Entertaining Is Back

Some Helpful Hints For the best-ever post-pandemic 4th of July

Summer is here, and so is the urge to entertain. After a long year of social distancing, you may feel more than ready to get your toes wet when it comes to entertaining. Or, you may still be feeling a little hesitant about greeting large groups of people. No matter your comfort level — and the comfort level of your guests — you can rock the 4th of July like in the pre-pandemic times. Here are a few helpful hints when it comes to entertaining.

Go Disposable, Go Rental 
Not only do disposable plates, glasses, and silverware keep things a little more contained, but they also lessen the burden when it comes to entertaining. If your idea of disposable plates are the flower-patterned versions of yore, know that the world has expanded a lot from the old days of disposable. There are plenty of heavy-duty (and eco-friendly) paper-based products available — the company Eco Party produces a line made from sugar cane fiber — as well as compostable cutlery, made from biodegradable materials like cornstarch. If you’d prefer not to toss your wares away, consider hiring a party rental company to provide plates and glassware. At East Hampton’s iconic Monogram Shop, you can even purchase paper napkins with your initial on them (as well as any other special message you wish to impart). 

Embrace Small Plates 
Although family-style dining can be great when it comes to entertaining, you probably want fewer people touching the food this year. With that in mind, you can still serve an exceptional 4th of July feast using small plates. Serve ceviche in single-serve cups that guests can grab from a designated food service area. Offer Caprese salad, but on per-person skewers. Whip up a delightful guacamole, but serve it in martini glasses, adorned with a few chips. The idea is to move guests away from communal bowls and plates without disrupting the beauty and delight of a backyard event. 

Can It
Instead of hiring a bartender this year, consider diving into one of the hottest new trends in cocktailing: canned drinks. Not only can you find wine in a can (Underwood, from Oregon, offers a wide selection) but you can also get pre-mixed cocktails, alcohol included. At Zabi’s in Southampton, you can grab Underwood Pinot Noir and rosé, and you can also find the Fishers Island Lemonade (a vodka- and whiskey-based cocktail that is made with natural juices), the High Noon vodka-based hard seltzer, and the Cutwater line of canned cocktails, which includes a Bloody Mary, Long Island Iced Tea, Mango Margarita, Tequila Paloma, and even White Russian. Or, opt for pink Moscato in a can from Barefoot. Set up a bar with glasses and cold cans and you’re ready to party.  

Ice Cream Over Pie
The 4th of July is supposed to be casual and fun. Instead of serving pie — which has to be sliced and served — consider pre-wrapped ice cream bars and popsicles. (You’re unlikely to find a more festive popsicle than the bomb pop, with its red, white, and blue patriotism.) Set up a large cooler of ice and bury in it your favorite grocery store treats. Pre-wrapped ice cream sandwiches, individual-serving ice cream cups, Italian ices, popsicles, and Good Humor bars all make rewarding choices. Better yet, they’ll transport your guests back to the days of carefree childhood, as any good 4th of July soiree should. If you have the urge to add something homemade to the dessert