Take Your Summer Party to the Next Level

Hot tips and cool sips to make a splash with your next summer party

Credit: Pottery Barn

Whether it’s an afternoon pool party or a summer’s eve soiree, these accessories, recipes and games will have your friends begging for an invite to your next backyard bash

Nothing beats the heat of summer quite like kicking back outside. Throw in some refreshing drinks, outdoor activities and some good friends and you’ve got the beginnings of a great party. Take your summer social beyond the basics (and show off those hosting skills while you’re at it) with some of these outdoor entertaining must-haves.

Credit: Nineteen Ten/Gamla/Pottery Barn

Serve it Up Summer-Style

A cocktail caddy pool float is a must-have at any pool party. The floating tray is made of fade-resistant fabric and has room for four glasses and a spot in the middle for snacks.

For serving on dry land, check out Gamla’s serving tray, which is handmade in Vancouver from sustainably harvested walnut hardwood. Pair it with olive wood utensils from Nineteen Ten for a classy, elegant display that’ll look as good as your food tastes.

Pottery Barn Cocktail Caddy Pool Float, $99
Gamla K3 Serving Tray, $135
Nineteen Ten Olive Wood Utensils, $15

Credit: Williams-Sonoma/Up Knörth

Shake and Pour

If you’re serving up something stronger than water, a drink made in a Mason Jar Cocktail Shaker by Vancouver’s Up Knörth is the perfect way to make sophisticated cocktails with a downhome backyard aesthetic.

Before you start pouring any drinks though, remember that if you’re serving by the pool, one of the fundamental rules is to steer clear of glass. It’s easy to avoid a catastrophe with DuraClear wineglasses made of tough polycarbonate that won’t shatter or crack.

Williams-Sonoma DuraClear Wine Glasses, $62.36
Up Knörth Mason Jar Cocktail Shaker, $34.95

Credit: President's Choice

Summer Sippers

You’ve got your tray and your glasses, now it’s time for the drinks. Lemonades, punches and frozen cocktails are essential for a successful summer get-together. Pre-mix your drink of choice and let the good times flow. (Recipes courtesy of President’s Choice.)

Sparkling Watermelon Refresher


  • 4 cups (1 L) PC® Sparkling Watermelon Lemon Soda
  • 1 can (355 mL) Ginger ale
  • 1 cup (250 mL) Old-fashioned lemonade with pulp
  • Half lemon
  • 4 large mint sprigs
  • 1 cups (1 L) ice cubes


  1. In large glass pitcher, stir together watermelon soda, ginger ale and lemonade. Add lemon slices, mint sprigs and ice cubes. Stir well and serve.

Makes 8 servings

Tropical Daiquiri

(pictured above)


  • 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) PC® Pineapple Coconut Water
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) white rum
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) fresh lime juice
  • Ice cubes


  1. Make Simple Syrup: In small saucepan, combine sugar and 1 cup (250 mL) water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer; cook for 5 minutes or until sugar is completely dissolved. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Half-fill cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Add coconut water, rum (omit if you want to make mocktails), lime juice and 2 tbsp (25 mL) of the simple syrup. Shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Strain into two martini or white wine glasses. Refrigerate remaining simple syrup for up to 2 weeks.

Makes 2 servings

Go Go Gadget Good Times

Who wouldn’t love a make-your-own popsicle station? The Zoku Quick Pop Maker will freeze your popsicles in just seven minutes, so set up a station with fruits, nuts, candy, yogurt, and juice and let guests make their own creations.

And of course it’s just not a party without music. Pick up an outdoor all-weather speaker from Future Shop and you’ll be prepared for outdoor entertaining at any time.

Bed Bath and Beyond Zoku Quick Pop Maker, $69.99
Future Shop Yamaha Outdoor Speaker System, $119.95

Credit: Knotty Toys

Fun and Games

There’s nothing like some backyard lawn games to inspire a healthy dose of competitive spirit in your guests. Keep the kids busy with a game of croquet that’s just their size made by Granville Island’s Knotty Toys.

For the adults, a spirited game of horseshoes is a timeless classic. You can take the fun into the pool with a “Cheer Pong” table from Canadian Tire, this inflatable table is the perfect way to play a timeless party game while keeping cool. 

Knotty Toys Croquet Set, $50
The Bay Horseshoes Game Set, $110
Canadian Tire Cheer Pong, $19.99

Credit: Flickr/veggiefrog and Frontgate

Party Lighting

There’s no need to stop the party just because the sun is going down. You can set the perfect mood with some ambient lighting. LED Glow Balls from Frontgate are waterproof and buoyant, making them the perfect way to give your pool a modern look. Their batteries last up to four hours and you can change the colour using a remote control.

If you’d like a more traditional option, then look no further than Vancouver-made beeswax candles by Noble and Co. Every candle is made of 100 per cent Canadian materials and beeswax is said to be a natural air purifier.

Frontgate LED Glow Balls, $89.53-190.32
Noble and Co. Tea Light Candles, $8.99