The 4th of July is a great opportunity to invite friends to your Charleston apartment for a casual summer party. You might think that it’s impossible to throw a party in your apartment, but with a few of our tips and a little planning, you can host the perfect get-together in any space!
First decide how many people you want to invite and how much seating you will need. Move the furniture to create more space – place tables, sofas and chairs against the outer walls of your living room to create space while preserving seating and snacking areas. Use pillows, cushions, and bean bags to provide extra seating that can be moved easily and can create additional spaces for conversation.
Protect valuables and decorative items or furniture into bedrooms or and create more surfaces for snacks and plates. Designate a place where guests can leave bags and coats to keep clutter out of your entryway or from being placed on serving tables. Provide a place for your guests’ personal items where they won’t be handled by other guests or turned into a sleeping place for your pet.
Keep your menu simple by offering one signature cocktail, along with choices of wine or beer. Unless you enjoy playing bartender throughout a party, it’s a good idea to make a cocktail that can be mixed quickly or stored in the refrigerator for easy access. Use “drink charms” or markers to allow guests to label their drinks and keep track of their own glass. It’s always a good idea to keep some bottled beverages like beer or soda in the fridge for those who might not want a cocktail.
If you want to invite a large group of guests, a dinner party may be unrealistic in an apartment. Tapas and finger foods – menus made up of small bites – give your guests the ability to enjoy tasty treats without having to stand in a buffet style line or gather around a crowded table. Place food and treats all around the room: it’s easier for your guests to grab a bit to eat and provides motivation for guests to mingle as they try different dishes.
Stay with the theme of the season! Mini corn dogs and cocktail hot dogs are fun seasonal snacks for the 4th; watermelon wedges and corn bread make great sides. Grilled kebabs allow you to create summer flavor to please everyone’s tastes – grill tofu, chicken, shrimp, and beef kebabs and place them all around your party space, including a plate of veggie and fruit kebabs as companions. Stay inside with your guests rather being chained to the grill by pre-cooking your kebabs; you can keep them warm in the oven and put them out just before guests arrive. Ice cream sandwiches are fun and delicious for a no nonsense dessert (that won’t heat up the kitchen).
Most of all, have fun! Your guests want to spend time with you and your friends, so prepare food and drinks in advance so that you can relax and enjoy your party in your Charleston apartment.
Want to stage the perfect 4th party? Try our “Kebabs for All” recipe below!
Kebabs for All
1 Cup soy sauce
½ Cup molasses
1 hot red chile, chopped finely
¼ Cup Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp. fish sauce (optional)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger root
4 chicken breasts, skinned and deboned, cut into 2 inch chunks
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 filet mignon steaks, sliced thinly
2 packages extra firm tofu, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 package Button Mushrooms, scrubbed
2 small sweet onions, cut into eighths and sectioned (approx. 2 inch pieces)
2 bell peppers (red or green or both), cut into 2 inch pieces
1 pineapple, cut into 2 inch chunks
1 package of strawberries, cut in half
watermelon, cut into 2 inch chunks
Whisk all marinade ingredients together. Place chicken, shrimp, and beef skewers EACH in their own Ziploc bag and all other skewers can be marinated together. Divide marinade and add to bags so all skewers are covered and chill for 4-6 hours. If you prefer NOT to grill your fruit, you can skip marinating it as well.
Save unused marinade for basting.
Grill the tofu, veggie, and fruit skewers together, basting with the leftover marinade, for about 20 minutes, until the tofu is firm and charred and the onions are mostly softened. Place finished skewers in a warm oven (180 – 225 degrees) to keep them warm.
Baste and cook the chicken skewers, about 12-15 minutes or until cooked through. Baste and cook the beef skewers, depending on doneness desired, 6-12 minutes, and the shrimp will only need about 3-4 minutes – if you time your skewers properly, they can be done all at the same time.
Keep skewers warm in your oven until ready to serve. You can serve them with dipping sauces like ketchup, Ponzu, peanut sauce, or spicy mustard – get creative and try some of the more interesting sauces from the “international” section of your grocery store. If you have unused marinade, you can heat it in a saucepan just until it starts to bubble to make a yummy dipping sauce; if you add a dollop of tahini or peanut butter, it’s even more interesting.