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Summer Cocktails Mixology

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Enjoying a refreshing summer cocktail is a perfect way to cool down and relax on a hot summer day. But the preparation process can make a big difference in how a cocktail turns out. Read the fun cocktail facts below to learn some great tips to ensure your favorite summer cocktail is as spectacular as it should be.

lavender cocktail

Pre-freeze Glasses
Cocktails should ideally be the perfect temperature immediately after they’re mixed. A freezer-chilled cocktail glass will keep the cocktail at this ideal temperature for a longer time than a room temperature glass will, and even a bit longer than a glass that’s only been chilled with ice water.

Salt
Salt suppresses bitterness, making us better able to perceive other flavors. By adding salt to a cocktail that contains both bitter and sweet components, the sweetness in the liquor will become more intense.

In very small amounts, salt can also enhance the perception of sourness, and therefore the flavor of drinks with citrus. You only need a tiny amount, as too much salt will suppress the acidity and make the drink taste less appealing.

Egg Whites
Egg whites are used to add texture to a cocktail, making it rich and creamy, without affecting the taste or aroma. Cocktails with egg whites typically include citrus juice and sugar syrup. When the egg whites, made of mostly water and proteins, are whipped or shaken with these ingredients and the liquor, the tightly wound proteins begin to unravel. At the same time, tiny air bubbles are being folded into the egg white and a beautiful foam cap begins to form.

eggwhite cocktail

Just be sure to use eggs that are clean, unbroken and as fresh as possible in order to minimize the risk of bacterial contamination.

Ice Blocks Vs. Ice Cubes and Crushed Ice
Ice can be the difference between a perfectly balanced cocktail and a mediocre one. Usually bigger ice blocks melt much more slowly and keep liquid colder for longer but this isn’t always the case.

Whiskey glassWhen ice is exposed to air, it ends up cooling the atmosphere instead of the drink, resulting in a cocktail that’s more diluted without the benefit of being chilled more. Since small ice cubes and crushed ice tend to stay submerged as a drink is sipped, they’re preferable in cases where large ice won’t be fully immersed in the liquid.

Now that you’re equipped with some mixology science, get your blender ready and use this cool information to give your favorite summer cocktail more pizzazz. Need a few recommendations? Blue Plate’s cocktail, Rare Bird, is a wonderful summer treat!

Ingredients:
1 oz gin
2 oz peach lavender preserves
1/2 oz lavender simple syrup
1⁄2 oz lemon juice
2 oz sparkling white peach sake

Directions:
Combine ingredients and shake. Strain into champagne flute and top with sparkling white peach sake. Garnish with a lavender sprig!

7 Tips for a Successful Outdoor Wedding

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Whether your reception is going to be extravagant and take place on the property of a fancy venue, or be more of a low-key backyard affair, there’s a lot to plan for to ensure your outdoor wedding is a success. Here are seven useful tips to help you have the wedding of your dreams.

  1. State the Dress Code – People often associate outdoor affairs with casual attire. To avoid any confusion, be sure to let your guests know if your wedding will require formal, semi-formal, or casual dress.
  1. Have a Backup Plan – While everyone hopes for perfect weather on their wedding day, this is one area that’s unpredictable and out of anyone’s control. Be sure to have a tent, canopy, or other backup so you’ll be able to quickly and adequately cover your dance floor or patio in the event the weather isn’t as ideal as you were expecting.
    wedding reception outdoor
  1. Be Considerate with Seating – Have enough seating to accommodate elderly and handicapped guests, and everyone else who will need to give their feet a rest from time to time. You can rent chairs to provide a more formal feel for the ceremony and switch to a lounge type of seating area to create a more relaxed mood for the reception.
  1. Catering food for outdoor wedding Think About Your Menu – If you’re not planning a formal sit-down dinner, consider having a menu with bite-sized foods. Your guests will appreciate the convenience of food that’s not too messy and easy to handle when eating outside.
  1. Make Sure Power is AvailableYou’ll want to have enough outlets and power strips for lighting, music, and keeping food warm. Depending on what’s available and how much electricity you’ll require, you may need to rent a generator.
  1. Prepare for Bugs – Look into options to keep bugs at bay, such as citronella candles or bug repellent torches, so you and your guests can enjoy your wedding in peace from pests. It’s also a thoughtful idea to have a few “bug spray stations” featuring baskets filled with individually wrapped mosquito wipes or insect repellent wrist and ankle bands for guests to use.
    outdoor wedding lights and decor
  1. Set Up Mood Lighting – If your wedding will be going into the late evening, be sure to hang strands of lights or lanterns above the reception tables to create a beautifully romantic effect.

With a plan that factors in each of these components, you’ll be well prepared to avoid some of the most common inconveniences involved with outdoor weddings and be set to have a fabulous celebration that everyone will enjoy.

 

Seal the Meal: Guide to Perfect Corporate Meal Catering

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Planning catering for a corporate event is a big responsibility. Whether it’s an event for co-workers or executives, the last thing you want is to be the person who didn’t order enough food or totally forgot to include vegetarian-friendly options. While unseen circumstances arise, being prepared is key to executing a successful corporate meal.Take a look at the following infographic from Blue Plate Chicago for some tips on planning a catered event, as well as some sample meals that are perfect for different scenarios.

Corporate Catering Guide Infographic
Like this Infographic? Feel free to copy this code and put it on your own site.

Festive Fourth of July Desserts

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You can’t have a Fourth of July celebration without fireworks, great food and a lot of red, white, and blue. There are plenty of ways to incorporate the festivity of this holiday into your desserts, making it delightful for kids and adults alike.

Fourth of July Sparkler

Celebrate Independence Day with some of your grilled favorites and potluck side dishes, and be sure to include some of these patriotic sweet treats on your dessert table for everyone to enjoy:
Holiday Stars Salad – Use star shaped cookie cutters to shape delicious seasonal fruits into stars. A salad with watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew works really well for this occasion.

Strawberries and Blueberries Topped with Whipped Cream – Serve in individual dessert glasses for a simple but tasty treat! For a fancier twist, make a trifle layering cubes of pound cake, vanilla pudding or fresh whipped cream, and fresh strawberries and blueberries. Trifles present beautifully whether served in a trifle bowl or individual glasses.

Star shaped watermelon fourth of july

For another fruit based dessert, make skewers with alternating layers of strawberries, blueberries, and star-shaped pieces of pound cake (using a small star-shaped cookie cutter). Or you can forego the pound cake and have a vanilla yogurt dip for the fruit instead.

Patriotic Cupcakes

Patriotic Cupcakes – Cupcakes are always a hit and the serving size is perfect for everyone! You can get as creative as you want with these, from making vanilla cupcakes topped with strawberry buttercream frosting and blue sprinkles, to making red, white, and blue layered cupcakes.

Cheesecake – Cheesecake is scrumptious on its own but is always extra special when topped with fresh fruit. Seasonal berries, such as raspberries and blackberries, are a great choice to decorate this cake for a Fourth of July gathering.

Ice Cream – Top plain vanilla ice cream with red and blue sprinkles or, for some added fun, dip the sides of ice cream sandwiches into red and blue sprinkles.

And don’t forget to have a holiday beverage on your menu! Strawberry margaritas topped with frozen blueberries make for a festive drink that will help guests cool down and relax. Be sure to make a non-alcoholic batch of these frozen beverages so little ones and those who don’t drink can enjoy as well!

Desserts are always welcome at any occasion and, when you make any of these a part of your Fourth of July celebration, they’ll not only taste delicious, but also add to the festivity of the holiday. Happy Fourth of July!

5 Graduation Party Menu Ideas

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With school out and the arrival of summer, a graduation party is a great reason to celebrate with family and friends. But figuring out what to serve can make your head spin if you overthink it.

family party

One of the best places to start when creating a graduation party menu is to think about the graduate’s favorite foods and design a menu centered around that type of fare. Here are five menu ideas to help you plan a celebration with delicious, crowd-pleasing foods, including options for graduates who are pizza fans and dessert lovers.

1) Casual BBQ

  • Cobb Salad
  • Pulled Pork Sliders
  • Potato Salad
  • Baked Beans

2) Dinner Style

  • Spring Greens Salad
  • Spinach and Ricotta Baked Shells
  • Pork Tenderloin
  • Meatball Assortment (served with dipping sauces)

3) Simply Healthy

  • Seasonal Vegetable Crudite Tray
  • Assortment of Cheese and Crackers
  • Orzo Salad
  • Grilled Mediterranean Kabobs with Vegetables

4) Pizza Party

  • Chips and Dip
  • Chopped Italian Salad
  • Stromboli
  • Pizza*

*For variety, serve some gourmet pizzas in addition to the standard favorites.

5) A Dessert Affair

graduation party dessertsIf your graduate loves desserts, have a dessert only party that starts later in the evening. The options here are endless, from fancy fondues and pastries, to a make your own sundae or banana split bar. Just be sure to specify that it’s a dessert party on the invitations so your guests will know to eat dinner beforehand!

Whether your party will be “just desserts” or not, here are a few dessert options that are always a hit and great to include:

  • Cookie Assortment
  • Double Chocolate Brownies
  • Cheesecake
  • Seasonal Fruit Tray

And, if you have the time, homemade popsicles are a perfect addition to any summer graduation celebration. They can be made in advance and all guests are sure to enjoy this refreshing treat.

The Beverage Dilemma

punch bowl sangriaWith various age groups attending graduation parties, it can be challenging to decide what drinks to serve. Consider having a table with sangria or punch bowl beverages in lieu of a full bar. These types of drinks give you the option to serve alcohol-free or with some wine or spirits. And you can’t go wrong with some pitchers of water, iced tea, or lemonade.

These menu ideas should help you narrow down your food choices and make your graduation party planning a whole lot easier!  Thinking about catering? Direct from Blue Plate can customize your graduation menu. Contact us today!