ISSUE 86  |  To the Beach

Summer Party Ideas: Cocktails and Caramel Corn

August 23, 2013 10:00 AM

BY Michelle Slatalla

 We’ve been big fans of Brooklyn baker Hannah Kirshner ever since she taught us to make Perfect Cold Brew Coffee. In the new Corner Store Entertaining issue of her Sweets and Bitters Quarterly cookbook, she lays out a plan for throwing an instant summer cocktail party. Try it tonight:

Above: The menu includes summer cocktails–martinis, Tom Collinses, and daquiris–and the sort of retro appetizers your mother made for a reason; everybody likes caramel corn, fried chickpeas, pimento cheese, and homemade onion dip. 

Says Kirshner: “Cocktail parties can truly be corner store entertaining (especially if you keep a well-stocked bar), and yet they always feel classy and festive.”

Above: Did we forget to mention you need colorful straws? Trust us on this.

Hannah Kirshner’s Tom Collins 


  • 2 ounces London dry gin
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • Soda, to taste (about 2-3 ounces)
  • Lemon twist or slice

Combine the first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker, fill it to the brim with ice, seal, and shake hard until nearly too cold to touch. Strain into a tall glass over fresh ice. Top with the soda and garnish with the twist or slice of lemon.

Above: Ah, yes, the caramel corn. “Popcorn is delicious…buy who are we kidding? This is a cocktail party! So I suggest you drench it in a buttery, spicy, crunch caramel coating,” says Kirshner.

Above: For a full list of ingredients and step-by-step instructions to make caramel corn and Kirshner’s other cocktail party appetizers, go to Sweets and Bitters. The Corner Store Entertaining edition is $16; Gardenista readers will get a 10 percent discount through the end of August; use coupon code GARDENISTA at checkout.

For more of our favorite Sweets and Bitters recipes, see Required Reading: Sweets and Bitters Quarterly.