valley & co. designs :: throwing a summer cocktail tasting party

Gathering a group of friends or family around an outdoor dining table to enjoy good drink and great food is one of our favorite summer pastimes. We’re sharing some of our go-to tips for doing just that but putting a wedding spin on it! During the pre-wedding planning process, final menu and dessert planning and cocktail offerings are in full swing 3-4 months out, which gives couples a pretty good glimpse into the seasonality that’s possible. For big foodies, we often have a second tasting to polish any ultra seasonal offerings the month before the wedding day.

We love to encourage our couples to think even deeper than a traditional tasting and host a cocktail tasting party that offers guests wedding cocktail sthey’re thinking about serving up to let their guests in on the wedding planning fun, but to also offer any critiques. Here’s how we would host this kind of a party:

Plan in advance – hiring two bartenders can mean you get to sit back and enjoy – ask your caterer or bartending service to pass along the recipes for your top cocktail picks

Keep the food simplified- we always offer food at our parties, but keep your menu on the simpler side so guests can focus on the taste of the cocktails. Good pub mixes or a fresh cheese and fruit board would be a good start, and end with an affogato (espresso poured over ice cream)

Create a beautiful setting – one table from your back yard dressed in a stately linen and accented with lemons or other fruit can really elevate the party while still feeling comfy and intimate

Offer a mix of drinks – keep in mind non-drinkers and serve up the same fanciful and festively garnished options, just without alcohol. And classics (like Negronis, French 75s, and other tried and true cocktails) can pair nicely with more exotic and artistic cocktails

I’m wearing the adorable Darla jumpsuit from Gal Meets Glam

Garnish galore – the real fun of tasty cocktails, in our opinion, is enhancing them with garden-inspired garnishes that really elevate the look. Doing this can yield great insight from your guests on what worked, what was too much, and what was just right!

Let them take notes – if you’re truly hosting a cocktail tasting party to help plan your wedding cocktail menu, put out pads of paper and pens for your guests to score their favorites

Photos: Katie Parra Photography for Pottery Barn and Valley & Company Events

Have we inspired you to host a cocktail tasting party? Happy Summer!


This is a sponsored partnership post with Pottery Barn but all opinions are our own

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