A very happy Monday MNN readers and welcome to the kick-off installment of "the garden party," a special new weekly series of product-centric posts that I​'ll be running throughout this hopefully-not-too-ungodly-hot summer. Geared toward all of you al fresco entertainers, patio partiers, and backyard BBQ'ers out there, the series is a warm weather spin-off of my "Let me entertain you" series from this past winter when I zeroed in on accoutrement ideal for food-heavy holiday fêtes.


Over the next several weeks, I'll be highlighting a host of outdoor entertaining paraphernalia ranging from serveware (you have to put those hot dog buns on something) to mood lighting (a requisite for when the sun goes down and the dance party begins) to furniture (something to sit on when when taking a breather from said dance party). And, of course, the emphasis is on products that boast one or all of the following eco-friendly attributes: a. handmade b. made from sustainable or recycled materials c. domestically manufactured or d. durable/made-to-last so in that they’ll be used not just this summer but for many more summers to come.

To start things off on a socially lubricated foot, below you'll find a dozen choice items revolving around perhaps the most important aspect of any backyard shindig: the libations. And don't forget that set of reusable beer pong cups!

Striped Sea Glass Carafe @ Terrain ($24)















UFO Tray by Paula Silva Ruvalcaba @ MoMA Store ($175)















Mason Jar Tumblers @ Poketo ($4.50)
















Wall Mounted Bottle Opener @ Brook Farm General Store ($10)















Drink Coasters with Star @ Sea Bags ($40/set of 4)















Sol Cactus Tumbler @ Bambeco ($9)
















Azul Recycled Glass Beverage Jar @ Sur La Table ($41.96)















Cork Screw Driver @ The Curiosity Shoppe ($15)















Capazo Rubber Basket @ The Future Perfect ($36)















Govino Champagne Flutes @ The Shop at Cooper-Hewitt ($12.95/set of 4)















Flip it! Wine Shot Glasses @ UncommonGoods ($45)















Jack & Lulu Stripey Straws @ Whisk ($6/pack of 20)

















Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

The garden party: Cocktail hour
With the high season of backyard boozing upon us, don't forget to stock up on biodegradable straws, reclaimed wood drink trays and recycled glass beverage dispe