DIY summer drinks and desserts for your next party

Summer break is about just that — taking a break to enjoy the warmer weather, the time off, and to spend time with friends and family.

Summertime is the perfect opportunity to throw a beach themed party. (Credit: Birthday Direct)

Summertime is the perfect opportunity to throw a beach themed party. (Credit: Birthday Direct)

If you’re having company, whether at a beach party, a backyard BBQ or just an on campus shindig, check out these DIY summer drinks and desserts that will please everyone!

Decide on a party theme

A theme isn’t an absolute must when you’re having company over for drinks and desserts, but it will make your party more fun to plan! You can even go with decorations and craft supplies you have on hand. If you hosted a Christmas party at the dorm last year, why not go with a Christmas in July-themed party? String Christmas lights on your patio or in your living room, serve drinks with dry ice to make them fog up, and encourage friends to make their own version of the ugly sweater using a tank top! (If you are spending the summer on campus, make sure the Christmas lights are up to dorm code.)

If you’d prefer not to think colder thoughts just yet, stick with a luau or beach theme and make palm tree decorations using brown craft paper, serve drinks with umbrellas, and blast beach music (think: the Beach Boys!) on Pandora using your computer speakers!

Having trouble thinking of a good party theme? Check out Babble’s 25 Summer Party Themes” post by contributor Jacinda Boneau.  Some of her picks include:

  • Ice cream social
  • Outdoor movie night
  • Backyard camping party 

The drinks

There are several summer drinks recipes that are sure to make your mouth water floating around the Internet! Whether you’re looking for healthy, sugary, or flavored with a bit of bite, tailor your drinks to your crowd and you’ll be sure to please! Decided to go with a movie theme? How about making drinks that use soda (pop if you’re from the Midwest)? Root Beer Floats are always a hit (root beer and vanilla ice cream), but if you want to switch it up, make a Boston Cooler by putting vanilla ice cream in a tall glass of Vernors ginger ale (other ginger ale will do, too, but Vernors is the best).

If you have a popsicle mold, try this frozen version of the float, posted by Country Living contributor Jessica Leigh Hester on “Drink Up! A Soda-Inspired Ice Pop You’ll Make All Summer Long.” Here’s her recipe:

  • Fill a pitcher with chilled root beer and cool further in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  • Fill molds with root beer, a spoonful of vanilla ice-cream, additional root beer, and another scoop of ice cream.
  • Spoon excess foam from the top of the mixture.
  • Insert sticks; freeze overnight.
  • To remove popsicles, run the mold under warm water for up to 15 seconds.

If you’re in the mood for something lighter to go with a lemonade-stand theme, try this simple four ingredient Basil Lemonade from Real Simple:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1.5 cups cold water
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves (plus some extra for garnishing)
  • 8 cups lemonade 

For another twist on the classic lemonade try one of these, also from Real Simple:

  • Ginger Zinger
  • Tropical Lemonade
  • Farmers’ Lemonade
  • Lemon-Mint Cooler 

If you’re a Pinterest fan, log in and search “summer drinks” and you’ll come across many more sweet ideas!

On to the sweets!

Now that you’ve got a few ideas for drinks, plan some mini sweets for your guests to enjoy.  Mini desserts are super simple and allow for each guest to have a few tastes of different treats!  Here are some of my favorites for the summer:

  • Mini S’mores [http://simplykierste.com/2012/05/mini-smores.html]: As simple as it sounds: mini marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, and small graham crackers. Instead of roasting on the fire, you bake these guys for less than one minute!
  • Kupcake Konz Ice Cream Cones [http://www.lovefromtheoven.com/2011/11/10/kupcake-konz-ice-cream-cone-cupcakes-giveaway/]: Grab some mini ice cream cones and bake cupcakes right in them. Top with ice cream and sprinkles for a delicious treat!
  • Mini Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches [http://www.marthastewart.com/334269/mini-chocolate-chip-ice-cream-sandwiches]: These take a bit longer to prepare but they’re sure worth the work!

Not too handy in the kitchen? That’s OK! Hit up your local bulk food store and pick out your favorite sweet treats to share with your friends. You can use any small dishes and tins you have around your place to display candies in.

What are your favorite summer drinks and treats for a party? Post them below to share!

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