How to Throw an Easy, Breezy Summer Iced Tea Party

August 14, 2017

We're here to help you throw the most inspired summer parties yet. We partnered with Pure Leaf Tea House Collection to bring you ideas so that you can entertain more thoughtfully.

There are fewer occasions more charming than a tea party. There’s the towering tiered cake stand filled with swoon-worthy financiers and perfect crustless bites; the vintage porcelain cup and saucer sets often accompanied by a regal, gleaming silver tea service; and perhaps even a jaunty floral arrangement to help set the scene.

Bring on the tea party. Photo by Bobbi Lin

Sure, high tea isn’t an everyday affair, but you don’t need a fancy excuse to replicate the tradition at home, with or without the pomp and circumstance. Take advantage of the casual summer season and host your own laid-back, refreshing iced tea party with friends. Here’s how we did it:

Set the table—or don’t

No need for starched and ironed white tablecloths here. Break out your favorite rumpled linen or textured seersucker tablecloth, or skip one altogether to show off your table’s true character.

Skip matchy-matchy

Forget that precious heirloom tea set and head to your neighborhood thrift shop or online vendors like eBay or Etsy for vintage glasses, goblets, and tumblers (the more mismatched the better!) to house those iced beverages. Pinkies down, please.

Make the food more approachable

Keep the crusts on those finger sandwiches and move beyond mini quiches in favor of more flavor-forward options, like Pimento Cheese Grilled Sandwiches with Bacon & Tomato and Scotch Eggs (perhaps even made with quail eggs to make them easier to eat by hand). Feel free to keep the scones (you need a vehicle for the clotted cream, after all) and liven them up with a savory take with this Cheesy Kale version.

Cool it down

It wouldn’t be a tea party without tea, naturally, but consider reaching for a few chilled varieties for a colder option during these hot summer days. While we’re at it, why not break open a bubbly and serve up a tea-based cocktail alongside?

Extra details

The vibe is down-to-earth and friendly, so turn on a playlist with a similar tone. Flowers are, of course, a beautiful detail; but instead of a tightly structured centerpiece, arrange loose wildflowers or an assortment of branches to set a more natural backdrop.

How would you throw a tea party during the summer months? Let us know in the comments.

We partnered with Pure Leaf Tea House Collection to bring you ideas for throwing the most inspired summer dinner parties yet. Try your hand at hosting a summery (iced) tea party—snag Pure Leaf Tea House Collection iced teas here.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Hana is a food writer/editor based in New York.

1 Comment

Matt August 14, 2017
High tea is certainly an everyday affair. It's just called dinner.

This article is confusing what parts of Scotland and Northern England call dinner with afternoon tea or cream tea.