Spring and Summer Party Tips

It’s that time of year when we throw open the windows and our social calendars start filling up again.  Only this time, party season isn’t about glitter and gifts the way it is in December, but about enjoying the outdoors, and maybe a little vacation time.  Weddings, graduations, barbecues, picnics, pool parties, and just hanging out on the front porch with friends are what Spring and Summer are all about.  But just because events are more casual doesn’t  mean that you don’t want to go down in neighborhood history as being the best host on the block.  We have a few tips and tricks to help you get there.

white wine margarita

How much?  For large events like weddings, one of the biggest concerns hosts have is quantity.  Nothing feels worse than running out, but you don’t want to end up with a basement full of leftovers, either (not that this is usually a problem for us…).  Here is a handy formula for calculating how much you’ll need:

Number of adult guests  x  .75  x  (Number of hours + 1) = Drinks to pour
Drinks to pour ÷ 7 = Bottles of wine or beer needed

So, for 50 people at a four-hour cocktail party you’d need about 26 bottles, but might want to buy 36 to have some extra (and reduce worry that you’ll run out!)

Increase the number of bottles if:

You use bigger wine glasses
Waiters do pouring
You are serving cocktail wines followed by dinner wines for a seated meal
You’re really sure this is a crowd of serious drinkers!

Other potables.  When it comes to spirits, you usually end up needing way, way less than you think.  Our anecdotal experience is that people are drinking less hard alcohol and more wine and beer, and this is especially true in the summer, when a high-octane martini or Manhattan can just seem like too much.  A great option for serving an alternative to plain wine or beer is a signature cocktail that you can make ahead of time like punch or sangria.  These are great because if you’re hosting, you won’t be playing bartender all night, and if you’re hiring a catering staff, it can cut down on the amount of liquor they use and save you money.

Which Wines?  When choosing wine for spring and summer parties, the most important thing to remember is to keep it simple.  Especially for big events, fewer choices are better.  Think crisp, fruity and refreshing.  So, a nice Sauvignon Blanc or Gruner Veltliner rather than a full-bodied Chardonnay, or a fresh, unoaked red or Pinot Noir rather than a big, brooding Cabernet.  People also tend to drink more white than red in warmer weather, so that’s something to keep in mind when thinking about how much of each type of wine to buy.  And don’t dismiss rose!  It’s hands-down our favorite warm-weather wine.

outside rose

Other tips:

  • Printed menus are always a festive touch.
  • Be sure to have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages on hand – ‘spa water,’ a pitcher of water flavored with herbs or fresh fruit slices is refreshing and easy to put together.
  • Screwcaps make life easy!
  • Consider an alternative to traditional wine glasses like the plastic GoVino glasses we sell in our accessories department – they’re also perfect for Wolf Trap!

This is a great time to enjoy the sunshine with friends and family, whether it’s at a wedding or just on your back porch.  What are your favorite party tips?

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