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Must-have items for your post-covid, friends reunion

From canned cocktails to the perfect playlist: Must-have items for your post-covid friends reunion

It’s been a long 1,274 months or so since last March when just about every big friends gathering had to be canceled to slow the spread of Covid-19. Birthday parties, spring break plans, weekend bonfires — all had to be postponed

The good news is that the light at the end of the tunnel is clearly visible from here on out thanks to a number of vaccines. And when it finally is safe, all of those postponements can finally be rescheduled. We’ve all got a lot of time to make up for, and only the perfect get together will suffice as we party like it’s 2019. There’s just one issue standing in the way: We’ve got to remember how, exactly, to throw said get-togethers.

Because your party planning skills probably need some dusting off, we’re here to remind you that you can’t just throw out some invites, lay out a couple of snacks, fill half of a cooler and call it good to go. You’ve got to throw a party with purpose. That means focusing on a few key elements: the right drinks, the right food, quality entertainment, and the perfect playlist. 

First and foremost: A well-stocked cooler of canned cocktails, beer, and wine

Many of us have been sipping something over these gathering-free days. Maybe you learned how to make a cocktail or two, or perhaps you found a new favorite craft beer. Those of us craving the taste of a quality cocktail without the hassle of making them ourselves have turned to canned cocktails thanks to a wide selection of Moscow Mules and other mixes out there these days. At a time when the biggest sense of excitement and novelty comes from new flavors, we’ve found welcome respite in innovative options like ready to drink Mexican mules with tequila as well as fiery, cinnamon-bourbon American mules.

When you’re ready for friends, you’re going to have to switch it up from what you would’ve kept in stock in the past. Buy your favorite standbys, but include as many new favorites as you can as well. One thing you shouldn’t do: try making all of the cocktails for each person. This is time best spent with good company, not shaking and stirring.

Don’t forget the food

To state the obvious, maybe it’s best to stay away from buffet-style serving or any communal finger foods. It could be a while before we attack a table of cheese and charcuterie with abandon. 

Instead, put some of those recipes you learned to good use (at least the ones that you aren’t completely sick of yet). Summer is just around the corner. Take the cooking outside and enjoy the great outdoors with some barbecue. Don’t forget the healthy options, either. And because restaurants still need support to make up for one of the hardest years for the industry on record, add a couple take-out options to the menu.

Keep entertainment on hand

Listen, there are some of us out there who will have to warm up our conversation skills again. That’s especially the case for holding multiple conversations at once or talking to a group larger than a partner and a dog.

Bring out the lawn games if you have the space for them. We’re talking full on horseshoes, or Polish horseshoes if you prefer to stick to something that’s drinking friendly and takes minimal set up. 

Games that encourage conversation will be helpful as well. Conversation cards might sound lame, but how else are you going to get someone to open up about their weird new routines? Anything to get people comfortable is a good choice.

Along with the entertainment is the perfect playlist. Keep it light — songs that you can sing karaoke to using your canned cocktail as a makeshift mic. Throwbacks are always welcome, but try your best to keep it fresh as possible. 

Whatever you do as soon as it’s safe to gather again, enjoy the moment and never take spending time with friends for granted again.