Summer parties usually mean one thing: backyard barbecues. And, while I love everything from a classic summer BBQ with burgers and dogs to a chef-style meal with roasted veggies and smoky main dishes, there are just so many other creative ways to host a summer celebration. Over the next few months I’ll be posting about alternative ways to enjoy al fresco entertaining, starting with this post on how to host a limoncello party.
Invite friends to spend an evening at your home Amalfi Coast–style! Start by creating a completely unique summer party invitation. For mine, I was instantly drawn to the bright yellow chevron stripes on Mixbook’s Classic Chevron thank-you card. So I clicked to customize it knowing I’d simply delete the thank-you text. Instead of the oval sticker on the front, I dropped in a great big lemon sticker, which I found simply by doing a quick search within the sticker tab. On the interior of this folded card I dropped in the recipe for limoncello so guests can get excited about the unique party activity. Then I used the bottom half of the card for party details, plus a few images of making limoncello. On the back of the card I placed another big happy slice of citrus.
Who wouldn’t be thrilled to get an invite like this in the mail? Everyone enjoys having an actual printed invitation they can prop up on the mantel or put up on the fridge in the weeks leading up to the party. It’s a tactile, visual reminder of fun in the future that you really miss out on when you send electronic invites.
My plan is to begin the party itself with guests picking lemons off the tree in my backyard. If you’re like most people and don’t have an actual lemon tree in your yard, simply buy a huge bag of lemons (at least 10—or even more for a fabulous centerpiece!). I got an authentic recipe for making limoncello written in Italian chicken scratch from a chef when I took a cooking class trip on the Amalfi Coast last summer, and Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe is pretty much exactly what my Italian chef-friend instructed me to do.
Simply have your lemons ready along with your vodka and sugar. Then get to work with your guests! Since limoncello takes a few weeks to develop, I use the card to clarify that we’ll be toasting with a batch that’s been made in advance.
After you’ve prepped your limoncello, move on to sharing an Italian white wine and antipasti. In the invitation, I asked friends to bring their favorite Italian appetizer, but I’ll also make sure to have an assortment of my favorites on hand. After wine and snacks, move on to sipping your premade limoncello digestif in the fresh evening air.
A lighthearted party like this—serving light fare and light refreshments—is perfect for capping off a hot summer day. Guests leave feeling light on their feet—and excited to take home a bottle of limoncello. They’ll also be happy to have your printed invitation that includes the recipe because chances are they’ll want to make a batch for themselves!
If you have any of the first batch left at the end of the evening, send guests home with a taste in a cute little hermetic bottle like these. Or, if you go through the first batch, drop off a bottle in a few weeks when the batch you made together is done!