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Summer Sesh: Five Ways to Level Up a Legendary Kickback

How to throw a get-together that’s minimal hassle for maximum vibes.
By Marley Ng
December 04, 2023
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By Marley Ng
December 04, 2023
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in partnership with

Hosting season has arrived. Gather your mates for one last hurrah that will impress with minimal effort — because who needs more to do at this time of the year?

We've partnered with the legends at The Kraken Black Spiced Rum to put together some easy ideas for your next summer sesh, from simple snacks and refreshments to tips on keeping cool in the heat.

Whether you're just venturing into the world of hosting or are after some fresh ideas to spruce up your skills, you'll be primed to start throwing some dates in the group chat.

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Four people raising cans of Kraken RTDs.

SIP

Nothing says summer quite like sipping a cold one in the backyard. In addition to the usual sessionable favourites, you can't go wrong with some convenient canned tipple, so you're not running around topping up drinks or whipping up cocktail concoctions. 

The Kraken has released a new canned cocktail perfect for sipping on balmy afternoons. Featuring its signature spiced rum, the Kraken Caribbean Punch delivers a tropical hit of pineapple, mango and coconut. For a fruity, icy twist, add the premixed drink to a frozen fruit slushie of mango and coconut water or pineapple and mint. Other classic options by Kraken include the Black Spiced Rum and Cola, Black Spiced Rum and Dry Ginger Ale and Black Mojito mixes.

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Various appetisers on a dining table with glasses of wine.

EAT

Equally important is the spread. Cater to a wide range of preferences with snacks that guests can tailor to their tastes.

A taco bar, salad station or charcuterie board allow even the pickiest of eaters to put together a combination of bites they'll enjoy. Add an elevated twist by including refreshing summer salads like watermelon and haloumi or spicy marinated cucumber, or a baguette board with tinned fish, dips and pickles. All of these nibbles can be prepared well in advance. Plus, you won't face complaints when they're served at room temperature.

For more substantial fare that's still low effort, you can't go wrong with a rotisserie chook from your local chicken shop, which you can pair with salads, wraps or a baguette, or even a pizza kit from Hank's Hot Box that's delivered straight to your door. 

If you'd prefer to flex your grilling skills, keep it simple by purchasing pre-marinated cuts from the butcher or supermarket. Skewers are always great for variety and easy munching that'll cook in a flash. And don't underestimate the importance of a strong sauce. In a previous interview, Chin Chin's Executive Chef Benjamin Cooper shared his advice for pared-back hosting: "Less is more. Focus on simply cooked proteins or veg and spend your time on a wicked sauce or dressing." Not only will this save you on prep time, but it also means that you'll be able to enjoy your event.

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Cans of Kraken Caribbean Punch on ice.

COOL DOWN

It's all well and good to prepare an impressive feed, but the last thing your guests will want to do is eat if all they're feeling is the sweltering summer heat.

When in doubt, look to the freezer. Stash cut fruit in the freezer for chilled nibbles — grapes work exceptionally well — and use them instead of ice cubes to cool drinks without watering them down. Cups can also be stored in the freezer or fridge for refreshing sips.

Grab a facial spray, like Mario Badescu's Aloe, Cucumber and Green Tea, and keep it in the fridge or on ice for a fresh twist that serves the dual function of calming redness and making your skin glow.

Don't underestimate the power of a hand fan. Leave these scattered around for guests to use at their leisure — you can even include markers and stickers so friends can decorate their own to take home.

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PLAY

Your friends won't have any trouble keeping themselves entertained, but it's helpful to have some activities on hand for any awkward lulls in conversation, especially when you're mixing different groups of mates.

Don't want the activities to be a huge focus? Go laidback with a small paint-and-sip station with watercolours and drawing pads or small canvases and easels. Otherwise, you can pick up some tapered candles and coloured tealights (like these IKEA options) for dinner candles that your guests can paint and take home.

There's no shortage of zany games on TikTok, like Fear Pong. Set up a game of giant Tic Tac Toe with some strips of tape and different coloured cups, or get your hands on giant Jenga, bocce or cornhole from Sunnylife, Rebel Sport, Kmart or Big W. If you're keen to get even more active (and have ample space), go for a casual game of backyard cricket or table tennis.

And when all else fails, you can't go wrong with a deck of cards or a round of UNO.

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A group of people dancing under fairy lights in the backyard.

GROOVE

Don't overlook the power of a well-curated playlist, particularly when you've a crowd of different groups and ages. 

You could stick to a theme and build around it, whether it's this vibrant indie mix from Spotify, classic disco, chill hip hop or new jazz.

Or, mix it up with a variety of tunes and genres. Our Editorial Director's advice for pleasing a diverse audience? "The safest bet is to have a list of certified classics, recent bangers and cheesy guilty pleasures with a few surprise or little-known tracks mixed in that could get people talking." 

Either way, the key is to make sure the music isn't so loud or distracting that it overwhelms conversation. Even if you love deep house, it's hard to carry a convo over those throbbing beats — remember that you can always build up to firing up a dance floor later in the night.

The refreshing Caribbean Punch from The Kraken Black Spiced Rum is now available at your local bottle shop or online from Kraken's website

Published on December 04, 2023 by Marley Ng
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