This wacky weather week has my wheels spinning with potential themed party ideas. 
And apparently I’m not alone. Minutes after this week’s eastern earthquake, big city bars and restaurants started offering earthquake drink specials to shake you all night long. Twitter lit up with specials being tweeted from New York City to DC to Atlanta. Early passengers on the disaster drinking bandwagon were invited to “shaky happy hour” or to “calm your jitters with a quake-a-tini.” I can hear the bartender now, “Would you like that quake-a-tini shaken and stirred?” Another clever one was the Aftershock Cocktail. And the creative cocktail list goes on. (Share your own ideas in the comments below.)
Many of us have that last blast of summer soirée planned this weekend…possibly involving a pool, patio, porch or other outdoor venue. Even though a hurricane is near, never fear! Invite Irene inside in the form of your own Hurricane Party. Make it a tropical feast and serve food from the islands like coconut shrimp, jerk chicken sliders and exotic fruit skewers. Here’s a recipe for a classic Hurricane cocktail to serve as your signature drink. This recipe will yield 10-12 servings…perfect for a party! You’ll need 12 ounces of both light and dark rum, 10 ounces grenadine or passion fruit syrup, 10 ounces fresh orange juice, 10 ounces fresh lime juice, three tablespoons superfine sugar and one large orange cut into ¼-inch thick slices. Mix all the ingredients in a tall pitcher or large pot and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour into a punch bowl and add ice cubes and orange segments. Serve in tall glasses or hurricane glasses over ice with straws. (Little umbrellas optional.) 
Feeling really adventurous? Make it a Gilligan’s Island theme and ask your guests to come dressed as one of the castaways. I attended a Gilligan’s Island themed wine dinner at Blu seafood restaurant in Durham earlier this summer and had fun creating a Mary Ann costume with pieces from my own closet. My friend Debra Barkley shopped her own wardrobe too and glammed it up as Ginger. Guys have it even easier sporting a pair of khaki pants, a button down shirt and a pair of readers as the Professor. With the right hat and colored shirt even the Skipper and Gilligan are easy to pull off. File that idea for later if you don’t have guests that are good sports. Here’s an easy and fun themed idea that’s a sure crowd pleaser. Stay on island time and make your way to Margaritaville. Break out the Buffett and the blender and mix up some margaritas for your thirsty guests. The menu can be anything from island style to Mexican to mini cheeseburgers in paradise.
Don’t let Mother Nature dampen your spirits this weekend. Be prepared and buy your party provisions today. Then ride out the storm in the company of friends and family while sharing classic vacation tales and severe weather related stories. Let’s hope Irene spins her way out to sea. Cheers!

These are my ideas for a hurricane tracking party. Share yours below.