When it comes to summer soirées, you have to consider the elements—heat, bugs, feeding a crowd— and anything that makes entertaining easier is a must. To keep from breaking a sweat when hosting this summer, you’ll need a few tricks, like these must-try summer party hacks, up your sleeve. Most of these ideas are as practical as they are stylish, and some of them are just plain fun. If nothing else, they’ll be a conversation starter for your guests!

Related: Grilling for a crowd: Tips and over 10 easy recipes 


11 Brilliant Food & Drink Summer Party Hacks

1. Ready made cocktails: Nobody wants to be busy mixing drinks; it’s way more fun to be sipping them. This idea for Ready-Made Cocktails at The Chic (above) are a host’s dream. Stock up on mason jars and mix up fresh cocktails before the party starts, then serve them next to a bucket of ice. And, of course, make sure to label every jar that has a drink made with alcohol.


The ultimate summer party hack: a watermelon keg. Even if it's the only thing you make from scratch, the party will be a hit! | Grub Street

How to make a watermelon keg | Grub Street

2. Watermelon keg: Last summer, Liz fell for the idea of how to make a watermelon keg, and it’s no less amazing and impressive this year. Grub Street gives a step-by-step pictorial on how to do this, with a stellar vodka watermelon punch recipe included. It’s about time we put that drill to good use.


Some summer party hacks are silly and some are practical, like the Prevent Ice Cream Cone Drips with marshmallows idea at Instructables. Genius.

3. Stop pesky ice cream cone drips: Every parent can conjure up the image of their child streaked with chocolate drips from an ice cream cone. Arms, legs, and new t-shirt… all covered. This idea for how to prevent ice cream cone drips at Instructables is totally genius.

Related: 13 watermelon hacks and serving ideas you must try this summer.


Beat the heat with summer party hacks, like this idea for chilling beverages with frozen water balloons. | A Subtle Revelry
4. Water balloon ice bucket: Ditch the fast-melting ice cubes and fill up the cooler with frozen water balloons the way that Victoria at A Subtle Revelry does for a colorful and unexpected way to keep your drinks on ice.


Got a knife and a popsicle stick? If so, you can make one of our favorite summer party hacks for kids. | Nutrition Stripped

Watermelon Slice Popsicles | Nutrition Stripped

5. Easiest Popsicles ever: Why is it that kids go wild over anything that looks like a lollipop? Whatever the answer, I’m just glad it worked when my friend served the Watermelon Slice Pops that we found at Nutrition Stripped for dessert. All you need is a small paring knife, some Popsicle sticks, and voila! The excitement–and 10 minutes of silence–was golden.


Even Martha loves a good summer party hack. Check out her tip for making Pre-Buttered Corn a breeze. | Martha Stewart

6. Pre-buttered corn: Everyone loves serving corn on the cob at outdoor parties, but it’s the buttering that nudges this easy side dish into an annoying task. Check out the brilliant tip for large amounts of Pre-Buttered Corn at Martha Stewart. In my world, this is a summer party hacks. In Martha’s world, it’s an “outdoor party helpers.” Whatever works, I’m in.

Related: How to boil corn on the cob perfectly (the best method is not what you might think).


The best summer party hacks are ones that are stylish and practical. The DIY Flavoured Ice Cubes dress up drinks with both color and flavor. | The Girl On Bloor

7. Flavored ice cubes: Keep those refreshments cold and summery with the DIY Flavored Ice Cubes at The Girl on Bloor. I’m enamored with this idea for how easy and adaptable it is. Use fresh herbs, fresh or frozen fruit, coffee, or even chunks of watermelon to make flavored ice cubes that add a burst of color and taste.


The Portable Wine tray is an awesome summer party hack that allows you to get multiple drinks out to kids and adults quickly. | Someday I'll Learn

8. Portable wine tray: How clever is this portable wine tray at Someday I’ll Learn?! Using a muffin tin as a tray is festive and can help prevent spills. It’s a great idea for kids, too: I always feel like I’m rushing to get 8 kids’ drinks all at once and this could be the key to not running back and forth to the kitchen.


A gorgeous and unexpected summer party hack using lemons: turn the rinds in sorbet bowls! | A Proper Pinwheel

Lemon Dessert Bowls | The Proper Pinwheel

9. Lemon rind serving bowls: Bright in color and fresh in scent, lemons are a hostess’ secret weapon. Whether you use them to design a last minute centerpiece or to garnish drinks, we found 10 unexpected uses for lemons that are clutch. We especially love the idea spied on The Proper Pinwheel of using the rinds as disposable (and compostable!) cups for sorbet or ice cream.

Related: 10 unexpected uses for lemons, from the perfect pot of rice to relieving bug bites.

Do double dipping here! Individual Seven Layer Dips take the mess out of scooping from the same bowl. | The Girl Who Ate Everything

10. Easy to serve dip: The hostess in me loves how adorable these Individual Seven Layer Dips at The Girl Who Ate Everything are, and the mom in me loves how sanitary they are. No double dipping or messy platters involved—yes! Guests can simply enjoy and toss when finished. Easy peas-y, just how I like my summer parties.


11. Serve ice cream to a crowd… quickly: You may have seen the suggestion to pre-portion ice cream before guests arrive, keeping individual scoops frozen in the wells of a muffin tin until dessert time. That’s a great hack, for sure, but I’m also digging this idea for how to serve ice cream to a crowd at Real Simple because it doesn’t require any work ahead of time or the day of. Just grab the pint and a serrated knife, cut, peel and serve in a snap.