If you’re looking for an excuse to have a party, why not celebrate the summer solstice? Although it may seem a little nontraditional, summer solstice parties are one of the oldest celebrations in the world. And the best part is that it’s super easy to throw and host a summer solstice party. We’ve got some great ideas for you if you need some inspiration!
What (And When) Is the Summer Solstice?
Like Thanksgiving and Labor Day, the date of the summer solstice changes from year to year.
However, in this case, the summer solstice depends on the sun's position instead of an arbitrary date (like how the first Monday in September is Labor Day). More specifically, the summer solstice happens when the sun is at its most northern position in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s also the first official day of summer and the longest day of the year, which definitely deserves some celebration!
The summer solstice usually falls between June 20th and 22nd for those above the equator (and between December 20th and 23rd for those below it). In 2022 and 2023, it occurs on June 21st. While those are weekdays, you can have a lowkey celebration that evening or the weekend before (to enjoy those long days of sunlight before they get shorter and shorter).
It’s impossible to know exactly how long the summer solstice has been celebrated, but if it’s any indication, many people believe Stonehenge (which is over 5000 years old) was made for exactly that purpose. Celebrating the solstices has been around nearly as long as we have been.
Summer Solstice Party Ideas
So, what exactly does one do at a summer solstice party? Unlike many other holidays with set traditions, a summer solstice party can look any way you want. The United States doesn’t have many of its own summer solstice traditions, but we love to take inspiration from and honor the way other cultures worldwide celebrate.
An excellent example of a culture steeped in summer solstice tradition is Sweden. Many Swedes head into the country to celebrate the holiday with their loved ones, getting themselves as close to nature as possible. In fact, walking barefoot (especially at dawn on the summer solstice) is thought to help guarantee good health for the rest of the year. Swedes also like to deck themselves out with homemade flower crowns and weave ribbons while dancing around the maypole.
Austria has an exciting tradition as well — solstice bonfires. The custom can be traced back to ancient tribal customs, and the bonfires are lit as a way to extend the summer solstice celebrations late into the night.
Another fun summer solstice tradition comes from Russia, an event known as Ivan Kupala with lengthy Christian and pagan origins. One of our favorite parts of this celebration is that many Russian children enjoy having water fights with each other and even throw water on people that pass by. People also believe that walking three times around a particular lake (Svetloyar Lake) can make their wishes a reality.
Why not incorporate any of those traditions if you’re looking for ways to throw a laidback summer solstice party? Have a water fight with your friends (consensually, of course — you don’t want to destroy any phones), make flower crowns, dance barefoot around a bonfire, or make a few wishes. You’ll feel free, can enjoy the summer with your loved ones, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot!
Summer Solstice Party Cocktails
Many summer holidays and get-togethers center around alcohol. While that’s sometimes fun in the moment, it can also lead to embarrassment and hangovers. That’s part of why we subscribe to the apéritif lifestyle and enjoy lower ABV drinks sipped (and not chugged) during long conversations with friends with no time limit.
Here are some of our favorite summer cocktails. As always, drink responsibly, especially if fire is involved!
The tequila sunrise may be a cocktail straight out of the 1970s, but we love its beautiful color and light, fruity flavor. It may be a little on the nose, but why celebrate summer solstice without a drink named after the sunrise? Tequila has a higher ABV than many other alcohols on our list, though, so enjoy it in moderation.
Here’s your shopping list:
- 2 ounces tequila Blanco
- 4 ounces fresh orange juice
- ¼ ounces cherry grenadine
Fill a highball glass with ice, and add tequila, followed by orange juice. Slowly pour the grenadine into the drink (pro tip: use the back of a spoon to disperse it more evenly) and watch as it sinks to the bottom. This sunrise effect is the most impressive part of the drink, so take your time! Garnish with a cherry or two and an orange slice.
Who doesn’t love a good spritz in the summer? This light, cool, refreshing cocktail is synonymous with warmer weather, making it the perfect drink to serve at a party celebrating the sun.
To make your own, you’ll need:
- 1.5 ounces Haus Lemon Lavender
- 0.5 ounces elderflower liqueur (like St. Germain)
- 0.5 ounces fresh lemon juice
- Soda or tonic water
Pour Haus Lemon Lavender, elderflower liqueur, and lemon juice into the cocktail glass of your choice (we prefer a coupe or highball glass) over ice and gently stir. Then simply top off with soda or tonic water to taste, sip, and enjoy!
We love a good sangria because it is endlessly customizable, especially if you love fruit in your cocktails. To make a summer sangria, we recommend starting with a white wine base, but feel free to play with the recipe until it tastes just like you like it.
Here’s an excellent place to start:
- 1 bottle (750 mL) white or sparkling wine
- A selection of fresh, summery fruits cut into wedges — lemons, limes, oranges, peaches, pineapple.
- 1 cup strawberries
- ½ cup lemonade or limeade
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3 ounces Haus Citrus Flower
- 2 cups chilled ginger ale or ginger beer
You’ll want to start with a large pitcher. Add the entire bottle of wine, then squeeze the juice of the lemon, lime and/or orange wedges into the pitcher. After making sure that all seeds have been removed and the outsides are clean, add the rest of the wedges as well. Follow with the peaches, the strawberries (after hulling and slicing), the lemonade or limeade, sugar, Haus Citrus Flower, and pineapple.
Stir and allow to chill in the refrigerator overnight to help meld the flavors.
When you’re ready to serve, add ice and ginger ale or ginger beer. You can also use chilled wine and serve immediately over ice, but the time in the fridge really helps infuse the sangria with the most summery flavor possible.
Mules are one of the most refreshing summer drinks, plus they’re served in those adorable copper mugs, which makes for great photo ops! But don’t just serve a basic Moscow Mule and call it a day. A summer solstice party deserves a summery mule, and we’ve got just the thing.
Here’s what you’ll need per mule:
- 2 ounces Haus Rose Rosé
- 0.5 ounces fresh lime juice
- 3 ounces chilled ginger beer
Fill your mule mug (or highball glass, if you don’t have them) with ice, then add the Haus Rose Rosé and lime juice. Stir briefly, then top with the ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wheel, if desired!
Strawberry Basil Smash
Strawberry season ends in June, so enjoy them while they’re sweet, fresh, and in season! One of our favorite ways to enjoy strawberries in a cocktail is by making a strawberry basil smash. This cocktail can fit easily into a summer solstice party or any other summer event.
Here’s your ingredient list to make four cocktails:
- 4 ounces Haus Strawberry Basil
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped into small pieces
- 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 cans grapefruit soda (like Fresca)
- 8 basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons sugar (or 2 tablespoons white sugar and 1 tablespoon red sugar if you prefer)
Rim your preferred cocktail glass (highball, martini, or margarita glasses work great here) with water and then sugar. In a separate bowl, smash ¾ cup of the strawberries and then add a tablespoon to the bottom of each glass.
Add the rest of the smashed strawberries to a shaker along with the Haus Strawberry Basil, lime juice, and ice. Shake thoroughly and divide between glasses, topping with grapefruit soda and garnishing with basil leaves and a strawberry slice.
If you’re looking for a new party theme this summer, look no further than a summer solstice party. The summer solstice is not only the longest day of the year but also a day for celebrating some of the best parts of this season. When you sip a cocktail by a bonfire with your closest friends and family, you spend the day as your ancestors may have. Life is short; sit back and take the time to enjoy it.