Can you smell summer coming? After being trapped inside, we’re so ready to get out and eat fresh food, summer treats, and just spend some time outside. Here in Canada, warm weather means that our living (and entertaining) space often becomes much bigger as we move out onto our decks and patios to eat and relax with friends. We both try to throw at least a couple of summer parties a year, stocking up on summery food and dragging the stereo to the back door so that we can play records well into the night (pro tip: invite the neighbours so they don’t complain about the noise).
The best thing about summer entertaining is that it’s super easy: people generally don’t get too fussed if you don’t prepare things from scratch (though, homemade burgers and ketchup and mayo are always appreciated). You never really need an excuse to throw a summer party, but sometimes having a theme (both culinary and musically) can help you put together a more seamless shindig. Here are some ideas to get you started for a whole season of letting the good times roll (with some tips for provisions to pick up from our friends at London Drugs as well as playlist selections from the 100s of vinyl record titles that they now have available online):
If you’ve got a grill in your backyard — whether it’s a fancy gas barbeque or a grate over a fire pit — you have all you need for what Elizabeth’s family likes to call a “bun heave” in our family (don’t ask). Grill whatever meats, you have, put out some snacks and drinks, and you’re good to go. We’re into Everyday Superfoods’ It’s Not Bacon crispy coconut snacks, Coca-Cola in glass bottles (perfect for any Mad Men fans), and G.H. Cretors Chicago Corn (cheese and caramel wins every time) for easy right-out-of-the-bag treats that feel a little more special than your standard bag of chips and dill pickle dip.
Music wise, barbeques are about campfire singalongs and, especially if you’re going the extra mile and preparing Southern-style barbeque, rock ‘n’ roll. For vinyl picks, try out the classic psychedelic compilation Nuggets, The Arkells’ High Noon, or Fleetwood Mac’s Greatest Hits.
Garden Tea Party
For something a little more genteel and civilized, backyard garden parties, rounded out by games of croquet and a tea service. Making tiny cucumber sandwiches and your lemon curd is always fun (Julie’s Alice Eats book is full of great tea party ideas) and you can also stock up on your favourite Tazo teas, Dr. Kracker flatbreads, and Robertson’s Marmalade to put on some freshly baked scones.
Does anything beat drinking a cup of coffee in the sunshine on a Sunday morning? If you’re not reveling in the serenity of spending your mornings in solitude on your front porch, invite some pals over and entertain with some above average Commercial Drive Coffee (you’ll feel like a Vancouver hipster), make up a batch of Caesars with some extra spicy Clamato and Clamato rimmer salt, and, if you’re recovering from a big night out, try some Vegemite on toast (apparently it’s a great hangover cure — be sure to report back if you give it a try).
Easy mornings means you have time to listen closely to your music, whether you’re going current or retro, we’d recommend something with a little bit of introspective heft to help you reflect on the week ahead. Suitable brunch pairings like Tom Waits’ Sword Fish Trombones, Of Monsters and Men’s My Head Is an Animal, or Patti Smith’s Horses all fit the bill.
This post was sponsored by London Drugs, who compensated us for putting together this guide, though we personally chose and fully stand behind all of these music and culinary choices.