Labor Day Weekend's Sizzling Summer Barbeques (As Featured on ABC7 Morning News)

There is nothing more memorable than a fun, long holiday weekend party. But how do you throw the perfect end-of-summer Labor Day Barbeque bash?

Follow these 5 easy steps and you will be well on your way to throwing the ultimate final party of The Chicago summer season!

Top 5 Sizzling Holiday BBQ Tips

1.  Choose A Theme – for Decor, Menu, Etc….it creates a more fun and memorable event. This means not only cocktails and your menu, but also decor, color palettes, flowers and other festive details!

•    Regional Chicago BBQ theme, with burgers, brats, and Berghoff Beer.

•    Southern with ribs and cornbread.

•    Mexican with fajitas and flank steak.

•    Latin Fusion with sausages, shrimp, spicy peppers, and more.

2.  Candles, Candles, Candles…The Ultimate Party Decor Secret Weapon

Whether the event is inside or outside, candles make the event glow. The warm candlelight creates an intimate, elegant space even if you don’t have time for linens and flowers.  My secret is to use them in groupings—5 or more together for a cluster—to add maximum impact.

We cluster vintage lanterns in bold glass mosaic patterns down the tabletop. They look elegant and require no prep work—just add the tealight candles inside and light them before the party starts.  I love to use citronella tealights inside, which not only look great, but rid the party of bugs at the same time.

We also take about a dozen roses, break them up into petals, and cover the
tabletop down the center to create a dense, elegant floral detail.  It is so easy—it just takes a few minutes—and is very dramatic, yet cost effective.

3.  Serve A Specialty Cocktail – As guests arrive it immediately puts everyone at ease and creates excitement!

My tip is to serve Sparkling Sangria, which is a great new twist on an old cocktail favorite.  We use champagne instead of wine in the recipe to give it that extra touch.

Mix into a glass pitcher champagne or sparkling wine—Prosecco is my favorite—with Pomegranate Juice (filled with healthy antioxidants!) and chopped fruits.  You can use any of your favorites—apples, pears, oranges or peaches.

Another great cocktail secret is to create a Sangria Bar, with white sangria, red sangria, sparkling sangria…so guests can taste test and enjoy themselves.  Everyone loves getting and tasting new ideas!

4.  Food Stations and Buffets at Room Temperature – Allows you to precook and preset the entire event, so you can relax with your guests and enjoy the party.

There are so many great and delicious ways to prepare summer foods and you don’t have to go to culinary school to pull them off.  Try something new: A Latin-inspired menu is perfect for summer, as their best dishes are always suitable for hot weather. Serve up sausage and pepper pitas, spicy shrimp kabobs, arugula potato salad, cilantro corn salad and watermelon slices drizzled with honey and mint.

Perfect for summertime!

5.  Desserts Should Wow! End the evening on a high note – serve something unique and exciting.

This is a great dessert you can pre-make and throw in the freezer until you are ready to serve.

Take large wine glasses, fill with softened vanilla ice cream, pour on top fresh raspberries blended with honey and mint leaves, and finish with fresh peach slices.

Other easy and effortless dessert options: Brownies sprinkled with cinnamon, cinnamon sugar and paprika; and Mini phyllo tart shells filled with cream cheese, pepper jelly, freshly grated ginger and fresh mint.

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Just remember, summer is all about fun, laidback entertaining, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style.  Now that you have these easy tips to follow, all you have to worry about is what day to have everyone over!