Every event has food and drinks, but the presentation and the quality are what make your event stand out. I used to be a wedding and event planner for about 10 years. This experience definitely taught me many tips and tricks, as well as what works and doesn’t work when throwing a party. Whether there are 6 people coming over for a small dinner party or you’re hosting a baby shower for 50, I have found that an essential element is the drink bar.
What to Know about A Bubbly Drink Bar
- a drink bar does not have to be fancy or just for a special party. Even if you are just having one other family over, drink bars are a fun addition!
- a drink bar does not require alcohol; you can serve it if you’d like but there are tons of other options that will make your guests feel special
- a drink bar gives your guest something to do. Everyone wants to feel useful and have a place to re-direct any awkwardness they may feel
- if you’re an introvert, a drink bar is a fantastic way to divert the attention off of you. When a guest walks in, you can say hi and offer them a drink they can make themselves, which allows you less pressure to feel like you have to come up with small talk.
Rules for The Perfect Bubbly Bar
- Stick to one signature cocktail/drink. Of course you can add water, sparkling waters, etc. But having one signature drink (or at least theme, see below) makes your life much easier without compromising the excitement
- Batch your main drink. If it’s apple cider, heat multiple gallons in a crockpot. If it’s coffee, keep pre-made coffee in a large dispenser. That way you don’t have to worry about refilling or running out
- Don’t feel like you have to make everything from scratch. In fact, when it comes to food, limit yourself to making two foods from scratch and have the others store bought or brought from other guests.
- Bring a customized touch by adding fun toppings. See below for ideas!
Flavors & Toppings for a Mocktail-themed Drink Bar
- Orange, guava, acai, grape, or cranberry juice
- mandarin oranges
- sugared cranberries
Spring & Summer Cold Beverage Themed Drink Bars
Summertime is the perfect excuse for a get-together or BBQ with friends. Up the game even more by adding a little table that has a cold drink station for your family and friends!
- Boba tea bar: tea, milk, popping boba, lychee coconut jelly, mini mochi, coconut flakes, fresh fruit, whipped cream, red bean
- Lemonade bar: lemonade, cucumber slices, lemon sorbet, flavored syrups, sparkling water, fresh fruit slices, edible flowers like rose petals, pansies or lavender, rock candy sticks
- Mocktail juice bar: two or three types of fruit juice, sparkling water, slices of citrus fruits to squeeze in, simple syrups, honey, mint sprigs
- Iced coffee bar: iced coffee, ice bucket with ice, coconut milk and whole milk creamer, sweetener, straws, whipped cream, chocolate shavings, sprinkles
- get creative! Comment on your ideas below!
Fall & Winter Hot Beverage Themed Drink Bars
There are a bunch of other fun options for drink bars. Create little skewers full of fun items for people to be able to take with them!
- Hot chocolate bar: hot chocolate, marshmallows, whipped cream, candy canes, chocolate chips to dissolve in the mug
- Apple cider bar: apple cider in crockpots, mini donuts on wooden kabob skewers, cinnamon sticks, apple slices, orange slices, caramels to melt in the cider,
- Hot tea bar/afternoon tea bar: raw sugar cubes, milk, lemon slices, mini muffins, shortbread tea cookies
- Pumpkin spice coffee bar: pureed sweetened pumpkin, pumpkin flavored creamers, mini pumpkin muffins on wooden skewers
When it comes to hospitality, remember that the most important part is your presence, not your stuff. Even if you don’t have a fancy drink bar or table full of sumptuous foods, hosting is about caring for the people you love. Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to make everything perfect; nothing ever will be and that’s when we just learn to laugh at ourselves and enjoy the vulnerability that makes us all human. Nonetheless, hopefully these drink bar ideas help you in inviting a little more fun into your parties. If you are interested in learning about hosting an afternoon tea, check out this article to get some more ideas for your next get-together!