Summer Parties Made Simple with Apps

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Photo via TechCrunch

The Fourth of July holiday finally comes tomorrow, and we are more than ready for a day off with fun celebrations in the sun. Especially since the Fourth falls in the middle of the week, a lot of us are hosting at-home festivities and attending barbecues rather than heading out of town this year. That means today is the final stretch for planning, shopping and creating the perfect summer event! Luckily for us, there are a few helping hand apps that make party planning easy peasy this summer.

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Photo via Drizly


For the boozy happy hour-havers, cocktail creators, and wine night throwers, there is Drizly. In the city and in surrounding neighborhoods, Drizly lets you shop tons of beer, wine, and spirits from local alcohol retailers via the Drizly app or You can either have it delivered to your home in record time, or have your order waiting for you at the local spot closest to you.

“One of the great things about Drizly is that we partner with the best liquor stores in each market, meaning that there’s always a deep selection of locally produced products,” explains Justin Robinson, SVP of New Business and Co-Founder of Drizly. “I love trying out new craft spirits and beers available near me in Boston like Short Path Triple Sec or Lord Hobo Consolation Prize. Shoppers in Chicago can look for things like Off Color Troublesome or FEW Bourbon. I always recommend that Drizly users keep an eye out for our green Local tab to find local beers, wines, and spirits.”

Going local has never been this easy! I used the app last week to pick up some wine and cocktail ingredients for the holiday weekend, and aside from the “Local” tab, you can also sort your options by type of alcohol, the theme of your event, or even by drink trend like a whole section of the summer favorite: rosé wine!

I also loved that you can order extras like a bottle opener, or wine glasses, or even mixers, right from the same app. It’s perfect for people (like me) who don’t have a car and don’t want to be lugging cases of beer or multiple bottles of wine on public transportation. I also appreciated that you could order different sizes of certain liquors, so I didn’t have a ton of extras when I was buying things especially for a specific cocktail I made for friends over the weekend. Plus, it arrived in under an hour – talk about service!

Don’t know what to order for your event?

Robinson says that “Canned, pre-mixed cocktails and wine are really taking off this year. They’re perfect for summer since they’re portable and you don’t have to worry about re-corking your bottle or having leftovers. We’ve already seen the spiked seltzer craze take off and we expect that will probably continue through the summer.”

Now you have your drinks, but what the heck are you going to cook?

When you’re cooking for a group, or making a special recipe, it can be tough to organize your grocery list without forgetting anything, or spending a fortune. Then there’s the hassle of getting all your bags back home, when most of us who live downtown, don’t own a car. Last but not least, if you’re anything like me, you end up buying a bunch of things you don’t need (oh hello Oreos and a gallon of cold brew coffee and frozen pizza), but always manage to forget the one thing you ran out of (no more paper towels again?!).

That’s why I have loved, and been regularly using, Instacart since I discovered the app a few years ago. It takes all the fuss our of grocery shopping, and gives you access to a whole host of stores, sales and recipes.

Chicagoans can hit up our favorite local stores like Mariano’s or Jewel Osco, but can also order from Target, PetCo, CVS and more from the site and app! One super amazing trick is that you can order from Costco, even without a membership to the retailer. This is great when you need to stock up on items like toilet paper or bottled water, because you can get them for a bargain price!

Recently though, Instacart has upped their game by partnering with Sur la Table and even Pastoral to  give us all access to higher end grocery items as well as kitchen appliances and cute extras that will make your party extra special. I love going through and making my list, then being able to review exactly what I need and want before I place my order. It makes it easier to plan,  plus cuts out extra spending that happens when I shop hungry.

And then, with a few clicks, you can have everything you need for a great Fourth of July shindig right at your doorstep! Simple, affordable, and you can get it all organized while you’re still in your PJs. You can’t get much more American in your party planning than that!

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