Outdoor Cocktail Party Menu

With warmer temperatures and longer days here, many are eager to host their first outdoor or rooftop cocktail party. Having turned our backs to the chill of winter and rich, heavy foods, look to lighter, flavorful appetizers like crab salad-topped blinis or grilled vegetable bruschetta when planning what to serve. Both are easily portable, can be made in advance, and are perfect served at room temperature. 

We've put together a menu of some of our favorite warm-weather party appetizers, along with a couple of cocktails with fresh flavors. Hosting friends on the rooftop of your apartment? Simple dips like guacamole and hummus are easy to transport (along with a couple of bags of chips). If you're relaxing in the grassy backyard, opt for more elaborate one-bite snacks like blue corn blinis or chicken satay. In the event you need to refresh the tray, the kitchen is not too far away.


Fresh Guacamole

No party is complete without a bowl of this cocktail party favorite.    


Lemon-Mint Hummus

This hummus is infused with spring flavors, thanks to the addition of tangy lemon and fresh mint. Serve with fresh pita wedges or crispy pita chips.

Eggplant and Charred Pepper Bruschetta

Fire up the grill for this vegetable-topped appetizer. Instead of toasting the bread in the oven, try grilling it until crisp. 

Baguette Slices with Brie and Pear

Upgrade your bread and cheese plate with this easy favorite of celebrity chef Lulu Powers. A drizzle of honey to finish is a must!

Stuffed Figs with Goat Cheese

This appetizer is best when fresh figs are in season. Can't find figs? Try stuffing pitted dates instead.


Prosciutto Rolls

A delicious and versatile appetizer that is also gluten-free.

Blue Corn Blinis with Crab and Avocado Crema

Tender blinis made with blue cornmeal are topped with a crab salad in this decadent appetizer that always disappears much too fast. 

Asian Crab Roll

A low-calorie alternative to fried spring rolls from the chef at Miraval Resort & Spa in Tucson, Ariz.

Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Whether it's served hot or at room temperature, this appetizer on a stick is perfect for cocktail parties as it keeps your fingers clean.


My Oh My Ty Cocktail

Absinthe and rum are wonderful complements to the almond and orange flavors of this classic tiki cooler.


Tea Rose Martini

Earl Grey tea and aromatic rosewater are combined in this delightful cocktail that is perfect for springtime sipping. 


Spicy Basil Cocktail

Sweet elderflower and ginger liqueurs temper a splash of fiery Sriracha in this Champagne cocktail.

Liquid Sunshine Cocktail

This cocktail is the perfect remedy for a long winter, especially when sipped on a sunny rooftop or backyard. 

Do you have a favorite springtime appetizer? Share your ideas with us below!


This article was originally published on February 30, 2011.