I love summer, but who doesn’t? There is just something about the season that puts everyone in a better, more adventurous mood. With it comes invites to the beach, pool parties, hikes, and my personal favorite: backyard BBQs.

I’ve teamed up with mike’s HARD Lemonade to share with you some of my all-time favorite backyard essentials for summer. This isn’t my entire list, but the five that I think are the key to having a successful outing in your backyard this summer.

1. Grill

Backyard Grill

Can you really have a killer get together without a grill? Perhaps in some parallel universe, just not mine.

Grills come in all sizes these days, so it won’t matter if you have a big outdoor space or just a tiny one. If you don’t mind spending some extra money, I recommend getting one with additional accessories, like warming plates, side burners and rotisseries.

BONUS: Try Graham Elliot’s Grilled Chicken with Watermelon Salsa Recipe

2. mike’s Hard Lemonade

mike's HARD Peach Lemonade

One of my all-time favorite beverages on a hot summer day is mike’s HARD Lemonade. In my opinion, nothing pairs better with BBQ food than an ice-cold mike’s HARD Peach Lemonade, HARD Watermelon Lemonade, or classic HARD Lemonade – the refreshing, tart flavor of the HARD lemonades really enhance the rich, smoky taste of many backyard BBQ favorites Pickup a few of your favorite mike’s flavors and throw it in a cooler with lots of ice and you’re all set knowing there’s sure to be a flavor everyone will enjoy

3. Insect Control

Tiki Torches

When you’re entertaining outdoors, the last thing you want to worry about are those pesky insects. Lucky for us Angelenos, mosquitos aren’t exactly an issue for us, but I’m originally from New Hampshire and know how much they can affect a backyard BBQ. Try placing citronella candles on your outdoor dining tables, or setup citronella tiki torches around your hosting area.

4. Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor Backyard Lighting

Make sure you’re prepared to convert your daytime get-together into a nighttime event with some good outdoor lighting. String lights add festive sparkle to a pergola, gazebo, or umbrella and help highlight your social and dining areas for guests. The aforementioned tiki torches also do a good job of setting a certain ambience. Lastly, a fire pit always makes for a great place to socialize, while sipping on a mike’s HARD Lemonade and cooking up some marshmallows.

5. Outdoor Games


Having a variety of outdoor games for your guests is a great way to set the tone for your BBQ. From horseshoes to cornhole to washers to bocce ball, all of these games are easy and a whole lot of fun to play. Best of all, most of them can be played with teams, so you can get more people in on the action.

Keep an eye out for more collaborative posts with mike’s HARD Lemonade throughout the summer. My next post will feature this year’s Boot Campaign, which you can learn more about here – http://www.bootcampaign.org/mikes

mike's Flavors of America

This post was sponsored by mike’s HARD Lemonade. All opinions are my own.