Bears hibernate. Humans don’t. After this winter essentially sapped our collective will to live, a delayed spring is finally making itself known. We’ve gone 24 whole hours without snow. V for Victory!
So, now that your allergies are back and baseball is on 10 channels simultaneously and endlessly, how do you really get back into that springtime groove? You throw a party.
To some, spring kickoff conjures up images of kegs being loaded into a Z71 with a Ducks Unlimited sticker en route to “the house.” You’re past that, generally. We can’t do it as big anymore, but we can do it just as well.
These three things very strongly associate with spring: outdoor cooking, early-evening sun and wearing shorts in the afternoon only to be cold a few hours later. To residents of those wonderful year-round summer locales, that last one sounds bad. Actually, it’s awesome. Nothing suits the thrill of showing off blindingly pale post-winter calves like a spring sundown’s invigorating dip into the low 50s.
The prototype spring party would incorporate all these things. Go for a mid-afternoon start, so your guests can talk about “all the errands I ran this morning,” “how fulfilling my run was,” or “I was so messed up last night, I got out of bed half-an-hour ago.” Then you’ve got a few solid hours of sunlight to bask in.
Food and drink are essential. If you don’t have a grill, get one. A kettle grill filled with real lump charcoal is the way to go. It runs hotter, the flavor is way better and lump coals don’t have that chemical smell. You also avoid becoming an involuntary NASCAR billboard, walking home from the store with a bag of Kingsford. That’s a personal choice, though. Invest in a charcoal chimney. They’re not expensive, and they’re grilling’s signature “set it and forget it” tool. Load the coals in the top, crumple a few pages of a periodical you get delivered (but only read digitally) in the bottom, and light the paper. The coals will be cook-ready before you’ve offered your guests their drinks.
That brings us to (can you guess?) drinks. There’s a lot of room for interpretation here. Freezing-cold domestic light beer is a safe and solid choice. If you and your invitees share a group subscription to Hops Monthly, definitely indulge that enthusiasm. With regard to cocktails, the gin and tonic is really the only spring drink you need. If you’re going to have the ingredients for one mixed drink, G&T should be it. But whatever you get, make sure it’s abundant.
One of spring’s finest qualities is that it provides its own ambience. Don’t worry about decoration. Everyone will be so refreshed just to be outside. The season provides blossoming flowers, fresh scents and clear skies. After a punishing winter, what more could you ask for? Maybe a good soundtrack, but not much else.
Have some solid background music to keep the energy up. This is flexible, but some upbeat tunes keep the vibes good and light. Make your best effort to prevent people from guest DJing (it’s just annoying).
As a bonus, here’s a formerly top-secret burger recipe. Won’t tell you where it’s from, but supposedly the President of the United States himself likes it.
Ingredients: Bacon, Jalapenos, White Onion, Garlic Powder, Salt, Worcestershire Sauce, Frank’s Red Hot, Honey, Paprika, Pepper Jack Cheese, 85% Lean Ground Beef.
Steps: Fry up bacon and onions. Remove from heat, add Jalapenos, and chop them all up. Mix all ingredients aside from cheese in a large bowl to taste. (It may take a few tries, but no matter what, it tastes great.) Make patties, grill, add cheese and serve.
There you go. Invite your friends, feed them well and spring into spring!
Michael Nissenbaum is a lawyer by day (and night), and a writer by night (and day). You can follow him on Twitter @gnarsenbaum.
Photography by monkeybusinessimages/Thinkstock