Those Summer Nights

items from Convivio
Photograph by Mary D'Alton of Convivio

Gin and tonic is a great way to start a party. First set up a bar with the basics—tonic, ice, and limes—then add a selection of local gins to surprise your guests with unique spirits made in our own state. Wisconsin has many craft distilleries, and almost every one of them produces a signature gin recipe with a different botanical profile. For fun, you could ask guests to describe the flavor notes and even have a taste comparison of the different local gins.

Keep your eyes open at garage sales or secondhand stores for vintage cocktail glass sets, or even groupings of mismatched glasses, to add an aesthetic entertainment value for your guests.

Set your summer table.

For a bold look, make a color statement by combining a group of bright dishes in solid colors then add a few patterned elements. Favorite vintage, Midcentury Modern, and 1970s pieces are often loaded with bright hues.

Lanterns and candlelight.

Make a wonderful and inviting setting to encourage guests to converse late into the evening. Hanging lanterns above and beside a picnic table really lights up a dining area. Citronella candles will keep bugs away, but avoid placing them near food. Instead, place them around the perimeter of your entertaining space.

Items sourced by Convivio.