I have mixed emotions about the end of summer. While I’m going to miss the warm nights and long days with family and friends, I do look forward to the Labor Day holiday as a time to transition into that fall state of mind.
Although I’m not quite ready to turn in my summer sandals for tall black boots, I am ready to embrace the last weeks of summer the right way by launching into the Labor Day holiday and throwing an end of summer cocktail party!
With delicious food, refreshing drinks, and good company, everyone loves a great party. But how do you make sure your end of summer cocktail party is truly great? I think throwing a picnic-style party extends the casual feeling of summer for all your guests. From there you’ll need a fantastic cocktail, some entertainment to keep your guests mingling and amused, and one final surprise to send them all home smiling. Read on to see how to easy it can be!
Get your backyard ready
One of the most important aspects of planning a party is creating the right atmosphere and mood. I believe in creating a memorable experience for your party guests by taking the “less is more” approach.
The casual dining experience created by a picnic-themed party enables you and your guests to stay relaxed and happy. Picnics mean blankets on the grass, hanging with family, and potluck food. Everyone loves to help, so engage your guests by having them bring their favorite food to share.
Cocktails for the crowd
This is where you can have a little fun pumping up the patriotic theme for the Labor Day holiday. Everyone loves a good cocktail, and what a better way to get things started then by offering them three delicious drinks to choose from?
Pre-mix each cocktail and place them in Mason jars (you can use the 8-ounce size) so have time to enjoy mingling with your guests. With a simple, hand-drawn sign, a stack of lime wedges, and a bucket of ice you’re ready to celebrate in red, white, and blue style! Your guests simply grab a jar with their libation of choice, remove the cap, and add some ice and a lime wedge. Voila, cocktails are served!
Recipes below and ingredients listed are per cocktail.
- 2 ounces citrus vodka (regular vodka works fine, too)
- 1 ounce Cointreau or Grand Marnier
- 1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1 1/2 ounces cranberry juice
White Gin & Tonic
- 2 ounces quality gin
- 5 ounces tonic (I love Schweppes or Fever Tree)
- Juice from one wedge of fresh lime
- 3 ounces silver tequila
- 1 ounce blue Curaçao
- 1 1/2 ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 ounce Cointreau or Grand Marnier
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
Let’s play some lawn games!
What’s a picnic without games and fun? Whether you’ve planned a relaxing party on the lawn or a day packed with excitement and fun, these games are perfect entertainment for everyone.
For starters, how about a little water balloon toss? Create teams to get the laughter ringing through the air, or grab a few hula hoops and have a contest for who can “hula” the longest! If you’re feeling adventurous, here are two more ideas to raise the fun meter.
Source: Ratnam Residence
Everyone loves to play Twister®, so why not create a life-size board? This how-to guide will have your guests twisted into human pretzels in no time.
Source: Lemon Thistle
The stakes are even higher in this giant version of Jenga®! It’s easy to make your own blocks with 2x4s, and the link also includes easy instructions for four more fun and classic backyard games.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
Source: Simmworks Family Blog
One great way to finish off your end of summer cocktail party is to set up a Root Beer Float Bar where partygoers can put together their own delicious dessert. Your guests — especially the kids or the kids at heart — will love it!
All you’ll need is some vanilla ice cream, frothy root beer, whipped cream, and a bowl of cherries and you’re off to the races. Add a few bottles of orange soda for a little variety and watch the smiles spread throughout the party.
As the carefree days and warm nights of summer come to a close, let everyone enter into fall with wonderful memories of an afternoon spent with friends enjoying the warmer weather and a few special treats!
Find more cocktail inspiration and recipes right here!