Gather ’round the fire pit & toast a stylish fall
This fall it seems like nearly everyone I know who didn’t already own a fire pit has gone and purchased one. One friend had an elaborate one complete with floating rock walls and lighting built into her backyard over the summer. Others bought smaller, prebuilt versions with natural gas feeds. And even friends without backyards to speak of have gotten simple metal, wood-burning versions for their decks or patios.
And since odds are now good that you’re either all fire-pitted up or know someone who is, it’s time we planned a fire pit soiree — or, as it’s called — firepitting. Bonus: Firepitting is not only a perfect fall activity, with a few blankets thrown into the mix it’ll keep you socializing outdoors deep into winter.
Here are a few essential elements to get your next fire pit session all, well, fired up.
S’mores accoutrements. Sure, everyone comes for the great company and mostly for the drinks, too. But when you bring out the platter heaped with s’mores fixings, that’s when you’ll see their faces truly light up. And in addition to the usual fixins’ (chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers), you need some key cooking utensils. Wooden sticks foraged in the woods can work in a pinch, but they’re also a little yucky. The Sticks + Tools Accessory Bundle ($82.99 on solostove.com) comes with 4 twist-apart stainless steel roasting sticks, plus all the fire-tending tools (a poker, tongs and a protective case) you need to keep the flames going up high.
Pretty but durable platters.
If your fire pit area is stone or brick, you’ll want to serve bites on something that won’t shatter if it gets dropped, but still looks terrific. The Fall Textured Melamine Round Platter ($10 on partycity.com) is a nice burnt orange color for fall, and it’s heavy duty and dishwasher-safe to boot. If your soiree setting is on a deck or grass, stoneware isn’t out of the question. And in that case, consider something artistic and substantial like the Harvest Pumpkin Stoneware Rectangular Serving Platter ($59.50 on potterybarn.com).
Weatherproof pillows. Decorating to complement nature’s autumnal show of foliage is one of the things I look forward to all year. And it’s especially fun outdoors. So I go in for taupes, rich browns and bright yellows, deep crimsons and luscious purples. Textures and patterns liven things right up, too — as with the Liora Manne Marina Tribal Stripe Indoor/Outdoor Pillow, in Red ($29 on amazon.com) and the Phaedra Outdoor Mustard Loop Pillow ($39.95 on cb2.com).
Cuddly blankets. All that about textures, colors and patterns for pillows goes double for blankets. Take a peek at Southern Living’s Festive Fall Collection Wellington Plaid Throw ($39 on dillards.com) for its simple and oh-so seasonal plaid. Or, for extreme softness, the Big One Super Soft Plush Blanket in Terracotta ($35.99 on kohls.com). And for style met with substance, opt for Brooklinen’s Color Field Wool Throw Blanket ($199 on brooklinen.com), a 50by-70-inch blanket made in Germany at a 100-year-old family-run mill.
A strategic bar cart. Exhibit A — the Simmonds Bar Cart ($143 on wayfair.com). Less of a cart and more of a trolley, this must-have made of acacia wood (the better to withstand a decent amount of rain and snow) is slim enough that it won’t take up too much space around the pit, but it also holds a surprising number of bottles, glasses, napkins and snacks.
What to put on that bar cart? It doesn’t get more quintessentially fall than this sweet-spicy-earthy cocktail.
APPLE CIDER BOURBON SOOTHER
1 oz. (2 T.) cider
2 oz. (4 T.) bourbon
1 oz. (2 T.) sweet vermouth
1/2 oz. (1 T.) lemon juice
1 dash orange bitters
1 apple, thinly sliced
Combine the cider, bourbon, vermouth and lemon juice in a shaker with ice. Strain it into a glass.
Add orange bitters and garnish with several apple slices.