Sunday, July 12, 2009

Planning a Housewarming Party - The Drinks

I'd like to think it was our good company and great apartment that kept guests there late into the evening, but I have a feeling it had a lot to do with a fridge full of beer and a counter full of wine.

We let guests know that we would have a selection of beer and mixers, but asked folks to bring a six pack or a bottle of something. And they delivered. Bob gave me a strange look when I said I wanted to go through our recyclables and count the number of empty beer bottles from the party, so I settled on counting the six and twelve pack cardboard carriers. If I counted correctly, we have at least 132 empties along with a few wine bottles to recycle . I should probably mention here that we had about 30 people total over the course of the night at our place. Hopefully that makes the high number sound a little more reasonable!

It was such a beautiful night that a lot of folks stayed out on the balcony. We made sure to stock my beverage tub - a recent Target purchase - with ice and a selection of beers so they wouldn't have to keep coming back to the fridge.

The empties can add up quickly and I didn't want to spend half the party emptying the garbage can to make more room. I put an extra large garbage bag in an oversized tall box and set it against a wall next to the kitchen. I threw up a "Recycle" sign so all bottles would end up in one place. Make sure to have a garbage can/bag outside on the balcony as well.

I wanted to highlight a few of the beers we had as our guests brought such a variety from smaller breweries. Thanks to everyone who helped supply our thirsty guests!

From New Belgium Brewing Company (Fat Tire, 2 Below), a citrus-y lighter taste for summer.
Amber colored ale from the Two Brothers Brewing Company in the Western Chicago suburbs.
From the Leine Lodge, perfect for a cook out.
Spicy and Fruity American wheat ale from Bell's Brewery of Michigan.

For a non-alcoholic option, I was inspired by the infused waters I had at a recent conference. I knew about lemons and cucumber, but here were pitchers of starfruit water, raspberry water and blackberry water.

Basil Lemonade
1 cup sugar
1 cup fresh basil leaves, plus 8 sprigs for garnishing
8 cups lemonade

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, bring the sugar and 1 1/2 cups cold water to a simmer. Cook, without stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, add the basil, and let cool to room temperature. Strain the syrup into a resealable container and discard the solids.

Pour 2 to 3 teaspoons of the basil syrup into each of 8 ice-filled glasses, then fill with lemonade. Add alcohol if you wish to spice it up. Garnish with an additional sprig of basil.

(You can cover and refrigerate the remaining syrup for up to 2 weeks.)

1 comment:

  1. Skinny Dip is one of my favorites! Not sure if it is distributed to Chicago, but check out O'Dell's St. Lupulin seasonal (from Fort Collins, same city as New Belgium) if you see it... it is pretty similar to Skinny Dip, I think.