ask the experts
entertaining U
by Siobhan Flaherty Haber and Jane Miller Rennert


Despite a streak of truly abysmal weather in our hometown of New York City it seems like it might finally be safe to break out the sundresses, linen and designer flip-flops. That said, it’s also time to give your friends a chance to wear them when you host a summer soirée worthy of Gatsby and his crew. We’ll provide a few tips to get you started, but for really outstanding summer entertaining you’ve just got to feel the heat and get inspired.

  • Cold and fruity. Drinks that is. On days when the temperature rises nothing is quite so refreshing an ice cold, fruity cocktail. Pitchers of sangria chock full of fruit, planters punch or hip and colorful cocktails will cool and refresh. Try one of these funky summer drinks from New York and D.C.'s hottest restaurants.

  • A fun and impressive addition to any summer party are homemade popsicles. You can mix any fresh juices and pureed fruit to make creative combinations. Prepare a Mexican menu and finish with guava-lime or mango-pineapple ice pops or if you are having American fare try blueberry-lemonade popsicles.

  • Colorful paper lanterns create a summery romantic feel both indoors and out. Buy strings of globe lights and mini Chinese lanterns and hang them in your garden or living room.

  • Decorate with vibrant colors. A summer table looks great decked out in saturated colors. Try a combination of fuchsia, orange and cherry red.

  • Say aloha. Everyone appreciates a luau. Don a grass skirt, serve something tropical in coconuts, put some Don Ho on the stereo and get ready to feel the island breeze.

  • To make an outdoor party truly elegant, skip the plastic plates and tumblers and bring out the good stuff. China and silver used outdoors is unexpected and makes your guests feel pampered.

  • Even if you aren’t at the beach, try a clam bake. You can do it inside or out but everyone will love feasting on lobsters and shellfish. Try a crisp Sancerre or Muscadet for the perfect accompaniment.

  • Remember to keep it simple. Even if you are going swank – summer entertaining means simple preparations of the season’s best produce such as grilled corn with flavored butters, heirloom tomato salad, and local fish and shellfish.