In paid partnership withAbsolut® Juice

How Summer 2020 Taught Me That Porch Entertaining Is Here to Stay

published Sep 4, 2020
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Credit: Absolut Juice/Jess D'Amelio

Social distancing hasn’t replaced our need for socializing. “How We Gather Now” is Apartment Therapy’s look at how we’re finding safe new ways to get together in 2020, presented in partnership with Absolut Juice. We’ve heard about sunset cocktails on a city roof; focusing on what you can do; and celebrating even in times of crisis. Now, Tim rediscovers the simple joys of his own front porch…

Last year—during the “before” times—my fiancé and I moved to Athens, Georgia, for his new job, and we were pretty excited to get to live in a fun and musically-minded (R.E.M. and The B-52s got their start here!) Southern town and explore all it had to offer. But, well, you know…2020 has come with some curveballs.

Instead of going to see indie bands perform at local music venues every weekend, we’ve spent the summer mostly at home. As soon as the weather warmed up, we took to spending most evenings just chilling on the retro glider on the small front porch of our 1940s cottage. With drinks in hand, we spent most of our early summer evenings waving to neighbors walking by—probably something we wouldn’t exactly have chosen to do if we hadn’t been stuck at home.

But as it turned out (at least in our new neighborhood) we could meet almost all our neighbors and see friends just by relaxing on our front porch for a few hours each evening and waving hello. Porch waving, and eventually porch entertaining, quickly became our thing this summer. During any other summer, we would have invited friends over and retreated into the great (air-conditioned) indoors for drink or a meal. But with social distancing in place, spending time inside wasn’t really an option in our tiny cottage, even with close friends.

Instead, we’ve had friends over and set up a makeshift bar on our porch, with lawn chairs or picnic blankets and individual coolers for each couple who comes to visit out in the yard. We even bought a portable record player to make it feel really retro. I’ve been using our collection of Mason jars to package up individual servings of everything from crudités and hummus to homemade banana pudding, ostensibly to cut down on shared serving dishes but also because I soon realized prepping individual portions makes everyone feel like they’re coming to a fancy picnic, even if it’s really just in our yard.

In terms of drinks, we started experimenting with fruit shrubs during the height of berry and stone fruit season. Admittedly, there were some hits and some misses, but it’s been a fun experiment and it’s nice to offer something homemade. We’ve also discovered Absolut Juice, which absolutely tastes like fancy homemade infused vodka and only needs soda water to become an easy summer sipper. Our favorite is the Pear and Elderflower edition, with a crisp pear flavor and flowery undertones. It’s perfect treated just like a shrub—poured over lots of crushed ice and mixed with soda water—but also delicious in more sophisticated recipes.

Scrolling through Instagram, I’ve been pleasantly surprised that porch entertaining hasn’t just been a trend where we live, in Athens. My friends in New York City have found ways to bring their social lives to their outdoor spaces. There’s a lot to complain about right now, but none of us is complaining about the great 2020 comeback of porch entertaining.

Credit: Absolut Juice

Make an Absolut Juice Pear and Elderflower Spritz and discover the pleasures of front-porch entertaining!
Fill a wine glass with ice cubes. Add 1 part Absolut Juice Pear and Elderflower, 1 part soda water, and 1 part sparkling wine. Garnish with pear slices.