I never really thought I’d throw a whole party centered around bees and honey, but now that my birthday party is over, I think it was one of my favorite party themes to date. And that’s saying a lot given that I tend to put way too much time and effort into the celebration of my birth. Ever since my mom helped organize a Hawaiian hula party for me years ago, I have been obsessed with themes. There have been How-to Host-a-Murder parties, wine tastings, swanky brunches and scavenger hunts. But after all was said and done, I think I’ll have a hard time topping this one next year.
I knew the food part would be a cinch to figure out, but I expected it to be a bit more difficult incorporating the idea into decorations. My fear was going too black and yellow and having it look like a party for children instead of adults. Luckily with some craftiness, I think it managed to turn into quite a lovely spread and one that made hopefully made February just a little less dreary.
I started with the ceiling — hanging paper lanterns to replicate hives and making little bees out of toilet paper rolls and tissue paper. Yes, like I said, I have way too much time on my hands and thankfully, many old episodes of Gossip Girl to catch up on as I crafted. I also hung some white and blue paper decorations up just to keep things colorful and cheery. I liked the blue contrast so much, I worked it in the color scheme as much as possible.
Next up was the food and beverage selection. I was so inspired by the sunny colors that ‘picnic food’ seems like a perfect fit. Enter spicy honey-glazed chicken skewers, baked beans and cornbread with honey butter. There were also some snacks placed around the house: honey roasted nuts, puffed honeycomb, regular honeycomb, and a goat cheese, honey and onion tartlet. There were also some pretty fantastic honey-walnut preserves to go with a little cheese selection. Even though I made them, I can say how good they were without bragging because I used this fabulous recipe.
This was all to help soak up some of the booze that was scattered throughout the house. There was a pony keg of Honey Orange Wheat, which as a beer lover I was so excited to find. It is light but with good body and it’s citrusy without being sweet. I also set out a table of ingredients so party-goers could make themselves a Honey Badger cocktail. There was some sweet tea out for the non-drinkers, though it was especially tasty when you added honey liqueur to it. I am clearly not a teetotaler.
Desserts were strangely the most difficult part – you’d think with honey as a main ingredient, there would be no end to delicious options. And yet I struggled. I tried a honey cake recipe that was like a hockey puck. I tried making honey-lemon cupcakes that were good right out the oven, but within an hour seemed dry and listless. I finally decided to go a different direction all together and bought both a chocolate and a yellow cake mix. Once the batters were ready, I alternated spoonfuls into the silicone molds and threw them in the oven. I was happily surprised when they turned out pretty damn adorable.
Since I used store-bought cake mixes, the least I could do was make my own butter cream. I don’t think I’ve done that since culinary school, but I found an excellent recipe and it worked like a charm. I also had some cute little sugar bees to go on top of each one. Then came a small drizzle of honey to tie it all together.
Finally, there was the hive — my personal masterpiece and a labor of love, which will soon have a post of its own (including a how-to guide), but I couldn’t resist showing it off a little. It was an idea spawned from a humble Pinterest board in which 12 small paper cups were covered in tissue paper. Party-goers would take turns punching through to see if they won a prize or had to perform a dare. I took this concept and made it five times larger. Look at this thing! It’s gloriously evil.
Each cup contained a slip of paper: some demanded the person take a shot, or give a shot out to another person, some people got prizes (lined up below) and well…others ran around the block with their underwear outside of their clothes. That’s about all I can say about that. But I can tell you this thing was so much fun. It’s going down in my basement so it can make appearances at future parties — I can only imagine the trouble it will continue to cause.