Entertaining always seems like such a great idea. It starts with something like, “Let’s have a few friends over — make some cocktails, cook an impressive dinner (because after all, I am a food blogger), and play some lawn games.” Then reality sets in: work ends up being extra busy, no one can locate our favorite bocce set, and oh — it ends up being roughly 120 degrees outside the day-of and the thought of turning on the oven, even for a hot minute, seems absurd. And yet, your friends are still coming over.
Cue: Summer Entertaining, Basil & Bubbly style. No big meal, no oven, no grill (because a grill is just a BIG, OPEN FLAME in your backyard that is already so crushingly hot!), and cocktails that even the most mixology-challenged guests can refill on their own, while you’re busy beating your husband at corn hole, because you never did find that missing bocce set.
To snack on, make my favorite two-ingredient appetizer: Pimento Cheese Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes. I make my own pimento cheese, but hey, I’m not going to goad you into doing the same, because there are some great local options available for purchase. Once pimento cheese is secured, along with an 8 ounce container of cherry tomatoes, the rest is a cinch:
Pimento Cheese Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Scoop out the seeds and “wet” insides
- Place your pimento cheese in a baggie, cut off 1/2″ of one of the corners, and squeeze 1/2 teaspoon of the cheese into each tomato half. For me, this is less of a science and more of a “how much cheese can I cram into this tomato” situation
You can make this appetizer a day in advance, or you can prep the tomatoes and stuff them the day of.
Since I’m going “full Southern” with my appetizer, it’s only appropriate to do the most Southern thing I can think of for a cocktail: Peach Tea Sparklers.
All you’ll need is a box of peach popsicles (the sweeter the popsicle, the sweeter the drink. I recommend going for the least sweet version you can find), 6 ounces of Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka, and a 750 ml bottle of dry sparkling wine.
Peach Tea Sparklers
- Set out 6 large wine glasses
- Place one peach popsicle in each glass
- Pour one ounce of Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka over each popsicle
- Split the bottle of sparkling wine among the glasses and serve
- For a large party, set up your guests to make their own by setting up an ice bucket with a bottle of Firefly, a few bottles of bubbly, and still-wrapped popsicles tucked into the ice
Happy Summer, y’all! I’d love to hear about some of your favorite summer entertaining ideas in the comments.