Tonight marks the beginning of summer solstice, the longest day of the year for most of the Northern Hemisphere. People around the world will be ringing in the occasion with music, festivities and more (England, for example, will be flooded with travelers flocking to the ancient site of Stonehenge). Even if a pilgrimage to England, isn’t in the cards for you, it’s still possible to ring in the year’s longest day by gathering friends together for an ultra-casual outdoor celebration. Here’s what to eat and drink.
To Drink: Lots and Lots of Rosé (Plus Sangria)
The longest day of the year means you get to enjoy #RoséAllDay just a little bit longer. Stock up on your favorite blush wine—we love a dry Côtes de Provence—and more ice than you think you’ll need. Put the wine on double duty by having it also star in a summer rosé sangria with white cranberry juice, fresh summer berries and ripe stone fruit.
It’d be a pity to spend your official kickoff to summer stuck behind a stove, so avoid spending one more second in the kitchen than you need to. Buy the most beautiful veg you can find for this crudité platter—it can be any kind of produce, as long as it’s in season—and prep it outside while hanging out with friends.
The Perfect Primi: Fresh Spaghetti with Heirloom Tomatoes and Basil
This crowd-pleasing pasta dish is the ultimate lazy summer dinner: the uncooked tomatoes are gently warmed by the cooked pasta. If you’ve bought store-bought pasta, peak-season tomatoes, top-notch olive oil and authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, then you’re already 90 percent there.
A Fast and Easy Entree: Grilled Shrimp and Summer Squash
Shrimp are arguably the fastest-cooking protein, which makes them perfect when hungry diners have their eye on the grill. Serrano chile adds just the right amount of fire to this grilled shrimp and summer squash dish.
To End on a Sweet Note: Grilled Peaches with Cardamom Cream
Grilled stone fruit screams summertime without any of the advance prep work of ice cream or the fuss of homemade pie. Serve it alongside cream that’s been spiked with spice and a splash of liqueur.