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Spring Bites n’ Bashes: How to Throw Garden Party in the City

Ah, springtime. The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and you can’t help but feel the inevitable sense of optimism that comes along with the start of a new season (or maybe just the fact that we survived another New York City winter). This Sunday, March 20, is the first official spring day of 2016, and what better way to celebrate the season than by throwing a celebratory garden party? No garden you say? No problem! We know that lush green lawns and big backyards are hard to come by in the city that never sleeps, but nevertheless, your garden party will be an updated spin on a classic theme. Think: urban chic aesthetic! So break out your favorite warm weather get ups, brew some ice tea and get ready to party! (Garden-style, that is)


The first thing to plan out when entertaining is the menu. At Deborah Miller Catering and Events, we always make sure to ask our clients first and foremost what kind of menu they have in mind. Whether it’s passed hors d’oeuvres or a formal sit down dinner, determine what kind of atmosphere you want your get-together to be and the rest will fall into place!

For your garden party fare, incorporate the smells and taste of the season by using fresh, garden-based ingredients like herbs and vegetables. We love a roasted raw beet salad with fresh brussel sprouts from the farmer’s market and edible flowers. A fresh, simple salad of baby lettuce and herbs with shaved beets, sunflower sprouts and toasted walnuts pairs perfectly with some fresh lemon and extra virgin olive oil for dressing. As a fun alternative, we also love thinly sliced beets with sautéed sugar snap pees. (Also good raw). Compared to winter or fall months, and as the weather warms up and the days grow longer, the need to simplify goes into full effect. The spring and summer months call for a “less is more” mentality, which means that often the simplest of ingredients yield the best results. For other small bites, you can’t go wrong with a decorated plate of olives, grapes, pomegranate seeds, and nuts with different kinds of cheese. When we are working with clients on cocktail parties or fun seasonal get-togethers, both corporate and private, having passed d’oeuvres is always a great idea. Everyone loves to “nosh,” so serving a handful of light, seasonally inspired bites is a definite do in our book.


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After dinner, play up your party’s whimsical floral theme and feature garden-approved decadent desserts. You can never go wrong with a lemon poppy seed pound cake that’s both fresh, light and just the right amount of zest. For some sweet treats, a classic cookie platter with fun, pink or light-frosted bites will have your guests heading back for seconds

When it comes to your garden-party libations, infusing your spirits with herbs or other seasonal ingredients is a fun, easy way to welcome in the spring season. We love the look of a chic cocktail bar packed with botanical gin and rose-infused syrup.

 Earl Grey Infused Gin Cocktail:
1.5 oz simple syrup
1.5 oz lemon juice
3 oz Earl Grey infused gin
3 ice cubes
club soda-dried rose tea buds (optional)

 For your guests who prefer wine to gin, a classic spring sangria is the perfect springtime libation. Made with fresh mint and dill, it’s surprisingly flavorful and a crisp take on an old favorite. Finally, for a nonalcoholic beverage, an easy to brew herbal ice tea and lemonade combination (otherwise known as an Arnold Palmer) is a tried and true warm weather hit.

Spring Sangria 
1 bottle white wine
1 1/4 cups passion fruit juice
1⁄4 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup white grapes, seeded and halved
1 cup) Muscat grapes, seeded and halved
1 pear, cored and thinly sliced
2 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
2 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
Ice for serving



For the presentation or décor, there are only a few things to keep in mind. The good news is that all that’s required for a springtime garden party is a gorgeous New York City afternoon. Your city or skyline backdrop amongst the seasonal, fresh bubbles and bites is perfect in and of itself. Of course, our events division still has some tips to complete your party look:



First, what kind of serving pieces do you want to use? Recently our team has been loving a natural wood or bamboo look, which compliments a brightly colored centerpiece or floral arrangement. For your garden party cocktails, we found these Rosy-cheeked coupes—the perfect blush colored glass for any spring and summer event. Finally, make sure to have fun! The whole idea behind a successful fete is to enjoy oneself with wonderful company. Revel in the fact that spring has sprung (well, is about to) and that outdoor entertaining season has commenced!



If you’re hungry for more, check back next week on the blog when talk about some of our favorite unexpected salad combinations, and how to incorporate fresh, seasonal ingredients into your favorite types of greens. Kale yeah. 


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