This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sparkling Ice. All opinions are 100% mine.

Prime outdoor entertaining season is right around the corner here in San Diego. One thing I’m going to make a conscious effort to fix is the fact that we rarely ever have people over on a whim anymore. I don’t do it because I don’t feel ready. And, I should be ready.

This doesn’t mean keeping a fridge stocked with food, necessarily. It means quick access to easy drinks, a routine I can dial up last-minute and a great spontaneous attitude. But, of course, I Googled last-minute entertaining tips to see what other people do and am also going to share what I found. This is how I’m going to #FlavorUp my summer.

Have Accessories

The easiest drink accessories in the world to have on hand is a case of mason jars and colorful straws with matching napkins. I picked the latter two up at our local discount store. I also have a mental list of go-to platters in the house to arrange a simple cheese plate or any other quick hors-d’oeuvres on.

Keep Drinks on Hand

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We try to keep a stash of fun drinks on hand. Recently, Sparkling Ice’s line of waters, teas, and lemonades have crossed my radar as good options in our health-conscious part of the world. Our friends and my daughter even like them. They have over 20 flavors bursting with real fruit flavor, just the right amount of fizz and have great, refreshing taste without all of the calories. In fact, there are zero calories, to be precise. Flavor Up your summer with Sparkling Ice (#FlavorUp) is a movement to encourage people to be a little spontaneous this summer so that you can do more, live more and experience more.

Serve drinks in festive glassware such as the aforementioned mason jars with straws and you’ll be good to go.

Create a House Cocktail

I’m going to give some thought to this clever idea actually. Think of a simple, yet festive cocktail that you can keep ingredients on hand for at all times. Our house cocktail is wine, which we always have a stash of, but a splash of vodka into juice or even Sparkling Ice Lemonade with a little herbal or fruit garnish will do the trick.

Grow an Herb Garden

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Speaking of herbs, they can elevate a drink from boring to interesting in a jiffy. Rosemary, mint and even basil do well in lemonade or plain water. We keep a carafe of water infused with herbs or fruit in the fridge at all times.

Plus, herbs can be added to salads and as a garnish to platters. My daughter takes care of our herb garden actually. I need to remember to tap the garden more often than we do, however.

Keep the House Tidy

I am guilty of letting things go longer than I should. A neighbor stopping over when things are disheveled is the worst. The way to feel better about this is to not let things get untidy to the point where you don’t want people stopping by.

Keep Emergency Appetizers on Hand

Frozen dim sum, egg rolls, and spanakopita are really easy to heat up last minute. Also, hard cheeses tend to store for longer periods of time in the refrigerator than brie. Cured meats have longevity, too. And, remember that take-out is always an option (perhaps keep favorite menus handy).

Don’t Apologize

Seriously, it’s last-minute. No one expects a seven-course formal meal. Friendship is more important. Break down the barrier and invite your neighbors over… now.

tips for entertaining last minute guests

This is how I’m going to #FlavorUp my summer? How will you add spontaneity to yours?

Katie Dillon headshot

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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