As the days gradually get shorter and the perfect summer evenings roll in, we're spending the sweltering days inside planning and looking forward to the inevitable outdoor entertaining as summer begs us to gather and spend more time on patios, around pools, and enjoying outdoor living whenever the weather is right.
Outdoor Living Starts In the Kitchen
"Everyone ends up in the kitchen," the old adage goes. While entertaining guests or lounging with family outside in the summer months, it's important to organize your kitchen to make transitions easily from indoors to patios and vice versa.
Having plenty of serving trays to transport food, drinks, cutlery, and other meal essentials is a must. Keeping large serving plates accessible will also help cut down on time between grilling and plating.
If you really want to elevate your outdoor dining experience, consider keeping an empty bar cart handy to wheel out to the patio at a moment's notice.
Grilling At The Center
As living spaces move outdoors, our cooking is bound to follow. One great way to prepare is to dedicate a single drawer in the kitchen with all the essentials for grilling, including tongs, spatulas, skewers, fork, basting brush, meat thermometer, lighters, and bug spray. It's also a good idea to keep a dedicated grill apron and grilling gloves handy to help safely manage the food.
Saving counter space in the kitchen for sides and condiments will also help keep your key ingredients at room temperature while grilling is underway.
Drinks All Around
When preparing for an evening outside, it's important to keep plenty of cold drinks on hand beginning with a fully-stocked fridge. Our personal favorites involve a variety of beverages with a combination of sparkling waters, local beers, chilled wines, and a pitcher of tea.
If you're planning to entertain an entire party in the evening and you have limited space in your refrigerator, it's best to start getting drinks cold earlier in the day. Once the first round of cans and bottles are cold, throw them in a cooler with ice and begin chilling additional drinks to break out later in the evening.
If you're in a bind and need cold drinks fast, a great solution is to drape a damp towel around a bottle or can and simply place it in the freezer - after five to ten minutes, you'll have a drink cold enough to stand up to the most blistering outdoor temperatures.
Dedicated Glassware and Plates
Using traditional glassware and ceramic can be annoying and downright dangerous when enjoying beverages outside. One missed glass during cleanup or a careless maneuver can leave your favorite kitchen pieces shattered on the patio or littering your yard with hazardous shards.
Light, durable, and (of course) beautiful outdoor dining sets made from break-resistant materials like melamine are a must.
We love using unbreakable stemless, acrylic drinkware any time we relax outdoors with a drink in hand, especially lounging by the pool. Not only do they look like the real deal, but they're also shatterproof, scratch-resistant, and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
If you want to savor your drink in the heat, we recommend using insulated steel pint glasses and tumblers to keep it cooler longer.
Despite aspirations and plans for an evening outdoors, it's not always easy to predict when weather or circumstances will inspire outdoor dining. With a properly stocked and organized kitchen indoors, you can be ready for any impulse to enjoy outdoor living at a moment's notice.