We’re gearing up for the kickoff of summer — and that includes preparing great dishes, even better cocktails, and an ambiance that is bright and inviting. Ted Allen, food TV personality and host of Food Network’s Chopped, is sharing his tips for hosting a fantastic summer bash.
Here are a few great tips for achieving entertaining success this season:
On Mixing Up a Perfect Cocktail:
"Iced tea is a classic refreshing beverage of summer. These Pure Leaf Iced Tea recipes use the new line of Not Too Sweet flavors and my personal favorite is the Asian Spicy Cucumber Honey Green Tea. It's a unique flavor pairing of sliced cucumber, limes, ground red pepper, and 1 bottle of Pure Leaf Not Too Sweet. Mix it up for a delicious mocktail (or for the adults, add vodka)."
Here are a few great cocktail & mocktail recipes:
On Summertime Refreshments:
"The clean, crisp refreshment of these cocktails are the perfect pairing for lightly seasoned, light fare like salads, shrimp, and other delicate foods — they complement them without overwhelming them."
On Summertime Entertaining:
"When you’re barbecuing, make it easier on yourself by prepping ahead with side dishes that don’t need to be heated: Bean salads, pasta salads, or even a panzanella bread salad are easy to make ahead, and that frees you up to be the grill master."
"The delicate, refreshing flavor of tea pairs beautifully with almost any food. Think of its abilities to clean your palate of rich, sweet flavors, and to complement more delicate ones. Offer a range of teas — sweet, unsweetened, not-too-sweet, peach — to give your guests choices, then serve with interesting garnishes (cherries, kiwi, blood orange, Meyer lemon, and a selection of herbs)."
"Nobody wants to hear themselves chewing at a dinner party, so don’t let 'dead air' happen at yours! For a fun ambience, the music must never stop. Develop a playlist of elegant background music — no surprises like heavy metal or John Philip Sousa. My go-to is Chet Baker."