With Labor Day weekend just days away, lifestyle expert Justine Santaniello joined me to discuss her favorite tips for throwing a great summer bash! From planning the perfect menu to tips for creating that signature cocktail, Justine has everything you need to ensure your end of summer party is a hit!
Justine Santaniello: “Since this is probably going to be your last summer party, you want to make sure as the host, that you get to enjoy it. Keep it simple, just focus on two things: signature cocktail and then some easy finger foods and you’ll be set.”
Candace Rose: What can we do to ensure they’ll stick out from the rest?
Justine Santaniello: “Sure, let’s start with the drinks. We don’t want to be playing bartender all night mixing a ton of different cocktails, it’s going to take a lot of time for you and not necessary. So you want one fun, festive signature cocktail so I want you to check these out. These are the new (see video above) Arbor Mist frozen cocktails- these are so perfect for you as the host because they’re easy. There’s no mixing ingredients, no blenders, no ice. You just freeze the pouches, squeeze them into your glass and enjoy. That’s it. Very, very simple plus a frozen drink is perfect for this time of year. It’s very refreshing and they come in three different flavors so your guests have options. You always want to give them options.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any tips for cooking up a great summer meal?
Justine Santaniello: “Yes, so you want the foods to be small enough that your guests can very easily pick them up and mingle throughout the party; no sit down meal for a summer shindig. So things that are easy for you as well like a veggie platter. Now you can do raw vegetables, steamed vegetables or grilled vegetables. For a lot of us this might be the last time that we get to use our grill so you really want to take advantage, you want to choose other items that go perfectly on the grill like kabobs. Love kabobs, they’re perfect for the summertime and they’re fun. They’re very easy for guests to walk around with and the ones we have here have shrimp, chicken, some peppers and tomatoes. It’s a really good balance, this mixture but you of course can choose any variety that you would like. Also, when it comes to variety, make quesadillas. I love quesadillas, but you can make a few different types. You can do chicken, shrimp, steak. I like to put a few different types of cheeses in there to really get that extra flavor. You can also do a vegetarian option with a few different veggies. You just put the tortilla right on top of the grill, get it warmed up, put everything inside that’s already been precooked or premade, flip it over- just a few minutes on the grill to get that great grilled flavor and you’re done.”
Candace Rose: Is there anything else we can do to throw a great party?
Justine Santaniello: “Dessert. A lot of people don’t do dessert when they have a party, but I think it really adds something and you don’t have to spend a ton of time or a ton of money. Fruit is perfect for this time of year. It’s at its peak but instead of doing a traditional fruit bowl, fruit kabobs are so fun. You put a few different slices of fruit, you can make these the night before and let them chill in your fridge overnight, set them out when you’re ready. Now these can also go on the grill too. Grilling fruit is so delicious and you can have some dipping sauces just for your grilled fruit kabobs, so things like chocolate, marshmallow, raspberry sauce. You put them in those little plastic bowls that you can get at the party store, it adds a little element of fun when the guests have the skewers that they’ve grilled even themselves and they can dip into the sauces.”
Candace Rose: Everything sounds delicious! Where can we go for more information?
Justine Santaniello: “You can always check me out on Twitter: Justine Santaniello; ArborMist.com for those great signature cocktails. Just enjoy yourself, enjoy that last summer party.