qualities of the classic fruit salad but with a subtle twist that’ll set you apart as the host of the season.
And to prove to your guests that you’re the master of sweet and aromatic, serve this salad with Watermelon Basil hard kombucha. They’ll think you prepped for months to come up with the perfect combo.
Fresh Pico de Gallo: A Chip’s Best Friend
No party is complete without chips and pico de gallo. This crowd-pleasing dip is easy to make and even easier to eat. All you need are tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, lime, and seasonings, and you’ve instantly got yourself a filling snack perfect for any summer party.
The best part about pico de gallo is that it uses fresh fruits and veggies, so you know your guests are getting the best. You can double the freshness by making your own tortilla chips.
It may sound complicated, but it’s actually pretty easy to DIY tortilla chips. All you have to do is dry out corn tortillas, cut them into triangles, and either fry or bake them until they’re perfectly crisp. Homemade tortilla chips are a small thing, but even the smallest of elements come together to make the ultimate outdoor event.
Setting the Mood for a Summer Party
Drinks and snacks form the base of any good party, but no event is complete without some curated vibes. Your party experience depends on a few things: music, decor, and activities.
Read on for our tips on how to combine these three elements to create the perfect party experience.
Create the Perfect Summer Playlist
Every gathering needs some lively music to spark energy, but your playlist should reflect your party theme. If your party is more of an adults-only dinner party, we recommend smooth jazz or light piano instrumentals to keep the party elegant and relaxed. On the other hand, if you’re throwing a big summer BBQ cookout, you’ll need some pop favorites, decades throwbacks, or even popular line dance hits to liven up the party.
Ultimately, you get to decide the look and feel of your party. You’re the party architect, and you can choose to keep it classy or casual. This summertime playlist includes songs from every genre and era to make sure each guest feels at home.
Spice Up Your Backyard With Some Decorations
To capture the experience of your party, scatter your backyard with themed decor. First, you need to make sure there’s enough outdoor furniture for everyone to have a seat. Nothing kills a buzz like hunting for somewhere to put your plate when it comes time to eat.
String lights can help set the tone — especially as the sun goes down. String lights are a good source of illumination, and they’ve also become a staple of trendy outdoor decor. Whether you go delicate and airy with traditional fairy lights or bring in vintage vibes with Edison bulbs, they’ll bathe your backyard with a golden glow as the natural light fades.
Your dinnerware is also a great place to infuse your personality into the party. Set the tone with matching plates, napkins, and tablecloths to ease your guests into the party environment.
Light a Campfire After Sundown
When it gets dark, you might want to light a campfire to end the night. A campfire is a perfect way to heat up chilly evening air, and it provides an opportunity for your guests to gather around and crack open cans of hard kombucha or hard seltzer.
You can also lay out party games nearby for guests to continue their fun now that the heat has died down. Not every party game is playable in the dark, but popular games like cornhole, Spikeball, and Kan Jam are great ways to keep the party going after the sun goes down.
As your party winds down, your guests will congregate around the campfire to share stories, play music, and look at the stars in the flickering firelight. Your guests had fresh new experiences, found new favorite flavors, and ultimately had fun. That’s what it’s all about.
Throw the Shindig of the Summer
As spring finally gives way to warmer weather, you’re no doubt wondering how to come up with fresh new party ideas that will outdo last summer’s success. Every party is a unique experience that should remain with your guests long after they’ve actually left the party.
With our ultimate backyard party checklist, you can make sure you cover all the essentials while serving fresh takes on old classics. The individual elements of drinks, snacks, and outdoor ambiance will come together to create a bold experience packed with adventure right in the middle of your backyard.