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Summer Party Ideas and Special Event Planning for Cocktail Parties

Article by Andrea Wynn

Summer is such a great time to entertain. You have the warm daytime sunshine as well as refreshing nights. Here are some summer party ideas including a couple of cocktail catering presentations to help you with any special event planning for summer cocktail parties.

Create conversation and interaction with your special event planning. One refreshing cocktail catering presentation for cocktail parties is to present a new twist on an old idea. Skewer a piece of cooked shrimp and instead of serving it with a bowl of cocktail sauce serve the shrimp in a shot glass already filled with the sauce.

Other summer party ideas that include shot glasses for cocktail catering are soups, whether they are hot such as lobster Saki shooters (I recently enjoyed at a cocktail party) or cold soups such as shots of gazpacho or cucumber.

For cocktail parties where you may want to serve a refreshing natural and nutritious dessert, why not accompany a platter full of fresh fruit with a shot of a fruit smoothie?

More summer party ideas for cocktail parties include serving refreshing melon balls wrapped with prosciutto or cucumber cups filled with humus, seaweed salad or salmon dip. (For quick and easy cocktail recipes check out pages 80 to 86 in Budget Bash.)

Lollipop-styled desserts are another cocktail catering suggestion to add to your special event planning summer ideas. Brownie bites, chocolate chip cookies or bread pudding are all delicious bite-sized desserts you can serve on a stick and tray pass or present on a platter at a dessert buffet. Clean up is easy too since no silverware or dessert plates are needed just a simple cocktail napkin!

Other desserts that can be served in small individual portions with a creative flair are crème brulee, chocolate pudding or tiramisu presented in demitasse cups with demitasse spoons.

Summer party ideas for your special event planning décor can be fast, easy and inexpensive. Instead of using a tea-light with your glass votive, drop a Cymbidium orchid in the glass instead. Or place an orchid weighted down with water and colored glass beads in a small glass vase.

Floating candles in water are always fun for your table décor and you can use colored glass beads on the bottom or add a flower in the container as well. A great decor idea for cocktail parties I recently read about in Real Simple magazine is to use parchment paper as a luminary wrap with a votive candle holder. For information and instructions, just pick up the August 2010 issue. (More quick and easy décor ideas can be found in Budget Bash.)

I hope you found these special event planning ideas for cocktail catering helpful for your next summer event. Summer party ideas do not need to be complicated or take much of your time. Cocktail parties are a great way to gather a group of friends for an intimate and casual event, and when you throw your next cocktail party remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

Delicious Mudslide Recipe for a Special Gift

Article by Jill Hathaway

Here is the best Mudslide recipe for gifting. This delicious cocktail tastes better than ever with homemade versions of coffee and Irish Crème liqueurs. Bottle up your gourmet Mudslide Mix for birthday presents for special friends, or just enjoy it at home.

The three ingredients in the classic version of this drink are:

• Coffee Liqueur • Irish Crème • Vodka

And simple directions:

• Fill a cocktail glass with ice.• Pour an ounce or so of each over the ice and stir.

Some folks leave out the vodka, and some folks add cream or milk. Our mudslide recipe simply combines the two liqueurs in a bottle of Mudslide Mix, and your friends can add vodka or milk as they please. Or maybe some chocolate or…

Remarkably simple when you have the mix ready to go. And simply remarkable when you use homemade ingredients.

You can buy Kahlua and Bailey’s, but for a heartful gift, buy some decent vodka and whiskey, and create these delicious liqueurs for your homemade Mudslide Mix. It really adds that special touch for your special friends.

For the “Kahlua” coffee liqueur start with:

• 3 cups boiling water and 4 cups white sugar• 1 cup boiling water and 2 ounces instant coffee• 1 quart vodka• 1-2 tablespoons vanilla extract to taste

Directions:

• Add sugar to the first 3 cups of water.• Boil for about 10 or 15 minutes until the sugar is dissolved completely.• Let it cool or you will evaporate your alcohol.• Dissolve the coffee separately in the fourth cup of boiling water. • Let it cool (or you know what).• Combine the mixtures with the vodka and vanilla.• Bottle it up and let it sit for a month to develop.

This recipe makes two quarts, good for mixing four quarts of Mudslide Mix.

When the flavors in your “Kahlua” have melded, it will be time to make the “Bailey’s” (the Irish Crème liqueur).

For your “Bailey’s” use:

• 1 3/4 cup Irish or Scotch whiskey (not bourbon)• 14 ounces Eagle sweetened condensed milk• 1 cup heavy cream • 1 tablespoon instant coffee • 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract• ½ teaspoons almond extract

Directions:

• Mix everything in the blender for a minute until smooth.• You can add more whiskey or chocolate to taste.

You’ll have to make two batches to get four bottles of Mudslide Mix. But it’s quick and easy.

Now make up your Mudslide Mix for presents. (Keep one for yourself.)

Mix equal parts of the two liqueurs, and voila, you are ready to make a nice label and tie on a ribbon or two! You can customize your recipe for chocolate lovers by adding chocolate syrup.

Tell your friends to shake gently and pour over ice, or add vodka for an extra kick. Or add some cream or milk for a more dessert-like occasion. They can pour chocolate syrup in the glass in a nice swirl before pouring and top with a strawberry when in season.

Cheers! Enjoy this special-occasion Mudslide Recipe

Special Sangria recipe from Spain

Spain is a very beautiful place and its towns and cities are very popular places for people to go on holiday; one main thing that people look forward to when they visit is the authentic Spanish food and the famous Sangria. One of the best things about Sangria drink is that there are various fruit mixtures that you can choose from when you order it from a restaurant and it a delicious non-alcoholic version can be mixed up for children to enjoy.

You can make your own Sangria drink while you are at home and become an expert at making the best Sangria drinks that anyone has ever tried. There are definitely no secrets to this recipe and many people enjoy being able to make it quickly and in large quantities for parties. You can pretty much drink Sangria whenever you feel like it, but it is really a summer drink which is when you will enjoy it the most. Some restaurants in Spain will only serve Sangria drinks during the summer time while other restaurants serve the drink all year round. Depending on where you go, you can buy Sangria with a mild amount of alcohol in them or with heavier amounts. Restaurants will normally serve mild Sangrias while bars will serve Sangrias with heavy alcohol and flavoured liquors.

Now that you know a little about the Sangria drink from Spain, it is time to make your own. You will first want to make sure that you have the right kind of pitcher to put your Sangria drink in. It’s best to use either a glass pitcher or a stainless steel pitcher so that your drink will stay nice and cold and you can make a decent amount.

As for the ingredients, you will need red wine, orange liquor, orange juice, and then a variety of fruits and berries. Make sure that you choose a selection of in-season fruits and include citrus fruits to give your Sangria a refreshing edge. Blend your mixture together to taste and then add either some sparkling water or some lemonade to add a bit of fizz! To get the best taste you should let the mixture sit in your fridge overnight or at least for a few hours, this way it will not only be perfectly chilled but the flavours will have had a chance to infuse and develop, making it a delicious drink for all.

Check out this perfect Sangria recipe and follow a simple ginger beer recipe for something a bit different at your next party or Saturday night in.