The backyard is officially back in business and you know what that means, summer is here! When you have outdoor space in the city, there is one thing you can count on... Your friends are definitely going to want to come over and enjoy the space too! Whether you have outdoor space or not though, summer is prime for entertaining and today I'm going to share some of my tips to make planning your next get together a little bit easier!
Make the Most of Your Space
While having outdoor space definitely makes entertaining a little easier, if you're like most New Yorkers that probably isn't an option. So how do you make the most of your space (which usually isn't a lot)? If you're having 10 or more people over my first tip is to try and declutter and tidy up. Obviously, you want your apartment to be clean, but you may also want to consider putting away knick knacks or things that you normally leave out day-to-day -- coats, hats, shoes, books, etc.. When you're fitting extra people in your apartment the less things that could potentially be knocked over the better. You might not be throwing a rager, but trust me this can help. I did fit 25 people in my 380 sq ft studio after all -- all while not feeling cramped.
If you have a little room to play with, reorganizing your furniture to allow for extra standing space can really help too. When I have a bigger party in the backyard I usually fold up the lounge chair and move some of the chairs out of the way so it's a little bit more open. Again, you don't have to go crazy, but moving things to the edge of your room can make a big difference in the space you'll have.
Keep the Menu Simple
I'm the queen of wanting to try all of the things and am a little guilty of trying to do too much when it comes to entertaining. You know what that leads to too? Oh yeah, that stress thing which is a total buzzkill. One of my biggest pieces of advice when it comes to entertaining is to keep the menu simple! It will make hosting so much more enjoyable and let's get real, who has space for a ton of ingredients anyways. Big city, small fridge!
My suggestion is to pick a couple of main dishes and sides and call it a day. BBQs are perfect for this because you can grill up a few things, make a salad, grab a few bags of chips and some cut up fruit and BAM you're all set! If you want to dazzle your friends with your cooking skills great, but as long as you have enough of the food you select, no one will complain! The more you can prep the night or day before the better too. Simple and stress-free for the day of is the goal!
Make Sure the Drinks are On Point
Now onto another important factor of your party... the drinks! Oh yes! I was introduced to Our/Vodka a few years back and they just launched a brand new product called Our/Infusions that are perfect for summer entertaining. They are DIY vodka infusion kits and I'm not going to lie I had SO much fun trying these out. There are 4 different varieties Our/Juniper, Our/Oak, Our/Citrus, and Our/Tea and each bottle comes with a bag of botanicals, a filter, and sticker to mark when it was infused.
The process is super simple (you can watch the full rundown here). You put the botanicals in the filter, just like you were making tea. Then you roll them up and put them in the bottle. They can take between 8 mins and 15 hours to infuse (depending on the flavor) so I'd suggest doing them the night ahead of your party.
The cocktails that accompany the selections are SO tasty too and come right on the tag. I've been really big on Moscow Mules this year because 1.) They are so refreshing and delicious and 2.) They are really easy to make (back to that simple factor). If you're a fan like me, this recipe is perfect for your get together:
Our/Oak Infused Mint Mule
2 parts Oak Infused Our/Vodka
1/4 part lime
5 mint leaves
Top with ginger beer (My fav is Gosling's)
Another go-to for me are vodka lemonades, which the kits also taste great with. I really like that option too because people who don't drink or kids can enjoy the lemonade separate and then those looking for a boozy treat can add vodka. All about those easy, breezy and totally delicious options.
Well, now that your space is ready, you've created a simple menu and your drinks are on point, you're all set to partayyyy! Do you have more tips to add? Share your best advice in the comments below.
**Disclaimer: Our/Vodka provided me with complimentary Our/Infusion kits in exchange for a review for their products. This post and all opinions stated are based on my own ideas and honest experience with the product and has not been influenced based upon the sponsorship.