It’s fun: Cabana Cocktails – Palm Beach Illustrated


Many Palm Beach condos have cabanas that are ceded separately, especially if they have generous decks or beach access. They range from glorified storage units to entertainment spaces complete with bathrooms, bars, and air conditioning, which, given the nature of a cabin, seems like a futile exercise.

Our own cabin is something in between. There is a separate powder room and shower, as well as an under-counter wet bar and fridge, but that’s about it. Because it is only protected from the elements by a set of accordion shutters, the sun and the salty air wreak havoc; we saw sofas decay before our eyes and bar stools rusting almost overnight. Rather than fighting it, our strategy is to keep decorating to a minimum and use the most weather resistant furniture we can find.

PBI_Stolman_Cabana_044However, we like to have our little one by the warm pool and share it with others. Right from the start, I found a wonderful photo of a very young Lilly and Peter Pulitzer and their pet monkey, Goony. In the background is a beautiful sailboat mounted on the wall. And wouldn’t you know, Amazon sells realistic replicas of the exact same fish. Who could resist? Other decorative elements include carved coconut heads from the Bahamas and, for a touch of kitsch, photos of some of the cast of the Gilligan’s Island TV show from the 1960s. high decoration, but it makes us happy and the guests seem to appreciate it, especially when it comes to cocktails.

Tips for a successful Cabana cocktail

Whether you go electronic or print, choose a lively aquatic-themed invitation, something that sets the tone and can serve as inspiration for any other creative decision. Be clear that this will be an outdoor event, as this will inform the sartorial choices of the guests. Memories of COVID and its anger are still fresh, and an outdoor location can go a long way in reassuring attendees that they will be safe and comfortable.

PBI_Stolman_Cabana_042 Photo by Nick Mele

Hire at least one bartender. A waiter, who can run appetizers and continuous buses from the area, is also a good idea. There is nothing worse than not being able to be a guest at your own party because you are too busy making drinks or passing a tray. Provide your bartender with a crisp t-shirt that matches the invitation and allow them to wear shorts and sneakers.

Invest in 3 stylish disposable plastic bar items. It’s by the pool, after all. A broken glass can be a disaster not only for you and your guests, but also for your neighbors if you live in a condominium. The pool will need to be closed and drained, and you will most likely have to move. Do not do it.

PBI_Stolman_Cabana_080 Photo by Nick Mele

Continue your theme with a little decor. It can be as subtle as cocktail napkins that coordinate with the invitation or a few outdoor cushions to scatter around the area. A little effort can pay big dividends.

Pay attention to the lighting. Real candles invariably burst and glass hurricanes or
lanterns present the same risk of breakage as glass barware. But there are all kinds of battery-powered or rechargeable outdoor lighting options, from giant glowing plastic globes to small cafe lights.

Serve the simplest food imaginable, photo by Nick MeleServe the simplest food imaginable. The chips and dip are always a hit. A basket of raw vegetables is a nice gesture, but often remains intact. Be reasonable with your menu and consider that you will have limited refrigeration, as well as the distinct possibility of a strong breeze or bugs. Now is neither the time nor the place for an extravagant cheese board, no matter what Pinterest tells you. However, if you have a stove, cocktails and a good strong mustard will always be a crowd pleaser. Make sure you have an obvious receptacle for used toothpicks – a lot of people ignore this.

Have enough ice cream. It may be your bartender’s responsibility, but buy twice as much as you think you need. Whether you’re just serving rosé and sparkling water or a full bar, fill it generously and invest in a cute wine cooler. Always have something for the non-soaked, avoid anything that is too sweet or syrupy. Save the blender drinks and forget about the signature cocktails. Well-meaning guests accept the signature cocktail, take a sip, and immediately search for a place to put it discreetly before heading to the bar for a real drink.


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