Just because it’s winter, it doesn’t mean that you can’t entertain outdoors. Especially when it comes to entertaining at home in your garden. Even a snowy landscape can be made into a swanky venue for cocktails and nibbles, if done correctly.
Just a few simple touches and you can host a number of friends and family without fear of a chill, or too many grumbles.
Here’s a list of essentials for throwing a successful outdoor cocktail party, sure to keep you warm and happy.
Keeping it Cosy
First things first. You need to make your outdoor space as cosy and inviting as possible. Invest in some comfy outdoor furniture that lures people in, as well as lots of throws and blankets for keeping the coldness at bay. Debenhams have an excellent selection of blankets and throws to choose from – there’s sure to be a handful that fit your décor theme.
Outdoor heaters are also a must, so your guests can gather together for warmth as well as providing a nice focal point to your soiree. There’s everything from tall standing outdoor heaters, to fire pits and chimeneas, depending on the space you have and the look you’re going for. They also big different in price, but some very affordable options can be found – especially in winter when garden furniture is usually a far-distant thought.
We have a fire pit in ours but we'll definitely be looking at a standing outdoor heater.
Making your garden feel like part of the house is also a great way to set the scene of the party. This can be done with an open door into the garden, acting as an offshoot from the house – that extra room you never knew you had. Even better is bi-fold doors that really open the kitchen/diner into the garden, creating one huge party space.
The Warmth of Alcohol
Alcohol will also play a large part in keeping everyone nice and toasty on the night – of course, it wouldn’t be a cocktail party without it! Add in some swanky cocktail glasses, some classic (and classy) party tunes and a few twinkly, well-placed fairy lights and you’re good to go.
Try these great drinks options for a warming feeling inside and out:
Mulled Wine or Cider
A very trendy drink that pairs delicious flavours with warming spices that will have everyone clutching their glasses and mugs in appreciation of the warmth.
Perfect for the whisky lovers, this drink is perfect for curing a chill, a cold or to tickle the taste buds. This recipe from Jamie Oliver is sure to be a winner.
Boozy Hot Chocolate
A wonderful marriage of alcohol and hot chocolate cannot fail to impress! Whether it be Baileys, rum or liquors that you sneak in there, make sure you add some cream or marshmallows to increase the comfort levels.
You can always try a non-alcoholic mulled wine or cider, as well as a standard hot chocolate for those who are not drinking. No one should be left out of the celebrations…
As you might have picked up by now, heat is the theme of the cocktail party. Keeping your guests feeling warm, a drink in their hands and a smile on their faces is the objective – we need to prove that outdoor parties are the best!
The only factor missing is the food. A cocktail party lends itself nicely to serving nibbles. Not a full-blown feast of hearty dishes, just little bites here and there that add up to a belly full of tasty treats. The classics are crudités and dips, cocktail sausages, finger sandwiches, crisps and cupcakes but you can go wild with the options on offer.
How about bacon-wrapped potato bites? Or beet-pickled deviled eggs? Maybe even a lavish cheeseboard full of varying degrees of smelly fromage? There’s so many ways to go with the nibbles.
The Kitchn has a great recipe for fresh mozzarella toasts with spicy herb oil – delicious bites that will be gone off the plate very quickly.
You can also serve up a huge bowl of homemade chilli con carne (or a vegetarian option with Quorn mince) for everyone to grab some of. Your guests will all enjoy eating the same dish, and they get the benefit of holding a bowl that is hot and comforting. The Hairy Bikers have a yummy diet-friendly recipe to give a whirl.
For dessert, make the most of being outside and make some USA-inspired ‘Smores’ -
marshmallows, with a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two crackers. Which are particularly good if you have a fire pit to cook them on… Just be sure to have plenty of spares to hand, for those who keep burning theirs!
Have you got any suggestions for an outdoor cocktail party?
This is a collaborative post