Delightful as a casual picnic or barbecue can be, this summer we are planning parties that truly celebrate the season and our guests with gatherings that make the most of the leisurely days, the scented breezes, the long twilights, and the flavorful bounties of land and sea. This time of year, the thoughtful host entertains in breathtaking locations, offering delicious menus, inventive cocktails, and fine wines that perfectly match each course; the clever host, however, does all of this with as little effort as possible. It is summer, after all.
So for Robb Report’s Summer 2011 Host’s Guide we asked six prominent chefs to create menus and recipes for six splendid outdoor parties—from a lobster bake on the eastern shore to a cocktail party aboard a Mediterranean yacht; from a glamorous California formal affair to a pull-out-the-stops Texas barbecue; from an evening of classic Spanish tapas to an afternoon picnic reinvented as a modern fête champêtre. Then Southern Wine & Spirits master mixologist Francesco Lafranconi studied each menu and created original cocktails to match, be it the rose-scented Damascus Affair to play off Ana Sortun’s pistachio and rose petal dessert, or the brawny Rub ’n’ Rye, with its rim of smoked salt, to partner with Tim Byres’ ultimate barbecue. We round out each party with an expert selection of wines for each course, and we even showcase some elegant tableware in the spirit of each theme.
And now we would like to invite you to join us for a whole season’s worth of parties that will be remembered long after the last cork is popped, and the last summer sunset dips into the horizon.