During the warmer months, it is important to keep your guests refreshed with plenty of quenching drinks, whatever their ages. We offer a few tips for sprucing up your summer party drinks. Just don’t forget the ice…
1. Glorious garnishes
Adorn guests’ cups with fun sparklers, straws and umbrellas, giving them a carnival feel. As well as these, edible decorations and garnishes, such as small skewers of fruit; apple, orange, pineapple and grapes, give them something good on the side. Try dipping glass rims into coloured fruit purees and sugar for a frosted look (you can try dipping them in drinking chocolate powder for milkshakes). Slice lots of citrus fruit to sprinkle into punch bowls and add cucumber strands and mint sprigs to serving jugs of plain tap water, which will add subtle flavour as well as colour.
2. Stay ice-cool
Stocking up your freezer drawer with filled ice trays will ensure you keep your drinks cold – it is all too easy to forget. If you are hosting a large crowd and you don’t have room for everything in your fridge, buy a cooler bucket or use a plastic bin filled with ice and cold water to ensure that the supply doesn’t dry up. You can buy fun reusable ice cubes which light up, as well as colourful plastic ones which won’t dilute your drinks and cocktails. Freeze mint leaves into your ice trays for pretty additions to cordials and Pimm’s.
3. Summer serving
If you are outside, it is worth investing in a few colourful plastic jugs for punches and squashes which hold a lot of liquid and save trips back and forth for refills. Plastic containers with taps work well for serving favourites such as homemade lemonade for a crowd, as even the smallest can help themselves. If you are theming the party, such as Alice in Wonderland, you could serve the kids their drinks from teapots to add to the fun. Another idea is to use a hollowed-out watermelon as a punchbowl if it is a tropical party theme.
4. Think outside the jug
Use your favourite drinks flavours in other ways. For example, many drinks and juices make fantastic jellies, from sparkling wine and fruit, fizzy Pimm’s and lemonade, to elderflower cordial and orange juice. You can add spirits, such as Campari, to flavour grown-up sorbets and granitas, and drizzle fruit or coffee liqueurs over vanilla ice-cream for an after-dinner treat. For kids, freezing a tropical fruit juice or punch and letting it thaw slightly for an hour or two before drinking will make a great slushy treat on a hot day. Otherwise, pour fruit juice into individual lolly moulds.
5. T’s & C’s
Tea and coffee aren’t just warmers for cold grey days – iced, they make wonderfully refreshing summer drinks too. To make iced tea, steep teabags and sugar in boiling water for 7-10 minutes, remove the teabags and allow to cool. Then add mint and fruit garnishes, and fruit juices such as orange and lemon if you like a milder taste. Serve over ice. Spruce up an iced coffee with a scoop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream.