How to Host the Perfect Summer Picnic

Everything you need to know to master the best part of summer.

Let's have a party. The kind of party where everyone ends up on sprawled out on ground, and not because they had too much rosé. Because the weather is warm and friends are abundant, now's the time to host a picture-perfect picnic. Let's lounge with a cool cocktail in our hands, nibble on delicious homemade sandwiches and and salads, and forget about the passing of time, reminded only by the gradually fading sun. We recently did just that on a recent summer night when we took a trip to Los Angeles's Hollywood Forever Cemetery to catch a movie screening in the park, and now we're here to show how you how to recreate the scene yourself. All you have to do next is find your perfect picnic spot.

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Once you've spent the time to craft a few delicious recipes from LA catering company Urban Palate (see below), such as mission fig crostini and Israeli couscous, the last thing you're going to want to do is subject them to Tupperware. Instead, wrap your crostini up like sandwiches in wax paper and twine, enclose grilled chicken in a polka-dot to-go box, and (our favorite idea) mix up salad in Weck jars so fellow picnickers can snack plate-free.

 

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Just because you're not setting a table doesn't mean you can't bring out your best linens. Leave the all-white behind (see: grass stains), and unfold linen tea towels atop a maritime striped blanket and hand-loomed beach towels. The more layers, the better. And clearly, the more stripes, the better.

 

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What's a picnic without a refreshing cocktail? Not much is the answer. However, two problems often arise in that department: they don't stay cold, and they get mixed up amongst guests. Our solution? Popsicles. These aren't your standard Otter Pops, though. To make these summery drinks, freeze your own by filling a popsicle mold with berries (like cherries or strawberries), herbs (mint or basil), soda water, simple syrup (or grenadine), and your spirit of choice (cherries, basil, and bourbon make a great combination). When you make it to the park, simply drop your popsicle into an acrylic glass filled with prosecco and let the flavors melt -- there you have it: a pre-made champagne cocktail that requires basically no preparation on-site! By writing your friends' names on the popsicle sticks, you'll also prevent any sippin' slip-ups.

 

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chickenGrilled Deviled Chicken, Orange Honey, Spring Onion Crème Fraîche
A hearty summer staple saturated with flavors.

couscousIsraeli Couscous, Wild Mushrooms, Roasted Fennel, Beets, French Feta, Lemon Oil
Abundant additions make this couscous more than just a side dish.

bruschettaMission Figs, Lavender Goat Cheese, Aged Balsamic, Grilled Ficelle
When figs are in season, the best way to eat them is on crostini.

tortillaTortilla de Papa, Arugula Pesto, Red Pepper Truffle Oil
A traditional Spanish omelette gets a fresh and flavorful update.

cocktailsquareCherry, Basil, and Bourbon Prosecco Pop-Tail
Popsicle get a little more grown-up when mixed up in this cocktail.

For more entertaining inspiration visit Urban Palate.
Photography: Phil Sanchez and Jenna Peffley

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Acrylic Barware, from $3

Acrylic Barware, from $3

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Weck Low Canning Jars, from $1

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