How To Host The Perfect Summer BBQ
How To Host The Perfect Summer BBQ

How To Host The Perfect Summer BBQ

If you’re looking for fresh entertaining inspiration, help is at hand. We’ve teamed up with French elderflower liqueur and cocktail brand St-Germain on a new summer home hosting series, and in this first instalment, food and lifestyle guru Sommer Pyne shares her best BBQ tips – from tablescaping tips to interesting veggie options, plus the St-Germain cocktail she won’t throw a summer party without…
Photography: Vanya Du Toit

Created in partnership with St-Germain

My 40th birthday party will go down in history as the best BBQ ever. I created a large low table in the middle of my garden using crates, decorated with my favourite Aussie flowers and large white helium balloons. I used lots of picnic blankets and pillows for seating. It was so pretty and relaxed. I found this guy who sang and played the guitar for us, too. Live music is an easy way to set the scene and get people into the mood. Everyone had so much fun. On this occasion I cheated and hired people to take care of the food for me, so it was a very stress-free day. We had fish, lamb and marinated chicken – as well as some vegetarian options with loads of salads. 

A great BBQ is all about the ambience. The table is set, the music is playing, and it’s important to have cocktails are ready on arrival. I like to serve a St-Germain Rosé Spritz – the perfect aperitif which always goes down a treat – or a French gimlet. I usually have some games out on the lawn like boules or table tennis, too. It’s important to have lots of seating and shady spots when it’s hot. I usually put out a five-litre drink dispenser of lemon water so people can help themselves. There are always bottles of wine waiting in ice buckets for easy access, surrounded by non-breakable glasses as well. 

I like to serve a St-Germain Rosé Spritz – which ALWAYS GOES DOWN A TREAT – or a French gimlet.

Anything that can be is usually prepped the night before. I make all my dips in advance, for example. Salads are chopped and placed in serving bowls either the night before or first thing in the morning – and the same goes for any potato dishes. However, if you’re using avocado that’s best done just before serving to avoid it going brown – although you can also cover it with lime or juice lemon to stop it turning. I make a jug of cocktails before my guests arrive and the table is always set. The more you can prep, the less stressed you will be throughout the day. 

When it comes to making things exciting for veggies and vegans, it’s all in the marinade. I’ll use the same marinade I use for the meat for mushrooms or vegetables. BBQ corn is always a winner and a whole BBQ cauliflower is delicious with the right seasoning.

My signature dish for a BBQ has to be lamb. I like to make either a butterflied shoulder of lamb or herby lamb chops. If it’s a special occasion, I’ll cook a whole fish on the grill. At home, we have a Napoleon BBQ that runs on gas and coal, which is very easy to use. My favourite thing about it is the rotisserie attachment, which is great for cooking a whole roast chicken.

My SIGNATURE DISH FOR A BBQ has to be lamb. I like to make either a butterflied shoulder of lamb or herby lamb chops.

I always buy my meat from Dugard & Daughters in Earlsfield. They have the best quality meat and are always so helpful. Depending on what I’m serving, I usually present it on a large plate on top of greens and I always sprinkle fresh herbs over the top.

My ultimate BBQ sides are a sweet potato salad with tahini dressing; a fresh tomato salad; and some sort of green salad. I also make a green harissa sauce that goes with absolutely anything. For guests who like things spicy, I’ll pop out a bottle of Kold Sauce or Tabasco.

Finally, tablescaping is key. The high street has some lovely affordable serveware and tablecloths – try H&M, Zara Home and Toast. I always use flowers and greenery as part of a tablescape. Eucalyptus entwined on the table also looks great, and fruit like lemons and oranges can also look really pretty.


Here’s How To Make St-Germain’s Iconic Rosé Spritz At Home…

St-Germain Rosé Spritz

40ml of St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
60ml of rosé wine or sparkling rosé
60ml of sparkling water
Step 1

Fill a wine glass with ice.

Step 2

Pour in the ingredients & stir.

Step 3

Garnish with a grapefruit peel & olive.

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For more cocktail ideas, visit and to buy a bottle, visit Waitrose or Amazon. For more food and lifestyle inspiration, follow Sommer at @HouseCurious and visit

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