5 Appetizer & Drink Party Themes

Choose from easy menus for alfresco entertaining—make one drink and one appetizer, and just buy the rest

1 /10 Photo by Thayer Allyson Gowdy

To the tropics party: Apps

All your favorite island flavors: coconut, Maui onion, and macadamias. At the market, pick up salted macadamia nuts, Maui onion potato chips, and romaine spears topped with macaroni salad to make your island-themed menu complete.

Coconut Lime Shrimp Skewers

A squeeze of lime adds zing and toasted coconut contributes crunch to this easy make-ahead crowd-pleaser. You’ll need at least 24 wooden skewers (6 in.).

Recipe: Coconut Lime Shrimp Skewers

2 /10 Photo by Becky Luigart-Stayner

To the tropics party: Drink

Frozen Lemonade with Coconut Rum

Lemonade meets daiquiri in this refreshing cocktail.

Recipe: Frozen Lemonade with Coconut Rum

3 /10 Photo by Leo Gong

Wings & watermelon party: Apps

Barbecue classics, with an Asian flair and a cool, fresh fruit twist. Also get frozen mini corn dogs with Chinese mustard, skewered cantaloupe, and fresh or dry- roasted edamame for a full party menu.

Honey-Sesame Grilled Chicken Wings

Finger-lickin' sweet replaces blazing buffalo as the flavorings for these tasty wings.

Recipe: Honey-Sesame Grilled Chicken Wings

4 /10 Photo by andy Mayor

Wings & watermelon party: Drink

Watermelon and Cucumber Tonic

Serve any remaining juice mixture over ice for guests who prefer a nonalcoholic drink— or make extra so guests can have both.

Recipe: Watermelon and Cucumber Tonic

5 /10 Photo by Rob D. Brodman

Poolside kick-back party: Apps

Warm afternoons call for a great dip, easy nibbles, and a spritzy drink. Add top-quality frozen pizza Margherita, cut in thin slices, green olives such as Graber Cold, and cooked shrimp with a drizzle of olive oil to round out your offerings.

Creamy Artichoke Dip

This simple no-cook dip starts with cream cheese and puréed artichoke hearts, then adds parmesan, parsley, lemon, and garlic for flavor.

Recipe: Creamy Artichoke Dip

6 /10 Photo by Lisa Romerein

Poolside kick-back party: Drink

Pimm’s Cup

A thirst-quenching, supremely summery drink from England.

Recipe: Pimm's Cup

7 /10 Photo by Annabelle Breakey

Steak & sangria party: Apps

Red meat, red wine, and some can’t-miss Spanish go-withs, for a new take on tapas. Buy Marcona almonds, roasted red peppers drizzled with good olive oil, and manchego cheese and bread for a complete spread.

Chèvre and Mango Steak Bites

Sweet, savory, and creamy elements make this an hors d'oeuvre to remember.

Recipe: Chèvre and Mango Steak Bites

8 /10 Photo by Rob D. Brodman

Steak & sangria party: Drink


A twist on the classic Spanish drink comes in the form of unexpected fruit choices.

Recipe: Sangria

9 /10

Mediterranean flavors party: Apps

un-loving foods, including fresh herbs and tomatoes, salty olives, and cool grapes. Throw in tapenade with green beans and bell pepper strips, small clusters of green grapes, and thinly sliced salami to keep guests satisfifed.

Filo Tomato Tart

Cut the tomatoes very thinly so the juice evaporates while baking, or dough will be soggy.

Recipe: Filo Tomato Tart

10 /10 Photo by Thomas J. Story

Mediterranean flavors party: Drink

Basil Gimlet

Move over, mint: Basil's spicy flavor puts a fresh spin on the traditional gimlet. Flavoring your cocktail is so easy―the basil steeps for 20 minutes in a simple syrup.

Recipe: Basil Gimlet