Heat up a college reunion with Latin spice and cool drinks.
Girls' Night In: College Reunion (2)
Credit: Lee Harrelson / Styling: Virginia Cravens

Whether you shared a dorm room, a sorority suite, or an apartment, it's likely you spent hours laughing, crying, gossiping, or stressing over grades or boys with college friends. With jobs, husbands, kids, and houses now a part of life, it's fun to remember the days when life was easier and every day was fun. Host a Latin-style reunion and reminisce with friends from the best four years of your life.

The Bar
Fruity drinks are a sure-fire recipe for fun at any gathering. After a few colorful sips, the years since graduation will melt away. Keep a couple of pitchers in the freezer for spontaneous refills and a martini shaker or two for mixing up more than memories. Frame old photos from college to spark conversation at the bar. It's guaranteed to start the fun game of "whatever happened to...?"

The Food
Turning your kitchen into a tropical paradise is easy with hot recipes from the warmest climates. For starters, dig into a platter of chips and salsa. Since friends are catching up, "happy hour" could last a while, so be sure to have plenty. For the main course, serve a simple dinner on smaller plates, tapas-style, so mingling and eating can happen at the same time.

The Extras
For a special touch, order personalized napkins with favorite college sayings, slogans, or inside jokes. You can design your own online at For Your Party.

The Party Plan

The Day Before

  • Buy or borrow some brightly colored platters and plates to match the Latin theme. Label the platters the night before with sticky notes for each dish to make last-minute preparations easier.
  • Make the salsa and chips up to 24 hours ahead.
  • Fill vases with flowers that bloom near the equator, like Calla Lilies, Birds of Paradise, and even mini pink pineapples.

The Morning Of

  • The morning of the party, freeze the mango and watermelon for the cocktails.
  • Assemble the empanadas up to 8 hours ahead.

Rebecca Lang is a well-known cooking instructor, author, and food writer. She teaches Girls' Night In classes around the country but lives in Athens, Georgia.