How to Throw an Unforgettable Summer Party

Welcome to summer — the season to slow down, eat fresh, and enjoy the outdoors. I.e. it’s the PERFECT time of year to gather your friends and throw a patio dinner party.

Summer Party Set Up

A pepper party is a fiesta for heat lovers, fresh food junkies, and our cocktail lovers alike. The only rule? Peppers must be served!

We have a full menu bursting with jalapeños and bell peppers every guest will enjoy, plus a few décor tips to turn your summer pepper party into a memorable evening — because throwing a summer soiree shouldn’t be stressful.

SETTING THE TONE

Unforgettable Summer Party

First, let the décor set the tone for the evening. Garden-inspired touches, minimalist motifs, and outdoor lighting are key to setting a summery mood. Simply put, keep it fresh and green.

Our favorite way to achieve a summery, peppery aesthetic is through the centerpiece. Take fresh herbs or flowers and put them in a small glass vase. Then, place the vase in another glass vase filled with water and sliced peppers of every color.

Beautiful Summer Decor

PRO TIP: Keep the height of your centerpiece low so it won’t discourage conversation!

Then, get your pepper gardens growing. Peppers are stunning as they grow and look absolutely beautiful in containers. They will provide all kinds of harvests throughout the summer, so get them planted now! Even if they’re not harvest-ready for your party, your pepper plants will set the scene and your guests will be so impressed with your growing prowess.

Next, find great glasses for your pepper-inspired cocktail or mocktail. Be creative and remember: anything goes — from mason jars to vintage finds. One of our favorite places to gather great drinkware is William Sonoma. (We specifically love the Aerin Green Confetti Double Old-Fashioned Glasses and the Nueva Recycled Glass Goblets — both are fun, easy to rim with salt or sugar, and work for dessert as well.)

START WITH SPICY DRINKS

Whether you’re gathering on your patio, rooftop or around your kitchen table, the perfect recipes will take your pepper party from basic to unforgettable. The recipes every party needs to begin with? Cocktails and mocktails!

Cocktail inspiration: Sweet and Spicy Peppery Vodka Martini!

Spicy Vodka Martini

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium bell pepper, seeded and sliced into 2-inch pieces
  • ¼ medium jalapeño pepper, seeded (use more or less depending on how spicy you want the drink to be)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ½ garlic clove, peeled
  • 3 oz Stoli vodka
  • 1 tsp agave nectar or simple syrup
  • 1 dash hot sauce, preferably Cholula
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Coarse sea salt

How-To:

  1. First, line the rims with black pepper and salt (if desired). Sprinkle a small plate with pepper and salt, run a lime wedge around the rims of two martini glasses, and dip the edges in the salt and pepper mixture.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the bell pepper, jalapeño, lime juice, and garlic. You’re done muddling when the peppers have no more crunch left in them.
  3. Add the vodka, agave or simple syrup, hot sauce, a couple twists of freshly ground black pepper, and a dash of salt to the mix. Fill the shaker with ice, top the shaker with its lid, and shake it like crazy. Strain the mixture into the prepared glasses and serve immediately.

Mocktail Motivation: Jalapeño Lemonade

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar
  • 7 cups ice cold water
  • 1 jalapeño, left whole
  • Fresh mint
  • Sparkling Water
  • Ice

How-To:

  1. Mix lemon juice, sugar, and water in a large pitcher.
  2. Pierce a large jalapeño pepper and place it in the pitcher. Let sit for up to 12 hours (the longer it sits the hotter the flavor). Add sliced lemon to the pitcher.
  3. To serve, rim your favorite glass with sugar, muddle mint, and mix with ice and jalapeño lemonade. Mix with your favorite flavored sparkling water and garnish with mint leaves, jalapeño slices, and a lemon wedge.

MOVE TO THE MAIN COURSE

Keep it cool! Veggies, salads, fruit…things served cold and taste fresh. It’ll give off that summery vibe you’re going for — and all the guests will leave feeling satisfied and light.

Sesame Noodle Salad

Sesame Noodle Salad

This amazing salad is a delight for guests and super easy to make. Set out an assortment of toppings to do with as they wish. Our favorites include grilled shrimp, chopped jalapeños, chives, and roasted cashews.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package angel hair pasta
  • ½ cup sesame oil
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp hot chili oil
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 sliced jalapeño

How-To:

  1. Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once boiling, stir in the angel hair pasta, and let return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally until the pasta has cooked through but is still firm to bite — about 4-5 minutes. Drain in a colander and set in the sink.
  2. Whisk together sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, chili oil, and sugar. Toss with pasta. Then, sprinkle with sesame seeds, green onions, and peppers. Serve warm or cold.

A SWEET AND SPICY ENDING

Jalapeño Cheesecake Ice cream from Meats & Sweets

Jalapeno Cheesecake Ice Cream

This frozen treat sounds crazy, but it will quickly become a summer favorite. With candied jalapeños and a graham cracker swirl, it’s a spicy dessert for every summer party.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • A ¾ cup of sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  • Pinch of salt

For the candied jalapeños:

  • 3 large jalapeños, halved and seeded
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water

For the graham cracker crumbs:

  • 2 graham crackers
  • 1 Tbsp, melted

How-To:

  1. Start with the ice cream base. In a bowl, whip cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and whip until lump-free. Add sour cream and heavy cream and mix one minute more. Lastly, add lime juice and a pinch of salt and mix until well combined. Place in fridge until chilled — 3 hours or overnight.
  2. While the ice cream is chilling, prepare the candied jalapeños. In a small pot, combine sugar and water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add jalapeño halves and simmer 15 minutes. Remove jalapeños and dry on rack — about 1 hour. The sugar syrup can either be saved for future uses (great for making jalapeño flavored cocktails!) or discarded. Chop and set aside.
  3. Next, prepare the graham cracker dust. Heat oven to 350° F. Break down crackers into a fine crumb. Add melted butter and press into the bottom of a skillet. Bake for 15 minutes, set aside, and let cool.
  4. Once the ice cream is chilled, give it one more quick whip. Assemble the ice cream maker, add the ice cream base, jalapeños, and process according to machine’s instructions. From personal experience, it took about 20 minutes.
  5. When packing ice cream, layer the graham cracker crumb with layers of ice cream so that when scooped, there will be swirls of the crumb.

Enjoy your pepper fiesta! It’s should be a summer party full of laughter, love, and good conversation.