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BBQs, Bikinis & Brews: The Bachelor’s Guide to Summer 2018

couples in the poolThe days are longer. The nights are warmer. It’s time to gather all the barbecue essentials before the sun comes up and the clothes come off. From bikinis to brews, from Korean BBQ tacos to cool men’s bracelets, there are a million ways to kick off the hottest season of the year. Want to know what’s on the menu for 2018? We’ve compiled a list of the year’s top poolside trends. Here’s everything you need to host the most unforgettable summer smash.

Food Essentials

Every good party starts with good food, and a summer bash isn’t a summer bash without a grill, or a rotisserie, or a wood-fired oven, or whatever style of cooking floats your boat and makes your mouth water. 

  • • Start the Morning Right with a Barbecue Breakfast. Why wait until the stars come out for the party to start? In fact, why go to bed at all? If you’re throwing a multi-day bash, keep the barbecue fired up through the wee hours of the morning. When the sun comes up and the lightweights head off to bed, you can carry on with grilled pancakes, French toast, and smoky eggs.
  • If you think you might need some extra fuel for the day ahead, put together a plate of beer-can breakfast burgers; just watch out for the inevitable food coma—and don’t say we didn’t warn you.
couples drinking beer and bbqing
  • • Beyond Burgers. There’s more to outdoor cooking than burgers, hot dogs, and steaks. It’s a new year; time for new tastes. Ready to go beyond the conventional barbecue fare and set off on a culinary adventure? Think Korean BBQ tacos, turkey shawarma, Palestinian chicken, Kofte bites with honey yogurt dip, Merguez sausage, and much, much more. If you can think of it, you can probably grill it. Dialing the party up a notch means letting your imagination run wild … and finding the right recipe.
  • • Why Barbecue When You Can Rotisserie? Barbecuing is a time-honored tradition, but if you really want to be the envy of the bachelor world, try your hand at spit roasting. There’s a rotisserie renaissance going on, says Steven Raichlen of Barbecue Bible fame. Spit roasting is especially recommended if you want to cook large slabs of meat. Do it right, and they’ll be seared on the outside, yet succulent on the inside—and don’t stop with the meat. Throw in some fresh vegetables, a striped bass or two—even an entire pineapple.
  • • Wood-Fired Pizzas. For the pizza lovers out there, there’s a gourmet alternative to the barbecue: the wood-burning oven. Since artisan pizzas never go out of style, it’s a worthy investment and a cut above the traditional backyard setup. With perfectly crisped crust and all the custom toppings you could dream of, this patio addition should make everyone happy. Remember: Wood ovens don’t just cook pizzas. Throw in steak, fish, vegetables, bread—basically anything edible—and pull out an exquisite meal infused with a uniquely smoky flavor. 
pizza in wood fired stone oven

Drink Essentials

Throwing the best outdoor party requires some thought and planning. It also requires a killer drink list. Start off with some choice beers, and then make your way to the harder stuff as the night wears on.

  •  • Exotic Craft Ales – Craft breweries aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. That’s good news for beer lovers who embrace the more unusual flavors that continue to be a staple of smaller, more innovative brands. Need examples? How about a Key Lime Pie Gose from Westbrook, a chocolatey peanut porter from Fierce Beer, or a marshmallow-infused porter from Tiny Rebel. Not your style? The great thing about craft beer is that there are always plenty of options. 
  • • Low ABV Craft Beers – Think craft beer, and you think high alcohol content, right? Not so fast. Double IPAs aren’t the only item on the artisan menu. Smaller breweries are starting to offer ales that rein in the booziness, which is perfect if you want the craft taste without the extra kick, and that’s perfect for those who want to pace themselves for marathon parties in the summer sun.

three glasses of beer and pretzels

  • If easygoing isn’t your style, then you can always return to heady classics like Pliny the Elder, Russian River Co.’s legendary double IPA (if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a bottle, that is).
  • • The Summer Cocktail Lineup – A refreshing cocktail is just what the doctor ordered to ease the summer heat. The choices are nearly limitless. You can always start the day with the classics: strawberry frosés, tequila sunrise mimosas, coconut margaritas. 
  • Want a new twist on an old favorite? Make a mimosa float to put an adult spin on a childhood favorite. Need a boost to keep the party going all night? Try whiskey bottled with cold-brewed coffee. Finally, don’t rely too much on the usual suspects. Instead, take the time to explore local distilleries. Who knows? You might find some hidden gems. 

Wear Essentials

Hot pool wear isn’t reserved for the ladies. Men also need to up their game if they want to impress the crowds. Unfortunately, summer can be a difficult season. It means doing more with less. Fewer items mean less room for error.couples in pool drinking

  • • Men’s Designer BraceletsWhen you’re stripped down to the essentials (think swimming trunks), every detail matters. That’s where a well-placed accessory comes in. If you’re going to do it, though, do it right.
  • To accessorize the high-end way (and there really is no other way), stick with William Henry, which offers men’s fashion bracelets made out of solid Kevlar cords, featuring stainless steel beads set with bolt action clasps. Simple, understated, yet expertly crafted to the last detail out of the finest materials.
  • If you really want to up your game, there’s always braided leather bracelets with mokume gane fittings inspired by the hilts of traditional Samurai swords. If that’s not the essence of style, then nothing is.
  • • Men’s Money ClipsA fat wallet may help you afford the best summer bash of 2018, but it won’t look so good when it’s bulging out of your shorts. Men’s money clips are far more practical and far more stylish, as long as you get them from William Henry, which carries hand-carved clips made with forged metals and inlaid with unique materials such as Kingman turquoise.
  • • His Swimwear –There are many ways to rock the simple summer outfit, from traditional board shorts by Saturdays NYC to patterned swim shorts by Thorsun and Canali. In fact, there are so many options, you’re liable to grab the first pair you see and call it a day. Don’t. 
william henry silver and turquoise money clip
  • Unless you hibernate indoors when the sun comes out, a pair of dedicated swimming trunks will be the season’s centerpiece. Get the wrong pair, and you’ll spend many awkward hours in the sun wishing you had paid more attention. The good news is, there are swim trunks out there to fit every man’s style: coral prints, pineapple prints, elaborate prints, retro prints, turtle prints, flower prints, solid navy blue, seersucker shorts embroidered with lobsters, etc.
  • • Her Swimwear – Whether you’re shopping for her or shopping with her, it’s always good to stay up on the latest bikini trends. It certainly couldn’t hurt to know what’s in vogue and what’s not. Florals are back in style, nautical pieces never go out of style, and gelato hues are very right-now. Seersucker suits are also a popular option. If that doesn’t do it for her, head over to Swimwear World to get inspiration from the season’s finest two-pieces. 

No matter how you party, there’s a way to throw an unforgettable summer bash. Pay attention to the details, from the aperitifs to the accessories, and you should have no problem kicking off the season in style. Finally, listen to what the tastemakers have to say, gather inspiration, and then do it your way.

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