Recipes + Tips for a Fresh Summer Berry Cocktail Bar

Summer Berry Cocktail Bar Tips + Recipes 1 #AnAppealingPlan

The summer entertaining season is upon us and just as if mother nature could read our minds, so is the juicy summer berry season. How did she know? What a fantastic combination! And what better place to combine this match made in heaven than on the cocktail bar. Prepare to greet your warm weather revelers!

Join me as I walk you through setting up a welcoming Summer Berry Cocktail Bar.

Summer Berry Cocktail Bar Tips + Recipes #AnAppealingPlan

Strawberries. Blackberries, Blueberries and Red Raspberries placed in small bowls or low dishes, provide the perfect colors and flavors to add to your favorite spirit. Provide a large bowl of ice, a wooden muddler and plenty of rocks glasses.

Summer Berry Cocktail Bar Tips + Recipes #AnAppealingPlan

 Arrange a variety of fresh-cut citrus on a cutting board or plate for muddling together. Your guests tastes are sure to vary so provide 2-4 spirits including, vodka, rum, bourbon and gin. A few small arrangements of cuttings from the garden in Julep cups or clear juice glasses will liven up your bar and add to the festive summer display.

       Summer Berry Cocktail Bar Tips + Recipes #AnAppealingPlan



Vodka, Gin, Bourbon, Rum


Strawberries, Blueberries, Red or Yellow Raspberries, Blackberries


Lemon, Orange, Limes, Grapefruit


Ice bucket with ice, scooper for ice, wooden muddler, rocks glasses or other glass with solid base, Bitters, simple syrup, club soda, tonic water, sparkling water


Tray, napkins, Dusty Miller, Freesia {or other fresh cuttings from your garden}



A few of my favorite combinations include:

The Garden Party Sipper {Grapefruit + Gin}

Raspberry Rosemary Summer Sipper {Raspberry + Gin}

Tangerine Thyme Cocktail

Provence Lavender Cocktail


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XO – Krayl

Be sure to check out ALL of the #SundaySupper recipes featuring Summer Berries below.

Breakfast & Brunch

  • Angel Food French Toast with Blueberry Lemon Sauce by Neighborfood
  • Blueberry Lemon Baked Doughnuts by Small Wallet, Big Appetite
  • Blueberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal by Pies and Plots
  • Overnight Strawberry Stuffed French Toast by In The Kitchen With KP
  • The Best Blueberry Muffin by Supper For a Steal

Sweet & Savory Berry Recipes

  • Herbed Pork Tenderloin with Wild Blueberry Sauce by Noshing With The Nolands
  • Red, White, and Blue Chicken Salad by MarocMama
  • BBQ Strawberry Pizza by Jane’s Adventures in Dinner

Jams, Jelly, Sauces & More


Cocktails, Drinks & Smoothies

Party Planning

Summer Berry RecipesCheck back on Sunday for all of wonderful Summer Berries recipes! We’d love if you joined our #SundaySupper chat on Twitter too: we’ll tweet throughout the day and share all of our recipes. Then at 7:00pm EST we’ll start our weekly chat. Please jump in anytime and join us! To join in, just follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets. You can also check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more delicious recipes and photos.

Cinco vs Derby. Lime vs Mint. The battle continues.

Kentucky Derby or Cinco de Mayo? Mint Julep or Margarita? It is an age-old question leading up to the first weekend in May. Well OK, maybe not age-old but still, a question that I  have asked every year in May during my adult entertaining years.

Living in the North East most of my life Cinco de Mayo was my excuse to have a party and my kick off to summer. One month before the traditional Memorial Day weekend, I would send out the invite and pray for a warm sunny day to host friends for guacamole, salsa, margaritas and the always popular “Cinco Brownies” outside on the patio. Then one year, two friends RSVP’d to the invite that they would be late arriving due to a Derby Party! “What is this Derby you speak of? “ I asked. “The Kentucky Derby of course!” They quickly responded. Now of course I had heard of the Derby but never having attended an official party I had no idea it was such a big deal.

When they showed up dressed to the nine’s in their summer whites and fancy hats, I was suddenly torn. An excuse to get overly dressed up in summer attire, and then to also find out there is even a special drink with the main ingredient of Mint served in a fancy silver cup! Could there be a better way to kick off the summer entertaining season? It was too much for my hostess brain to handle.

This year, as it happens every so many years, the two fall on the exact same weekend and we are once again asked to choose. Cinco or Derby? Margarita or Julep? How can one decide? Perhaps we can create Derby de Mayo? Which one will YOU celebrate? In the comments below share which one if your favorite and how you will be celebrating this year.

In the meantime, as a good hostess would, I leave you with two cocktails. One recipe for the classic Mint Julep and the other my favorite twist on a Margarita, the Prickly Pear Margarita. Whichever  you choose please enjoy Safely!

{BONUS: looking for an arrangement for your Derby Celebration? Give you Julep cups double use with this classic centerpiece.}



Ingredients {serves 1}

  • 1 ounce minted simple syrup
  • 2 cups crushed ice
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • Fresh mint sprig, for garnish


In a silver Julep cup, add minted simple syrup, then 1 cup crushed ice, bourbon, and splash of water. Add enough of remaining ice to fill glass. Stir well, garnish with mint sprig and proper straw.



Ingredients {serves 4}

  • 8 ounces white tequila
  • 4 ounces Cointreau
  • 4 ounces cactus pear syrup
  • 2 ounces fresh lime juice
  • Crushed ice
  • Lime wedge, for garnish
  • Coarse salt, optional


Combine tequila, orange-flavored liqueur, cactus pear syrup, lime juice and ice in a shaker. Serve over ice in rocks glass and garnish with lime.

Placesettings Explained

Although we live in a less formal world where pretty much anything goes when it comes to setting your table, it is always best to start with a knowledge of the proper way to do anything. Once you understand the proper etiquette of how to set each place setting you can manipulate it to achieve your preferred style.

This image is a fantastic straight forward approach to learning the Formal and Informal versions.


This biggest change most people make to the Formal setting is reducing the number of glasses. Most do not have enough glasses or table space to allow for three per guest. In most situations one wine glass and a water glass will work just fine.

Next change would be the bread and butter plate & knife, and for similar reasons as the glassware, quantity and lack of space.

A tradition that is often skipped which will actually save you time and space in the long run is the dessert fork and coffee spoon placed above the plate. By placing these two pieces right from the start you have saved a step in between courses. After dinner simply clear all flatware on the sides of the plate, slide the dessert course flatware down to each side and you are ready to serve your pie!

As mentioned, our society is becoming less and less formal on a daily basis however, during the holidays I find it is nice to take a tip from the past and set the table with a slightly more formal touch.

My advice? Learn the rules first then bend them, do it well with purpose & beauty and your guests will not question you. {or at least you will have the knowledge to respond correctly if they do!}

Most important, Enjoy~ krayl

Vanilla Lemonade Sipper Recipe



1 part Mandarin Vodka

2 parts Vanilla Simple Syrup {see previous post for recipe}

3 parts Italian Sparkling Lemonade

Ice to chill

Lemon Zest for garnish

Tall Glass

Mix Simple Syrup, Vodka and Ice in shaker. Shake to chill. Pour into tall glass and top with Sparkling Lemonade. Top with Lemon Zest. Serve.

Looking for more…Previous Recipes include:

Basil Grapefruit SipperThyme Tangerine Fizz, Provence Lavender Cocktail., Vanilla Mint Soda Sipper

Enjoy ~ See you at the Garden Party ~ Krayl


kickstarter - AnAppealingPlan Book LeaderBoard passion to print large #CelebrateEveryday 728 x 90

Entertaining In the Heat: Video ABC


Getting together with friends and family is the perfect way to spend summer evenings and weekends but being aware of safety concerns will make you the ultimate host.

–          Keep in mind the ages of your guests and their needs; both young and old.

–          Consider moving your event inside when temperatures are expected to rise.

–          Plan your events in the morning or late afternoon when it is cooler.

–          Be aware of food safety concerns.  Only allow food to sit out for recommended times and temperatures.

–          Electric fans keep air circulating and the bugs away.

–          Offer non-alcoholic options and lots of chilled water.


The right theme can help tie the party together and if properly planned can be a fun way to beat the heat.

–          Ice. Ice. Baby.: Ask everyone to bring a bag of ice and drop it in the pool, to cool it down.

–          Made in the Shade: Provide umbrellas for your guests to use to shield the sun. Or have them bring their own from home.

–          Chillin’ and Grillin’: Keep the heat out of the kitchen by serving only grilled and chilled foods.

–          Glamping: Glamorous Camping is all the rage these days. Set the tone by using your china and crystal at a wooden picnic table, or in a tent! {Made famous by the ladies of BRAVO, of course}

–          Sunset Soiree: Start your party as the sun sets to beat the heat. This will also save you from having to provide a full dinner for your guests.



Your table, whether fully set or a buffet, is where your theme can really shine. Make sure your centerpiece and décor will look great until the final guest leaves by selecting options that will stand up to the heat.

–          Succulents

–          Woody Herb Bunches {Rosemary, Thyme}

–          Cut branches, large tropical leaves, summer hardy flowers

–          Fruits & Vegetables  {Lemon, Limes}

–          Flowers in small containers

–          Sprouts/Wheat grass


Seasonal entertaining is an example of working with what you have and making the most of what you are given. Each year the summer season brings about a new crop of trends from planners, designers, home-makers and crafters, showcasing the best of what it has to offer. Searching websites sites like and will give you new ideas for trends to incorporate into your gathering. Just a Few of the Latest:

–              Frozen ice pop cocktails

–              Berries frozen into ice cubes

–              Herb infused chilled water and Cocktails {Thyme, Vanilla, Rosemary, Lavender}

–              Melamine dinner plates in designer patterns

–              Outdoor Lanterns

–              Toned down flower arrangements


Relax and enjoy the time you have with you guests. No matter what they will have fun. Promise. ~

Vanilla Mint Soda Sipper Recipe



3 tablespoons Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup {recipe below}
6-8 fresh picked mint leaves, plus one sprig for garnish
tonic water
crushed Ice
berries for garnish
tall glass

Shady Tree in Your Favorite Garden


In a tall glass muddle the mint leaves together with Vanilla Simple Syrup. Add Ice to 3/4 of the glass. Fill glass with tonic/mineral water. Use shaker to mix all together. Pour back into tall glass. Drop a few berries in for color and insert Mint sprig for garnish. Find shady tree and sip.

1 oz Vodka can be added prior to the water over ice to chill.

{NOTE: I have been dying to try the FEVER-TREE Tonic water, I’m a sucker for packaging, what can I say.  But worried about the strong flavor I also tried it with San Pellegrino Mineral water and found I prefered the tonic. But it could also be great with ginger ale. So try both as well and let me know which one you prefer.}


2 cups water

1 cup sugar

1 whole Vanilla Bean

Heat water and sugar on high-medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Scrape seeds from inside the bean into mixture. Drop outside of bean into mixture. Stir occasionally leave to cool 1 hour. You may choose to strain out the seeds but I actually prefer the look of the natural dark seeds for most uses.

Looking for more…Previous Recipes include:

 Basil Grapefruit SipperThyme Tangerine Fizz or Provence Lavender Cocktail.

* * * * * * *

COVER-Krayl-An Appealing-Plan- FINAL-page1

And, if you are looking for even more ways to celebrate everyday check out An Appealing Plan the book.

Call it a trend or a return to the past, but I believe we are bringing back entertaining at home, lingering over a table after a lovingly prepared meal with friends. It has been a way of life and passion of mine my entire adult life, and I am thrilled to be able to invite you on this journey with me through a year of celebrating every day. Filled with recipes, tablescapes, floral inspiration and seasonal entertaining ideas An Appealing Plan :: A Year of Everyday Celebrations, is a dream come true for me a true honor to be able to share it with you. To learn more about An Appealing Plan :: A Year of Everyday Celebrations here. And of course, share how you are celebrating everyday.

Celebrating the 4th Of July Over the Years

The Fourth of July is one of those holidays that although I have {as we all do} gotten older, I can almost still recall past celebrations as if it was just last year. Middle School years living in Connecticut, one of our neighbors dads had a convertible and would start the day at 7AM driving around, top down blasting “The Star Spangled Banner”, “God Bless America” and other patriot tunes. The day would be spent at the above mentioned neighbors house for a BBQ complete with fireworks in the backyard. I can honestly still smell the sulfur from the Chinese Lantern that when lit twirled around, shooting various colors and whistles in all directions, finally slowing down for the crowd to clap and cheer.

High School evenings would be spent going to a friend or boyfriends BBQ and always ending at a large field with fireworks to rival the best of any city. You had to park what seemed a mile away and walk with your blanket to the best spot in the field. Again, I can still see the faces of my teenage friends in the glow of the bursting globes above us in the sky. And even feel the small pellets fall on us from the air.

Through college and my twenties, living in Delaware and Pennsylvania, heading to the Jersey shore was THE best place to be for the 4th. Just the anticipation was enough to make you lose your mind with excitement. What bathing suit will I wear, what towel to bring, I might need a long sleeve, who else will be down the shore, etc.. you can imagine. The smell of the salt air as you drove over the bridge to Avalon or Cape May or to Dewey or Rehoboth….nothing better in the world.

This year, no trips to the shore, a simple pool BBQ with friends, with of course a fabulous table, but there is still the same excitement. This morning I put out the flag on the porch, hung one on the pool gate {need to head out and collect a few more, not sure where they have gone since last season}. Pulled out the cupcake flags; plan on baking up a batch tomorrow morning first thing. Positioned the flag platter in just the right spot in the kitchen for visiting guests to see, it will need to be moved and take its place of honor on the tablescape. Removed the tags from my brand new flag bathing suit {somethings never change}. And it seems the local bar way down the street has begun festivities early. I can hear the band playing summer favorites and a few island tunes mixed in.

What a great time to be an American and to have the ability to celebrate all this country gives and allows us to do.

GOD BLESS AMERICA.  Cheers ~ Krayl

Raspberry Rosemary Summer Sipper

A big part of entertaining is being the best host you can be so, I always like to offer my guests a beverage to sip on during an event. So here is the Suggested Sip of the Week recipe, with alcohol and non-alcoholic versions.


Previous Recipes include: Basil Grapefruit Sipper, Thyme Tangerine Fizz or Provence Lavender Cocktail.

With muddled fresh rosemary, Raspberries, fresh squeezed lime and Bombay Sapphire Gin gives this cocktail an added burst of flavor. Slice a fresh raspberry and a sprig of rosemary for the festive garnish.


INGREDIENTS {makes 1 beverage}

  • 6-1o rosemary needles
  • 6 Fresh Raspberries
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 1/2 ounces Gin
  • Tonic Water to taste {start with 2 ounces}
  • Ice
  • Rosemary sprig, Berries & slice lime for garnish


  1. Muddle finely chopped rosemary leaves and 4 raspberries in a cocktail shaker. Add lime juice, simple syrup, and gin. Top with ice and shake vigorously. Pour into rocks glass over ice top with tonic water.
  2. Use the top of Rosemary sprig, sliced lime and berries for garnish.


If you are hosting your own Garden Party and still looking for final touches, theme ideas or entertaining questions in general, comment below and I am happy to provide a few tips! Contact me for more details.


What is your favorite Summer cocktail? Leave comment and let us know! It may be featured in an upcoming article.

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Cocktail Recipe: The Garden Party Sipper {#GardenPartyChat}

Tonight’s An Appealing Plan  #GardenPartyChat on Twitter {Wednesday 8P EST} topic will be Celebrating Fourth Of July. Seems pretty straight forward right? Problem is turns out we all have our own version of what this means. {Join us on twitter here}

As a proper host, I of course would like to offer my guests a beverage to sip on during the chat. So here is the Suggested Sip of the Week recipe, with alcohol and non-alcoholic versions. Not a fan of Grapefruit or Basil…other suggestions might be: Thyme Tangerine Fizz or Provence Lavender Cocktail.

The Garden Party Sipper

Juice of 1/4 Fresh Juicy Grapefruit

2 1/2 Ounces of Bombay Sapphire Gin

1 Tablespoon shredded Opal Basil

1 Tablespoon Lemon Peel infused Simple Syrup

Combine all ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously approx. 30-60 seconds to chill and break up the basil leaves. Pour in martini or other cocktail glass. {strain if preferred} Garnish with basil flower.


{Makes one good size cocktail}

Not partaking in alcohol these days? Mix everything but the Bombay in a tall glass half filled with H2O, add ice & straw and sip away.

Always a fan of the proper glass and servewear.. I thought I would share my newest love. Gold Barware! Do you love?

If you loved this share with your friends on Facebook and Tweet it out! Be sure to sign up below to receive weekly tips on living the life you deserve.

Happy Entertaining! ~ krayl

Tangerine Thyme Cocktail Recipe

If at first you don’t succeed try, try and try again. At least that was the theme for this Spring Herb inspired cocktail. Luckily we were heading to a friends’ home for the Cinco/Derby weekend and I would have a few people to play with me. Taste testing versions #1 & #2 till we agreed #3 was the ideal version of a beverage I had never before made but had agreed to use as my contribution to the newly formed Sunday Supper Movement. A group of bloggers committed to bringing the family and friends back to the table for the Sunday meal.

I had something close to a recipe in my head but needed to adjust as the local shop in Baltimore, Graul’s, did not offer the mixer I was hoping to use {I feel a version 4 & 5 coming on}. However the basics stayed the same.



* Thyme & Tangerine Infused Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar into 1 cup water over heat till sugar dsolves. {Make sure to watch as the sugar is likely to burn if you turn your head to say check the crushed ice maker is filled….}

Place 4-5 sprigs of fresh cut Thyme and about 1/4 tangerine peel to mixture. Continue to heat on low. Set aside to chill. {I found that if you leave this over night the Thyme flavor will really develop and adds much more to the flavor but play around with your preference level.}

Tangerine Thyme Refresher


{makes one cocktail}

  • 1-1 1/2 ounces of Gin
  • 3 Parts Tangerine Soda
  • 1 Part Thyme infused Simple Syrup
  • Sprig of Thyme & small amount of Thyme leaves for garnish
  • Tangerine Peel

After testing three versions –

* San Pelgrino Tangerine was the prefered decided to have the best fizz, and Tangerine flavor with out adding to much sweetness.

* Gin was preferred over Vodka even with the “Vodka Drinkers” and gave it the herbal quality I was looking for. But give it a try yourself if you are skeptical.

* Some asked for more fizz which could be added with Tonic or Club based on your taste

* edible flowers are optional but my taste testers comments made them worth it. “I don’t know how it tastes but it is beautiful” ; “I wouldn’t change a thing”

Try your own versions with your own taste testers and let me know what you think in the comments below!