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Hosting parties always leads to fun memories made. I can’t wait to kick off summer with a couple of patriotic parties for Memorial Day and Independence Day/Fourth of July!
I love setting up a bar for our guests so they know where everything is and feel like they can help themselves to drinks and food. A themed bar is THAT much better. For this red, white and blue DIY bar I set out homemade simple syrups, fruit, herbs, fancy ice and club soda.
I also made the bar the theme of the party by making it a little competition to see who could come up with the best drink recipe using the ingredients set out. Guests wrote down their recipe (printable at the end of the post) and left the card out for others to create. Later on in the evening everyone can decide who gets the title of “Master Mixologist” for the day.
To set up your own DIY cocktail bar, start with the basics. I love having a bold backdrop and these balloon letters taped to the wall were perfect. Figure out what surface will hold your bar. I like to use a desk because extras can be stored in the drawer for easy access! Then, set out your serve ware to see how it will all fit.
I found this bottle of SVEDKA Stars and Stripes Vodka party edition and knew it would be PERFECT as the centerpiece for summer cocktail bars. I set up the bar inside so the mix-ins wouldn’t get too warm outside while we grill.
The next step is to set out all the different ingredients to make some amazing SVEDKA cocktails. I made 4 different types of simple syrup and then set out berries, watermelon, lemons, limes, mint, basil and had a couple bowls of “fancy” ice in the freezer. For “fancy” ice you just place fruit or herbs inside of the ice cube tray, cover with water and freeze. I like to leave the ice in the freezer because it doesn’t last long here in the desert!
Simple syrups are super, well, simple to make. Just mix 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and 1 cup fruit in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until desired consistency. Once cool, strain the syrups and store in the refrigerator. For plain simply syrup, just omit the fruit.
For this party I thought I’d mix it up a bit with a jalapeño simple syrup. We love to include jalapeños and salsa as toppings for our burger bar so why not for the cocktail bar as well?! To make jalapeño simple syrup, you mix 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and 1 jalapeño (chopped and seeded) in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium-high then reduct heat and simmer for 15 minutes. So easy! Add more jalapeño for more intense flavor.
Label all the simple syrups so you don’t forget which one is which. I used THESE labels.
With all the ingredients on the table, you just need to set out your recipe cards and make sure everyone has a glass! I kept the rest of the decorations to a minimum because our friends and family are colorful enough! Plus, by keeping your decor clean, you can always use any white or clear products you have on hand. I like to keep food simple as well. A burger bar is perfect because you can cut up toppings beforehand, make some potato salad and grill your veggies along with the burgers. So easy!
- ¼-1/2 cup cubed watermelon
- 3 mint leaves
- 1 TBSP jalapeño simple syrup
- 1 ounce SVEDKA vodka (or more to taste)
- slice of watermelon for garnish
- Muddle watermelon and 2 mint leaves well.
- Strain into cocktail glass
- Add jalapeño simple syrup and vodka
- Add ice and more syrup or vodka to taste
- Garnish with a mint leaf and small slice of watermelon
Here are some of the other favorite patriotic drinks!
HERE are the printable recipe cards if you want to use them to create your own memories. Just print and trim!
For even more great summer entertaining and cocktail recipes, be sure to check out the SVEDKA Celebrate the Summer website. You can also get inspiration from their Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest