[INSPIRATION] Patriotic Fourth of July Cocktails

Summer's favorite holiday is just around the corner! Can you believe it?! I sure can't!

I've been busy planning August and September events and June has just flown by. But just because I've been busy doesn't mean I can overlook one of America's most important holidays! 

I love the fourth of July because it's a great time to get together with family and friends and celebrate how lucky we all are to live in the United States. Say what you will about our political situation, but after traveling extensively all over the world, I'm always happy to come back home to the U.S. 

Since I recently did a post on patriotic party decor for Memorial Day, I thought I would focus on cocktails for this year's Fourth of July inspiration. 

While it's hard to limit yourself to serving patriotic food on the Fourth, a fun cocktail easily sets the tone for your gathering or backyard barbecue. They are simple to prepare and delicious to drink. Who doesn't like a cold beverage on a Summer holiday? Check out our patriotic cocktail suggestions below!

4th of July Patriotic Cocktails | LIG Events - Washington, DC Wedding and Event Planners

 

Red, White, and Blue Sangria

Photo via  Gimme Some Oven

Photo via Gimme Some Oven

Sangria is a great Summer drink, and this one is fizzy and patriotic -- perfect for the 4th of July! It's super easy to make and refreshing to drink, so make multiple batches of this libation since I'm sure it's going to be popular with your guests.


Berry Patriotic Cocktail

This cocktail, courtesy of Albert Trummer, displays Summer's fresh berries and is topped off with fizzy champagne. Sounds perfect to me!


Hawaiian Blackberry Mojitos

This cocktail by Caroline Potter combines yummy Summer blackberries and rum. With easy to procure ingredients, this drink can be made super patriotic with the addition of a blue and white striped paper straw. (My favorites can be found here.)


Honey Thyme Lemonade

Who doesn't love lemonade? This non-alcoholic recipe by Mandy Kellogg Rye is great for kids and adults alike (and if you're really craving some booze, add a splash of vodka to make it a great cocktail). 
My tip: to truly make it patriotic, add some raspberries as a garnish. 


Red, White and Blueberry Margaritas

Photo via  Gimme Some Oven

Photo via Gimme Some Oven

Margaritas and Summer go together like apple cider and Fall. I LOVE this patriotic version of a frozen margarita, especially since it doesn't use any artificial food coloring. I also love how the flavors in the three layers mix together well so the cocktail looks good and tastes good. This cocktail is just a winner and all around! 
 

What do you think of our cocktail suggestions? Will you be making any this 4th of July? Let us know in the comments!


[INSPIRATION] Summer Dinner Party Playlist Suggestions

No good gathering is complete without a soundtrack. So in our second-to-last Summer Dinner Party Inspiration post, we're tackling music.  (And if you haven't already, check out decormenu, and dessert inspo here.)

Music for your party doesn't have to be complicated or fancy -- a simple iPod playlist will do. And with devices like Sonos and Amazon's Echo, there are plenty of ways for you to seamlessly integrate music into your dinner party setting (whether you're celebrating inside or outside). 

For a Summer dinner party I'd suggest great background music that will not be too disruptive or interrupt conversation. Music that is interesting and a little out of the ordinary could be nice since it could be a talking point if you're ever in need of a conversation starter. If you're having more of a themed dinner (say, a Hawaiian dinner party), go with theme-appropriate music.

Summer Dinner Party Playlist Suggestions | LIG Events - Washington, DC Wedding and Event Planners

Below are my suggestions for a good non-themed dinner party playlist:

-any of the Café del Mar albums -- Café del Mar music reminds me of what you hear at beautiful hotels and restaurants across Europe. Channel that energy into you dinner party and you're set. 

-bossa nova -- I think bossa nova is a perfect fit for a Summer dinner party. It's relaxed and beautiful music that will complement a laid-back dinner party perfectly. 

-a compilation of John Legend & Norah Jones songs -- Both soulful singers, a playlist featuring these two artists (plus a few others of similar quality) would be beautiful.

-anything by Vitamin String Quartet -- This group plays instrumental versions of famous songs as well as current pop hits. It's fabulous background music and sometimes guests like to play "name that tune" and guess which song is playing. 

Those are just a few of my musical choices for a fun Summer dinner party. What are your favorite picks? Let us know in the comments! 

 


[INSPIRATION] Summer Dinner Party Desserts

This week we're continuing our series on Summer dinner party inspiration. Summer is officially here and we can't wait to celebrate! 

I love hosting dinner parties and having friends and family over for no special occasion and Summer is always a good time to host a gathering. Everyone is always in such a good mood when the weather is warm and entertaining can be laid-back and easy.

Developing a delicious Summer menu for my gatherings is usually easy...until I arrive at the last course -- dessert! Summer desserts are difficult for me. I usually don't want to turn on the oven and slave over it for hours like I might in the colder Winter months. But I still want something satisfying and sugary to offer my guests. (I also don't usually buy pre-made desserts, so opting for a store-bought solution is not often in the cards.)

Summer Dinner Party Inspiration | LIG Events - Wedding and Event Planners in Washington, DC

So, here are my choices for satisfying Summer desserts. Ye, some of them require the use of an oven, but I promise they're not intensive or painstaking recipes!

 

Blueberry Tart

I love eating berries during the Summer. And while I usually don't love fruit in desserts, there's something about fruit in Summer desserts that is both refreshing and satisfying. 

The recipe for this tart is simple, and the finished product is beautifully rustic and delicious. A winning combination for a Summer dinner party!

Photo by Con Poulos for  Real Simple

Photo by Con Poulos for Real Simple

Chocolate Mousse Pie

If you're in the mood for chocolate (and let's be real, who isn't?), then this no-bake mousse pie is a great option. It's one of my husband's favorite desserts so it does make appearances on our table from time to time. 

While I usually shy away from chocolate-heavy desserts during the Summer, if I'm having a large crowd or guests who I know really love chocolate, I will definitely make one of these pies.
(Side note: this is a PRIME example of why home-made is better than store-made. You really taste the difference in this pie!)

Photo via  Fine Cooking

Photo via Fine Cooking

Rhubarb Crisp

Thanks to my CSA box (Spiral Path Farm for the win!), I discovered the wonders of rhubarb this year. I feel as if rhubarb is that vegetable that people pretend to know something about but no one is really sure exactly what it is. In fact, after making this crisp a couple of weeks ago, I'm still not exactly sure what else this red celery looking plant would be good for, but at least we can say it makes a delicious dessert!

My rhubarb crisp turned out delicious (I used the recipe linked below). The tart and sweet flavors really brightened our palates and provided a wonderful ending to our grilled summer meal. I suggest you try it sometime. You might just be surprised by the power of rhubarb.
(One side note: I recommend cutting your rhubarb pieces smaller than Martha suggests so that they blend in with the other ingredients better.)

Photo via  Martha Stewart

Photo via Martha Stewart

Sheet Pan S'mores

One could argue that every Summer gathering must include s'mores. And I probably would not disagree with that statement. 

I love this take on the classic gooey campfire dessert. It's Italian meringue topping kicks things up a notch and its bar-like construction makes this version less messy and (dare I say it) easily consumed with the help of a fork. Perfect for a dinner party if you ask me!

Photo by Iain Bagwell via  Cooking Light

Photo by Iain Bagwell via Cooking Light

 

What do you think of these desserts? Are you already craving all of them like I am? Let me know in the comments!