Just as the kitchen is the heart of the home, it also tends to be the heart of the party while you’re entertaining. While it can be a wonderful hub of activity, sometimes it can get a little crowded with so much in demand within such a limited space. One of the best ways to avoid a potential traffic jam is to create designated stations within the home where everyone can easily serve themselves, creating an easy, relaxed atmosphere and a comfortable experience for both hosts and guests alike. Guests won’t feel inhibited by having to pester you with constant requests, and you can free up this time for other hosting duties and socializing with your guests. A drinks station is undoubtedly one of the most frequented areas at any party. Having a well stocked and organized set up ahead of time will ensure that your party runs smoothly and free up lots of extra time to actually enjoy your own party.
Here are a few key ingredients to setting up the perfect party drinks station :
1. Set up the drinks station using a desk or console table. Be sure to place it in an area that is easily accessible to guests, but out of high traffic areas of the home.
2. Maximize your valuable table space and keep decorations to a minimum. Rather, create an impressive display with neat rows on your table. Line up multiple bottles then glasses to one side of the table. Be sure to include basic bar necessities such a small cutting board, an ice bucket and a bowl of lemons and limes.
3. While you may not have the space to decorate the table, this is a great time to decorate the wall around it. Need a quick fix idea? Try hanging a large mirror and leave out markers for guests to write a personal message – it will be fun to take a photo of as a keepsake at the end of the night and can easily be cleaned and returned to its usual spot.
4. While it might be lovely to have a fully stocked bar with every imaginable liquor and a designated bartender to cater to the whim of each individual guest, for most of us this is neither a practical, nor an affordable option. Simplify and streamline the bar with a personalized spin on the essentials and no one will feel like you’re skimping.
5. Create ‘house specials’ – with a limited selection of your own favourites. Pick one red and one white wine and buy multiples of the same type. Rather than stock a full bar, create a simple, signature cocktail that you enjoy, make it a bulk in a large pitcher or punch bowl ahead of time to ensure easy service. Be sure to make an alternate non-alcoholic version for any guests refraining and label each one.
6. Be sure to include something sparkling for a little festive touch. It doesn’t to be real champagne, try one of the lovely Prosecco and sparkling wine options available and buy several bottles. With just a small splurge on sparkling water in glass bottles, you can instantly elevate the feeling of your event and make an easy punch or spritzer with some juice.
7. Try to encourage guests to use less glasses by using wine charms or even tying a simple ribbon on each glass in a different colour. Create a designated tray for guests to leave their empty glasses and make for an easy clear up to the kitchen during the middle of a bustling party.
8. Take your social and legal responsibility as party host seriously and be sure to monitor your guests alcohol consumption. Abstain or drink moderately so that you are able to assess the situation more accurately. Look up the number of a local cab company and keep it in an easily accessible spot ahead of time to encourage your guests to be responsible.
Enjoy a safe and fun holiday party season!