At least five months out of the year, we pine for the warm summer days when bbq, boating, and gardening fill our weekends. But when we're in the height of summer, as we are right now, the heat tends to hold us hostage and we retreat indoors.
Summers are the time we should be enjoying our outdoor spaces the most. So as a way to work around the dog days, I utilize my outdoor spaces in the evenings when the setting sun sends a cool breeze. And a fun way to do take advantage of this time of day is with a summer sweets party.
Evenings are the perfect time to invite guests for a simple gathering where desserts and cocktails take center stage. This is how we recently did it:
A simple setup in the garden.
Having a get-together can be as easy or as complex as you make it. For this sweets party, we kept it casual by throwing together a few desserts along with a light refreshing cocktail. Nothing fussy. A folding table draped with drop cloth and burlap, scattered blooms from the garden, and hanging votives are all we used to set the stage.
If impromptu is the name of the game, use what you've got on hand to decorate. For utensil holders, we pulled out clear plastic cups and lined them with parchment paper. And for stability, we added popcorn kernels to the bottom of the cups.
I typically prefer cakes made from scratch. But if you want something fun in a pinch, these mini naked cakes are quick + easy made with a boxed recipe and cut into individual portions with a biscut cutter. Slice them in halves or thirds and fill them with your favorite icing.
And for a rustic sweet that takes advantage of the fleeting summer berries, make these Berry-Filled Dutch Babies. Similar to a popover, they take only a few ingredients and are a minimum of effort.
Mojitos are a perfect summer cocktail. The tart of the lime, the cool of the mint, and the sweet of the syrup go well with desserts. Just be sure to reserve ice for the glass and not the pitcher, lest you serve a watery cocktail to your guests!
While the kids were preparing to catch fireflies in mason jars, we set the stage by hanging tea lights in trees. As the sun sets, the glow mimics these natual wonders.
Firefly catching isn't just for kids, by the way. Just be kind and remember to release them once the fun is over.
Add a lawn game or two and the evening is set.
The lazy days of summer keep the name of this game low-key and relaxing. If you're itching to enjoy your outdoor spaces but the heat is holding you back, consider the summer evenings your ideal time to play.