February is the shortest month, but it’s also the longest month. In November and December, the holiday spirit gets us through the coldest days and in January, well, January is my birthday month, so it’s generally pretty tolerable.
February is when people in Chicago start to wonder why they don’t live in Southern California and we all turn on the happy lights on our desk and frantically book flights to warm climates.
That’s why, during February in Chicago, you should do things that make you happy. Buy yourself flowers. Drink tea. Have parties. Host a tropical tea party.
Pick Your Theme
In college, my friends and I always used to make tropical drinks in the blender when the weather was terrible outside.
Hurricanes, snowstorms and non-stop rainy weekends all called for frozen margaritas or daiquiris.
Even though parties look a little different now than they did in college, it’s still a great idea to beat the winter blues by hosting a mid-winter afternoon get together with friends that put a smile on your face.
All you need to do is serve champagne, snacks and sweet treats — all with a summery twist.
At every party, there are three primary things you want to think about: the food, the drink and the decor.
There are other logistical things to consider, like who you’ll invite and whether you actually have enough space in your home for the number of people you invite, but those are just semantics.
When you have delicious food, beautiful decor and tasty cocktails, you’re going to have trouble convincing people to go home.
I love to host daytime parties…not just because I’m a food blogger and I appreciate the natural light.
It has something to do with the fact that two years ago, I turned 30 and parties that end after midnight and require multiple hours of clean-up start to lose their appeal.
An afternoon brunch or tea party is the perfect way to celebrate the end of the shortest long winter month.
Plan Your Menu
There is a stigma around tea parties, that they can be stuffy, old-fashioned and only offer up sweet treats. Instead of sticking with desserts, I opted to serve a variety of tiki-inspired snacks, like crab wontons, coconut crusted chicken tenders and vegetable egg rolls.
To put a tropical spin on a classic tea party favorite, we made chicken salad sandwiches on miniature croissants with mango preserves (though a sweet and savory mango chutney.
And even though sweet treats weren’t the focus, it certainly doesn’t hurt to offer up an array of cookies, biscotti and miniature scones.
I opted for double chocolate cookies, a simple raisin biscotti and lemon poppyseed scones.
I also love this lemon blueberry cake (or bread, if you want to call it that for guilt appeasement).
Stock Up on Teas & Accompaniments
Tea is the perfect beverage to serve at any soiree. Tea is delicious and it’s good for you.
The Lipton’s new black and herbal varieties and improved green teas refresh the tea experience with bold and stimulating flavors, such as Enticing Chai, Pure Green, Orange Passionfruit Jasmine and Peach Mango (check out the full line-up of Lipton Green, Black and Herbal tea flavors on Lipton’s website).
The multi-sensory teas refresh standard tea time, creating an exciting and unique tea-drinking experience.
Lipton’s updated green teas are light, delicious, have a light, fresh taste, bright clearer color and delightful aroma.
They’re available nationwide, which makes it easy to enjoy the uplifting and refreshing flavor in every sip of Lipton Green Tea.
My friends also loved the new Lipton Herbal Teas, specifically the Berry Hibiscus and Peach Mango flavors, which lend themselves well to bubbly spring beverages.
Peach Mango tea combined with a crisp, light white wine and a bubbly bottle of sparkling wine?
You have the perfect summer-y sangria.
- 4 cups water
- 2 tea bags Lipton Peach Mango Tea
- 1 mango, pitted and chopped
- 4 large strawberries, hulled, halved
- 1 cup fresh chopped pineapple
- 1 bottle sparkling white wine
- 1 bottle dry white wine
- Ice cubes
- Bring water to boil in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add tea bags; steep 3 minutes. Remove tea bags; pour tea into pitcher and cool. (Note: you can make this one day ahead of time, cover and refrigerate until you need it).
- Mix fruit in bowl and muddle, using a wooden spoon, until fruit begins to release juices. Transfer to pitcher and top with white wine and sparkling wine.
- Fill glasses with ice cubes and serve immediately.
For more inspiration for your tea party, check hash tag #LiptonTeaTime on Twitter or Instagram to see what other bloggers have brewing!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.