How to Make the Hottest Days of Summer Extra Cool

Just saying, canned beverages won’t get watered down.

SHUTTERSTOCK/DESIGN BY KELLY MILLINGTON

It seems like all year long we count down the days until summer gets here… until the average daily temp is above 95 degrees. Instead of spending all of the season’s dog days cooped up inside next to the air conditioner, we rounded up a few ways to make a backyard barbecue or beach day a bit more comfortable. From what to wear to what to drink to how to keep guests from getting too sweaty, we broke down some simple tips to stay cool ‘til Labor Day below.

Lean into the “Coastal Grandmother” vibe

2022 is the summer of the “Coastal Grandmother” — meaning that beachy, laid-back pieces that are both practical and chic are very much in — so make it the theme for the day. We’re talking big floppy hats to keep the sun off your face, breezy sundresses, and resort wear in breathable (or even better, moisture-wicking) fabrics for most backyard barbecues and weekends away. The best part? These pieces are all designed to be worn when the weather is at its warmest. When hosting, you can lean into the trend even more with nostalgic paper fans, or even a few parasols if your hang spot doesn’t offer a lot of shade.

Set up a sprinkler for the party

No pool in the backyard? A sprinkler is a $20 (or less!) investment that will help guests cool down. If using an oscillating option, guests won’t even need a bathing suit, as a quick misting will help keep folks from getting too sweaty, and will dry quickly. It’s a much chiller vibe than an adult slip and slide, and packs the added bonus of watering your plants.

Serve some margs

When the sun is shining, nothing's better than a cold one — a margarita, that is. Thanks to the citrus-y lime juice and sweet agave, margs are the quintessential summer drink. A pitcher of them is going to get watered down pretty quickly on a sweltering day, though, which is why we suggest a canned option like Lone River's margarita style Ranch Rita's instead. Lone River was founded in West Texas, where they certainly know a thing or two about America’s favorite cocktail, and the brand's take on the margarita delivers on the classic marg flavors (with fewer calories) and is super convenient to serve. Plus, there’s no need for ice cubes.

Freeze some towels

At the end of hot yoga classes, instructors typically pass out frozen hand towels to help cool down participants during savasana (the restful, final movement of any yoga class.) And while these feel luxurious after a good sweat in a 100-degree room, they’re actually incredibly easy to create at home. Just fill a bowl with cold water and a few dabs of essential oils (eucalyptus is great for a summer daytime hang) and submerge the towels in it. Ring out excess water, fold them, and pop them in the freezer. Then, hand them out to guests when it gets extra spicy outside.

Chill your food and drinks

We’re obviously big advocates for grilling. But, those of us who grill frequently know it’s pretty steamy standing over a live fire in the hot sun. So, if you’re dining al fresco, you may want to lean into chilled dishes instead: ceviche and gazpacho are elevated and served cold (not to mention easy to make ahead) while cold noodle bowls and salads with fresh summer produce are a bit more lowkey. When it comes to drinks, stick any glassware in the freezer to keep ice water cold for longer. For ready to drink canned options, like Lone River Ranch Rita, pack the cooler tightly with plenty of cans and ice to keep everything cold for as long as possible.

Make freshening up a breeze

Getting sweaty on a hot day is just inevitable. Guests will be a bit more comfortable if it’s easy to refresh, so keep an aerosol deodorant, some extra hairspray, baby powder, and even body wipes easily accessible in the bathroom. (If you have the space, just keep it right on the sink so guests know it’s free to use.) Outside, (or if you’re at the beach) keep the sunscreen in the cooler: this way when guests reapply, they get a little relief from the heat too.

Embrace nighttime hangs

This is so simple it’s actually brilliant: schedule your beach day or barbecue for the early evening or at night, rather than the afternoon, when the sun is at its strongest. Make plans for a bonfire or outdoor movie night to match the time of day, and be sure to wrap up before any local noise ordinances go into effect. You’ll also need some bug spray if you’re hanging out at twilight, as well as candles or lanterns to set the mood (and so guests can see where the drinks are).