Pools and summer parties go together. If you're tired of the same old beer and burgers barbecue, plan a luau party for adults instead. Use the Hawaiian motif through the food, decorations and drinks. Send the invitations attached to silk flower lei. Or pop them inside a plastic pineapple you've cut the top off.
A luau isn't a luau without pork, but a whole roast pig isn't feasible for most home luaus. But tender baby back ribs, bathed in a tangy sauce and roasted until the meat falls off the bone, certainly are. Pair the pork ribs with teriyaki steak kebabs and spicy shrimp, and you'll have something to please all your guests. Shred red and green cabbage. Add rice wine vinegar, a bit of brown sugar and mayonnaise, and a package of Ramen noodles to create crunchy Asian coleslaw. Hawaii is known for its pineapple, so serve pineapple upside down cake made with macadamia nuts for dessert.
Set the luau mood with bright colors, lush greenery and lots of flowers and fruit. Use brightly colored beach towels as table runners. Place big leaves over the runners, such as palm fronds. Fill glass vases with sand or shells. Place candles on top of the sand to light the patio area. Be generous using flowers in orange, bright pink, yellow and purple. Grass skirts are funky and scream luau. Use them as skirts for the tables and guests. Cover umbrellas with more grass skirts or palm fronds. A palm tree made from a base of stacked, hollowed-out pineapples topped with a silk fern provide a centerpiece for an abundant display of fresh fruit. Hungry guests can help themselves to papaya, mango slices, strawberries and kiwis while they wait for the main entree.
Mai Tai is one drink people think of when they think of a luau, but don't forget to serve nonalcoholic drinks as well. Pineapple juice mixed with club soda is refreshing, especially when served in hollowed out pineapples. Watermelon isn't tropical but it adds a healthy kick to punch served in a hollowed-out watermelon. Pile cans of soda and water in an empty birdbath filled with ice. White sangria made with mango juice takes on a tropical twist. Serve drinks with lots of fruit garnishes and little umbrellas. And you can't go wrong with pina coladas in coconut shells. Set up more than one drink station to avoid crowds.
Katie Jensen's first book was published in 2000. Since then she has written additional books as well as screenplays, website content and e-books. Rosehill holds a Master of Business Administration from Arizona State University. Her articles specialize in business and personal finance. Her passion includes cooking, eating and writing about food.