We love summer for its long, golden afternoons and the “magic hour” at dusk. Here in the South, that means busting out the seersucker, spotting for fireflies, and, of course, cocktails on the veranda. An outdoor cocktail hour is a great way to accommodate a lot of people without the fuss of a formal dinner. We’re crushing on these chic invitations to set the tone of the gathering.
The easiest way to entertain outdoors is with a properly stocked and styled bar cart. This will prevent you from having to run inside and out to keep glasses full and guests happy. More than just a practical consideration, a chic bar cart–and its contents–can help set the mood. So, in keeping with the citrusy, light invitations, we’ve got a few ideas.
- Pineapples have long been a symbol of hospitality in the South. What’s more chic and Southern than these adorable monogrammed cocktail napkins?
- Guests will need something to sip their cocktails out of, naturally, so keep it playful but not kitschy with these soigné brass pineapple tumblers. You could also bust out your copper Moscow Mule mugs or vintage champagne coupes for added variety.
- Pre-cut lemons and limes so you or your guests can mix up a drink with minimal fuss. Get creative with your vessels. We love this porcelain monkey for a playful touch.
- Make sure to include a fresh element, whether it’s summer roses or simply palm fronds clipped from the yard. Have a marble wine chiller you aren’t using? Repurpose it to hold pretty pink roses. Bright green palm fronds pop gorgeously from small blue and white ginger jars.
- Naturally, you’ll need to remember the booze. We recommend keeping a good vodka, gin, and bourbon on hand. If you want to expand, white tequila is gorgeous to mix with in the summer. (We love these pretty pink palomas.) Provide white wine and rosé for those guests who don’t want a mixed drink or cocktail.
- Keep mixers and other beverages cool in a chic metal tub on the bottom level of your cart. Beyond the usual tonic and seltzer, provide grapefruit juice (for those palomas!), Champagne, and–secret weapon alert–watermelon juice. Simply pop watermelon slices in a blender and then strain into a pretty glass bottle. Guests will love the summer mixer, which goes well with gin or vodka.
- If your bar cart gets overcrowded, a cheeky garden stool is a fun way to add more storage. Perhaps top it with a cake stand, mounded with savory snacks–we love tea sandwiches for something like this, but there’s nothing more Southern than the ever popular ham biscuit.
Once you’ve got your bar cart ready, stocked, and styled, finish off your outside space with more flowers or palms. Light a few citronella candles, bust out all of the Sunbrella cushions you have, and get ready to relax with friends and enjoy the golden hour.