Summer Party Planning Made Easy


It’s the time of year when the sun is beaming down, the weather is BBQ appropriate, and middle aged men start to religiously wear their stubbies all over New Zealand. 

Yes, it’s finally summer again after a long, cold winter. And what better way to celebrate the approaching sun than a summer cocktail party?

Get those legs ready to be seen in the light of day, grab your best floral summer dress and get ready to see in the best season of the year with this summer party planning guide!

summer party  

Party planning checklist

  • Enough drinks to go around – this means around enough for 2-3 drinks per guest

  • Ice, mixers, and fruit such as lemons, limes, oranges, berries and cucumbers to garnish

  • Appetisers and snacks to tide your guests over and make sure no one gets silly

  • Cocktail gear like shakers, muddlers and cocktail glasses, so you can show off all your newly learned cocktail making magic

  • A balanced party space – areas people can hear each other, and a space for people to dance to some sweet summer tunes

  • A playlist filled with upbeat, summer songs

  • Don't forget to get some beersies

  • Most importantly, you want guests, so get on Facebook and set up an event!

Ultimate summer party playlist

Spotify is a wonderful app. It’s filled with all the music you know and love, and it’s ridiculously easy to make a suitable playlist for any party. Go for upbeat, fun music for a summer party. Give making a personalised playlist a go, but if in doubt, here’s a playlist we put together that should hit all the right notes – so to speak.


Cocktail ideas for your summer party

One of the most important parts of any cocktail party is being prepared with delicious summer cocktail recipes! In summer you’re going to be looking for light, bubbly and fruity drinks. Vodka and Gin are both key summer spirits. Match them with some refreshing fruit and summer tastes, and you’ll be well on your way to perfect summer cocktails.


Easy vodka cocktails

Vodka is a versatile and easy spirit to work with. It easily slips into the background – giving your cocktail the boozy kick it needs without sacrificing any taste. Here are a couple to try out:

Vodka 42 below honey


Kia Ora Caipiroska

  • 60ml Vodka 
  • Half a lime (or 30mls lime juice)
  • two teaspoons of brown sugar

Cut up the lime into eighths and place those slices and the sugar into a cocktail shaker, muddle the ingredients together, add vodka with ice, shake, and then pour into a glass with crushed ice.


Honey Bear

Fill a highball glass with ice, add the honey vodka then top with ginger beer, use lime to garnish.


Gin cocktails

Gin has a delicious, herbal flavour that sticks out in any drink. Made from juniper berries, this is the best spirit to pair with a summer cocktail party. Any gin cocktail is sure to be a hit. Here are some to try: 

Hendrick’s Gin & Tonic

Fill a highball glass with ice, add gin and soda water, stir, garnish with cucumber slices.

Bombay Sapphire Bramble

Stir together Bombay Sapphire, lemon juice and sugar in a tumbler, fill glass with crushed ice, drizzle Chambord over the top, add more ice and garnish with blackberry and lemon.


Sophisticated low alcohol cocktails

Chances are some guests will not want to drink much, or will have to drive later on. So, as any good host would, you should provide low alcohol, but still delicious, cocktails for them to enjoy. Here are a few ideas:

Pimm’s enlightened cup

  • 60mls Pimm’s no.1
  • 90mls ginger ale
  • Sprite or 7up
  • 1 cucumber slice 
  • 1 strawberry cut into quarters 
  • half an orange slice
  • 1 lemon slice
  • 6 mint leaves

Simple to put together – place all ingredients into a highball glass, stir to combine. If you desire a stronger version, you can replace the soda with champagne instead.


  • 120ml Champagne 
  • 30ml orange juice 
  • slice of orange

Pour orange juice into a champagne flute, slowly add champagne, garnish with orange slice.

hopt soda

Toffee Apple

  • 45ml butterscotch liqueur
  • 45ml apple sours
  • Sprite or 7up

Shake combined alcohol with ice, pour into a tumbler and top with Sprite or 7up.


Non-alcoholic Drinks to Stay Hydrated

Don't forget to grab a lot of non-alcoholic drinks to stay hydrated all night long like our delicious Hopt Sodas Pear & Basil , Watermelon & Mint, Salted Lychee and the tasty Elderberry & Herb.



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