Inside Meritt Elliott’s Beautiful Midsummer Party
There’s nothing like throwing a midsummer cocktail party in your backyard, but the alfresco fête stylist and designer Meritt Elliott (of denim label Current/Elliott and recently launched clothing line The Great) and her husband, John Rankin, a hospitality-industry veteran, threw at their West Hollywood home last month was truly something special. To celebrate the launch of Rankin’s new L.A. business, Boomtown Brewery, the couple invited their nearest and dearest, “but most importantly, our friends who appreciate indulging in fun food and drink,” Rankin tells us, for an evening of beer pairings and eclectic food in a stylish, welcoming setting.
“We wanted to combine the comforts of our home with the appeal of Boomtown Brewery,” Rankin says. To that end, he and Elliott outfitted their patio with plush, comfy seating; string lights; natural candlelight; flowing natural greenery; and industrial accents. Tabletops were accessorized with chalkboard menus, handled mason jars, hand-thrown growlers, bell jar planters, gilded terrariums, and gold flatware—laid-back, downtown cool with a touch of glam.
Another essential? Good vibes with a strong soundtrack. “Any outdoor party needs the right combination of comfortable seating, warm lighting, great sounds, and tasty food and drink,” Rankin says. To achieve this, he combines ambient and natural light and “a great playlist ranging from old-school funk and hip-hop to indie classics and light electro, including splashes of ’80s synth.”
As to be expected, Rankin has “a few taps for fresh draft beer in my oasis,” but he advises, “a well-stocked bar and light wines are pretty essential too.”
Rankin crafted an assortment of delicious bites to show off his beers, which range from IPAs to pale ales to red stouts. “I was really excited to take the time to make everything from scratch, and thoughtfully pair my beer with an eclectic menu,” he says. Guests nibbled grilled peaches stuffed with herb cheese, drizzled with an herbal honey vinaigrette; smoked trout dip; and “the Rankin house bolognese sauce,” a rich recipe he’s perfected over the years. “I don't always have the time to cook these days aside from making simple meals for my kids, so creating and executing an elaborate menu was actually a great time,” he says.
Rankin had plenty of help in the kitchen from his daughters, Wolfe and Lyric, ages 2 and 10, respectively. “Lyric helped with tasting sauces and grilling peppers, and Wolfe with stirring pots and eating the salt,” he quips. “Both got the dance party started when the time was right,” he adds. It’s no deck party without a little barefoot dancing.