With a fondness for her family's outdoor gatherings (and vodka watermelons!), Evette Rios puts her playful spin on the classic cookout.

By Rachael Ray Every Day
November 01, 2005

My Party Lines: My barbecues are light and informal. Dress casually and leave your shoes at home. I throw on a sundress because shorts are too restricting. Table decor should always be bright and easy. Some people like to use tablecloths, but I prefer craft paper pinned down with flat thumbtacks, with pens for drawing. Paper napkins create trash. Instead, I use colorful bandanas. One thing you'll never find at my barbecues? Plastic utensils. For extra flair, I string kites up in the trees. I never spend a lot on decor, but I always splurge on food and drinks. I love serving Grilled Corn-and-Red Potato Salad and a vodka-spiked watermelon -- it's a family tradition. This barbecue is all about eating with your hands, so wet wipes are a must. If you're heading to my backyard bash, don't forget containers for leftovers.



tips + how-tos



One 10 lb. or larger, seeded whole watermelon that is very ripe and chilledOne bottle (750 ml) vodka


First, cut a little sliver off the bottom of the watermelon so it stands up straight.

Second, cut a hole in the top of the watermelon and put the bottle of vodka upside down in the top.

Third, insert a tap (you can rent them at liquor stores) by pushing it into the side of the watermelon. Voila! Turn the tap and fill up each glass.

Garnish with a mint sprig and you're done. Beware: It packs a punch!