The Best Appetizers & Cocktails for a Garden Party
A homemade simple syrup fragrant with delicate rose petals is an easy way to elevate cocktail hour. Find dried rose petals online, or in the bulk herb section of well-stocked supermarkets and natural-foods stores.
Beef & Watercress Maki Rolls
For this healthy appetizer, make sure you don't get paper-thin roast beef--it's harder to work with. Instead, ask at the deli counter for medium-thick slices (number 3 on most meat slicers).
Lavender-Cucumber Gin & Tonic
Dried lavender flowers make a fast simple syrup perfect for dressing up a favorite cocktail standby, the good ol' gin and tonic.
Bacon-Wrapped Zucchini Fries
These delicious, low-carb "fries" are wrapped in bacon and baked in the oven until they achieve a nice crispy coating. To keep the coating crisp, serve them on a large plate or platter (not piled in a dish) alongside BBQ sauce, ranch dressing or your favorite sauce for dipping. Thinly sliced bacon works best in this recipe for easy wrapping.
You'll want to bring a pitcher of this white sangria to parties and potlucks all summer long. Fresh peaches look gorgeous in these delicious sparkling peach cocktails, but frozen peaches work too (and help keep your drink cool).
Grilled Prosciutto Peaches
We love these salty-sweet grilled peaches anytime the fruit is in season. Stuffed with goat cheese and honey, they work as a side, appetizer, or even dessert.
Soft Eggs with Green Goddess Dressing & Brown-Butter Breadcrumbs
For this showstopper of an appetizer, the custardy yolks of soft-cooked eggs are magically balanced with an amazing green goddess dressing and a crunchy brown-butter breadcrumb topping.
Amp up margarita night with a quick homemade simple syrup that packs a brilliant pink hue from dried hibiscus flowers. Serve with guacamole topped with pomegranate seeds and lime tortilla chips.
Carrot Dog Pigs in a Blanket
Carrots replace cocktail wieners in this healthy update of pigs in a blanket. Soaking the carrot "dogs" in a smoky marinade is the key to giving them that hot dog flavor, for a vegan app meat-eaters will love too. Serve with dipping sauces like honey mustard or ranch dressing to take these to the next level.
Steamed Artichokes with Herb Aioli
The simplest way to prep artichokes: cook them whole and eat your way to the tender heart leaf by leaf. And since these artichokes can be made ahead and served at room temperature, they're also perfect for entertaining.
Avocado Fries with Sriracha Aioli
Creamy avocados are a delicious foil to crunchy breading in this healthy oven-fried avocado fries recipe. Dip into spicy Sriracha dipping sauce for a flavor explosion. Save your ripe avocados for guacamole or toast--only firm ones will do when making these fries.
Roasted Beet Hummus
This vibrant hummus recipe couldn't be easier--just toss a few ingredients in the food processor and whir away! Roasted beets make this healthy dip extra flavorful. Serve with veggie chips, pita chips or crudités.
Classic Mint Juleps
These traditional mint juleps are a staple in the South--especially for the Kentucky Derby. Whip them up at home with this easy recipe.
Coconut Shrimp with Creamy Dipping Sauce
Our creamy, slightly spicy sauce pairs perfectly with this crispy coconut shrimp. The unsweetened coconut flakes get crunchy in the oven for the fried taste you love without the oily mess, plus they're better for you, too.
Crab & Pea Cakes with Sesame-Ginger Aioli
In this healthy crab cake recipe, the subtle sweetness of crab and peas is complemented with a pop of ginger and sesame oil in the aioli. Crab is available in a range of "grades." For a sweeter flavor and more toothsome bite in this appetizer, choose lump or jumbo. Most crabs from the U.S. and Canada are considered good choices for the environment.
Honey Buzz Cocktail
While gin lets the grapefruit shine through, this punch recipe also works with bourbon. Using the Angostura bitters is optional, but the cinnamon-clove flavor gives this drink a bit of holiday-appropriate spice.
Almost Chipotle's Guacamole
Make guacamole at home that tastes just like it came from Chipotle--but don't worry, our version won't be "extra"! This deliciously fresh guac is perfect for topping burrito bowls or tacos, or serve as an appetizer or healthy snack with tortilla chips and veggies.
Moscow Mule Cocktail
This refreshing cocktail features a combination of vodka, tangy lime and ginger beer, a nonalcoholic carbonated ginger beverage similar to ginger ale. This cocktail is traditionally served in a copper mug.
Point Reyes Toma Frico with Pea Puree
A frico is a cheese crisp that can be eaten plain or topped like a cracker. These are made with nutty, creamy and buttery Point Reyes Toma cheese from California's Marin County, but they're also delicious made with aged Gouda or Manchego cheese.
Margarita Ice Pops
Frozen push pops get an adult makeover with this boozy frozen treat recipe. Pour lightened-up homemade margarita mix into pop molds for a dessert version of a Mexican cocktail favorite.
Lemony Labneh with Pistachios
Lemon olive oil and lemon zest give this labneh dip a fresh, bright flavor. Labneh, the thick, slightly salty Middle Eastern strained yogurt, is easy to make at home with this recipe. Serve with cucumber slices or pita chips as a dip or use it as a sauce to top roasted vegetables or chicken.
In this red, white and blue sangria recipe, we've skipped the added sugar and used a slightly sparkling white wine, sweet dessert wine and tons of fresh fruit to create a delicious, yet healthy cocktail.