Food & Drink

Soak Up The Summer Vibes With These 5 Weekend Entertaining Ideas

By Saskia Tillers
5th Feb 2021

Ready for some time off? Wish you could do the Christmas holidays over again? Feeling thirsty? Yeah, us too. With the long weekend just around the corner, we’re celebrating the fact that the number of people allowed at a gathering has finally increased to a decent amount by suggesting a few epic entertaining options to really make the most of that extra day away from your desk.

To guarantee getting the party started, we’ve teamed up with Liquorland to ensure you're the hostess with the mostest. From luxe cocktail affairs to cruisey backyard get-togethers, whatever your vibe is, we have you covered. So, round up your mates, chuck your OOO on, head to Liquorland and cheers to this gorgeous summer of ours. 

A Classy Poolside Party

Pretend you’re living the luxury life at the Côte D’Azur by throwing a lavish pool party. And if you don’t have access to your own private body of water, never fear, a super cute Minnidip Squeeze The Day Inflatable Pool will suffice to dip your toes into.

Decking out your backyard with the right décor will make or break this event, so listen up. There’s nothing nicer than a long table to feast at in the sunshine, but you also don’t want to end up looking redder than the lobster you’re eating come the end of the day. So for that exact reason, make sure to invest in an umbrella or two—Sunday Supply Co. is the indisputable industry leader, with stylish and sturdy brolly’s that will effortlessly take you from backyard shindig to beach day. New kid on the block Thekla’s vintage-inspired tablecloths and napkins are sustainably sourced and handmade in Sydney, with a stunning array of sorbet-coloured stripes and checks that inject an instant summer atmosphere to any setting.

Forget heavy meals and instead serve simple share plates and light salads (like Donna Hay’s almond-milk poached chicken salad) that can be made ahead of time, so you can properly enjoy the company of your guests, stress-free. Everything should be served of course, on dishes that ooze elegance. In The Round House have a beautifully curated collection of striking designs, including some with Italian phrases like “Buon Appetito” or “Allora” and others with artsy pictures, such as the pink and blue Sardines, by artist Daimon Downey. A showstopping (but deceptively simple) pomegranate ice cream by dessert Queen Nigella Lawson is the main event, served alongside sweet and summery Volsk Vodka Premixes in either Lemon Lime or Wild Berry flavours—delish!

A Casual Campground Cook-Up

If you’d rather get out of town for the long weekend, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a killer party from right inside the camping ground. Gather a few buddies, unroll the swag and hit the road. It’s no fun carting around excess junk when you’re cramming everything into your not-so-spacious car boot, so we’ve streamlined the process to only include the necessities. A mini portable speaker is a must, and we love this UE Wonderboom Portable Bluetooth Speaker—it’s durable and waterproof, so you don’t have to be too precious about looking after it. A playlist featuring plenty of John Denver, Tom Petty and Neil Young will do just the trick, so look no further than Spotify’s Campfire Classics for all the gravely-voiced dudes singing about wide open roads in one place.

Save yourself the hassle of bringing lots of fiddly drinks, and instead go with something that comes premixed, so that you can start sippin’ sooner. Our fave is Easyrider’s Kentucky Bourbon and Cola, which is silky smooth and warms you right from the inside out. Pair it with a low-key menu that makes use of your campfire, like this nifty Kings Portable Steel Fire Pit which is particularly easy to transport and set up. Throw some sweet potatoes straight on the coals for next-level smoky baked taters with a dollop of Greek yoghurt or sour cream on top, and get creative with the fillings you cram into jaffles (like Darren Purchese’s spiced lamb jaffle. YUM.) cooked to perfection with this iron. Finish off with a revamped kids fave—these easy-to-assemble s’mores are sticky, chocolatey heaven, so don’t be surprised if you accidentally polish off ten in one sitting (whoops). 

A Picturesque Picnic

Keen to get out of the house and take advantage of that glorious sunshine? Then pack a hamper, stock up on the snacks, and grab your tartan blanket to wile the day away with some friends. The best thing about a casual picnic is that you don’t have to fuss about the details too much. Most guests will be stoked to simply be in a nice spot, maybe with a view or parked under a shady tree. Feeling overwhelmed by the options? Check out our list of the best picnic spots here. A good (ideally waterproof) rug is a must, and Kollab have a smorgasbord of cool designs to choose from, as well as a selection of durable cooler bags to keep things crispy. There’s little need to splash much cash on décor too unless you feel like cutesy-ing things up by colour-coordinating tableware. Go full Little House on the Prairie with some matching cherry red gingham paper plates, napkins and cups (no plastic, please!), which you can find at Oh, It’s Perfect. A few comfy pillows are always well received and Billy Fresh has some bright and boisterous options, or if you want to commit to a versatile picnic/beach chair, the ones at Business and Pleasure Co are equal parts chic and practical.

Food should consist of a strong selection of nibbles, and ideally won’t be things that will get too icky in the heat – a baguette, cheeses, quince paste, olives, chippies, and a frittata wouldn’t go astray either. You’ll want to sip on something fresh and fruity, so make sure to have plenty of Mr. Finch ciders in the esky – Sparkling Rosé or classic Apple Cider is the perfect pairing on a hot summer’s day. Impress your mates with a classic Aussie dessert made from scratch—Donna Hay’s lamingtons are easy to master and even tastier than the ones you remember from your childhood bakery. 

A Luxe Old-School Cocktail Party

2020 gave us far fewer opportunities to dress up and get fancy what with all the cancelled weddings and events, so if you’re feeling like you could use an excuse to don your finery, then why not host a boujee evening, complete with cocktails and canapés? First things first, your drinks list has to be exceptional. Emulate Carrie and the Sex And The City gang by starting off with classic Cosmopolitans, before surprising your guests with a decadent vodka, prosecco and elderflower cocktail, complete with edible rose petals on top. For both, you’ll need to load up on some high-quality vodka, and it doesn’t get much better than Pure Origin, distilled in Tasmania using pristine spring water from the slopes of Mount Wellington. Jamie Oliver will help you out with snacks—his smoked salmon blinis are like pillowy little clouds of delicious-ness, and the prawn cocktails are straight out of Mad Men (just BYO Jon Hamm).

Select a playlist that screams sophistication, at the same time as providing some tunes you know the words to. Never mind the name but Hipster Cocktail Party actually has an ideal mix of Frank Sinatra, Amy Winehouse, Nina Simone and Van Morrison, just to name a few. For a setting that will make you the envy of all your friends, look no further than Maison Balzac for statement coloured tableware, including these millennial pink glasses, bold, sculptural candles (low lighting is an absolute necessity at a cocktail party) and gorgeous water jugs

The Classic Backyard Barbie

There’s a reason why the good ol’ faithful barbeque is as revered as it is. For starters, it capitalises on the glorious summer weather, and is exactly the type of laid-back event that Aussies thrive on. Secondly, the food is straightforward and tasty with 90% of the meal usually cooked smack bang on the BBQ. But while it’s easy to get stuck in the standard snags and steaks trap, why not go out on a limb and try some new recipes to revamp the tired tropes. We're talking prawns with buttermilk celery dressing, Southern-style spiced chicken with charred corn and barbequed whole fish with lemongrass and turmeric, plus plenty of ice-cold, thirst-quenching Tinnies easygoing craft beer on hand is a no-brainer, for yourself, the cook, as much as for your guests.

To safeguard your precious crockery from the more heavy-handed guests, check out Country Road’s new outdoor range, with fun and functional tumblers, jugs and platters made out of sturdy acrylic and melamine in Tuscan terrazzo-look designs and colourways, so that you needn’t worry about potential breakage. Set the relaxed mood with Spotify’s BBQ 2020 – Summer Vibes playlist, featuring feel-good tunes from Harry Styles, Empire of The Sun, and Bob Marley—however, we also believe it’s good to have a second playlist up your sleeve, because there’s a high chance that once night falls, you’ll crank things up a notch. For some solid bangers that’ll keep everyone dancing, hit play on Party Through The Decades, which is chock-a-block with songs from the 80s to now, with everything from Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up to Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars. 

Feeling inspired? Put your party-planning hat on, and make sure that a trip to Liquorland to grab the essentials is top of your to-do list. 

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Liquorland and proudly endorsed by Urban List. To find out more about who we work with and why read our editorial policy here.

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