Food

9 Ways To Set Up A DIY Drink Bar And Blow Your Friends’ Minds

Um hi is it the weekend yet?

Choose a 100-percent agave tequila and Cointreau over Triple Sec.

wishiwereahousewife.wordpress.com

Check out Bon Appetit’s directions for rim salting.

bonappetit.com

Sliced jalapeños are good muddling options for guests who like spicy margs.

theheritagecook.com

 

Inspired by Wish I Were A Housewife.

INGREDIENTS TO SET OUT:
-tequila, Cointreau, maybe mezcal if you’re cool
-sparkling water
-fresh berries like raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries
-fresh squeezed juice like grapefruit, lime, mango, and orange
-hot sauce or chili sauce
-sliced limes
-simple syrup (simmer equal parts water and sugar 2 minutes then cool)
-kosher salt, Lucas salt, or chili salt on a plate for rimming glasses
-ice

TOOLS TO SET OUT
-muddler
-drink stirrers
-jigger or measuring cups
-glasses

SUGGESTED RECIPES TO POST ON THE BAR (write these on cards or on butcher paper taped to the wall. You may need to simplify them to serve one drink):
muddled fruit + 2 oz tequila + 1 oz Cointreau + 3 oz juice (or 2 oz juice and 1 oz sparkling water)

Fresh citrus juice makes all the difference. Get an electric citrus juicer or use a hand juicer and squeeze a bunch in advance.

witanddelight.com

Set out cleaned and dried fresh herbs like mint, rosemary, basil, thyme and tarragon.

witanddelight.com

Pre slice some ingredients and leave out a cutting board so your guests can slice more on their own.

witanddelight.com

 

Inspired by Wit and Delight.

INGREDIENTS TO SET OUT:
-gin, vodka, Pimm’s, and elderflower liqueur (St. Germain is a common brand many liquor stores sell)
-tonic, club soda, and ginger beer
-fresh herbs like mint, rosemary, basil, thyme, and tarragon
-fresh squeezed juice like grapefruit, lime, and lemon
-sliced cucumbers, limes, and lemons
-simple syrup (simmer equal parts water and sugar 2 minutes then cool)
-ice

TOOLS TO SET OUT
-muddler
-hand juicer
-drink stirrers
-cutting board + knife
-highball glasses
-jigger or measuring cups

SUGGESTED RECIPES TO POST ON THE BAR (write these on cards or on butcher paper taped to the wall. You may need to simplify them to serve one drink):
-Garden + Tonic
-Rosemary + Cucumber Tonic
-Grapefruit + Vodka Fizz
-Pimm’s Cup

3.
The Mandarin Oriental in San Francisco / Via bizbash.com

These sugar cubes have been soaked in Angostura bitters for a Classic Champagne Cocktail. Directions here.

reclaimingprovincial.com

Crate & Barrell Edge Flute, $13

crateandbarrel.com

To make watermelon juice, puree chunks in a blender, strain, and discard solids.

p-ure-vanilla.tumblr.com

 

Inspired by The Mandarin Oriental San Francisco.

INGREDIENTS TO SET OUT:
-sparkling wine, Aperol, Guinness
-sparkling water
-fresh berries like raspberries, strawberries, and cranberries
-fresh squeezed juice like grapefruit, cranberry, orange, and/or watermelon
-lemon twists
-sugar cubes or Angostura sugar cubes
-Angostura bitters

TOOLS TO SET OUT
-Champagne flutes

SUGGESTED RECIPES TO POST ON THE BAR (write these nearby on a chalkboard or butcher paper. You may need to simplify them to serve one drink):
-Classic Champagne Cocktail
-Cranberry Champagne Cocktail (click for recipe)
-Watermelon Bellini: 1 part watermelon juice, 1 part sparkling wine
-Venetian Spritz: 1 1/2 ounces Aperol + 2 ounces sparkling wine + 2 ounces sparkling water + 1 lemon twist
-Champagne Velvet: 1 part Guinness, 1 part sparkling wine

Make a spiced salt for the rim by adding ground peppercorns, Old Bay, ground celery seed, and other seasonings to kosher salt.

drunkentomato.com

All of the pickled things!

marthastewart.com

Make a few different Bloody Mary bases, label them and set them out in big pitchers or jugs.

yelp.com

 

Inspired by The Sweetest Occasion.

To do a good Bloody Mary Bar you could just set out tomato juice and clamato juice and a bunch of garnishes and that would be awesome, OR you could go a step further and make two or three different Bloody Mary base mixes ahead of time and label them.

BLOODY MARY BASE RECIPES:
-Kimchi Bloody Mary Base
-Balsamic Bloody Mary Base
-Tomatillo Bloody Mary Base
-Cajun Bloody Mary
-Asian Bloody Mary Base

OTHER INGREDIENTS TO SET OUT:
-vodka, gin
-sliced lemon and lime
-celery stalks
-a variety of hot sauces, Sriracha, chili sauce
-worcestershire
-freshly grated or prepared horseradish
-a variety of olives
-lots of pickled things! radishes, cornichons, smokra, green beans, cipollini onions
-raw oysters
-cocktail shrimp
-cooked bacon strips
-meat straws
-Old Bay
-Pepper mill
-Celery salt, Lucas salt, and/or kosher for glass rim
-Ice

TOOLS TO SET OUT
-glasses
-mixing spoons
-long skewers for garnishes

MICHELADA RECIPES
http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/bloody-beers
http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Michelada-Bloody-Mary

See my post on 33 Next-Level Tips For A Bloody Mary Bar for more ideas. Also Bon Appetit has a Bloody Mary Slot Machine.

5.
Modern Moments Designs and Courtney Jade Photography / Via modernmomentsdesigns.com

Inspired by Modern Moments.

INGREDIENTS TO SET OUT:
-dark and light rums, orange curaçao, and orgeat syrup
-fresh orange juice, lime juice, and pineapple juice
-cream of coconut
-oranges, chunks of pineapple, and maraschino cherries
-simple syrup (simmer equal parts water and sugar 2 minutes then cool)
-bitters
-nutmeg
-ice

TOOLS TO SET OUT
-cocktail shaker and strainer
-cocktail umbrellas
-drink stirrers
-cutting board and knife
-muddler

SUGGESTED RECIPES TO POST ON THE BAR (write these nearby on a chalkboard or butcher paper. You may need to simplify them to serve one drink):
-Cuba Kola
-Mai Tai
-Rum and Coconut Water
-Pain Killer

Nonalcoholic!

Inspired by I Heart Naptime.

INGREDIENTS TO SET OUT:
-fresh lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, grapefruit, strawberry — any juice!
-sparkling water
-ice teas — both caffeinated and uncaffeinated
-coconut water
-fresh herbs like mint, basil, tarragon
-fresh berries
-sliced cucumber, limes, lemons
-ginger syrup (click for a a DIY recipe or buy it here), and simple syrup (simmer equal parts water and sugar 2 minutes then cool)
-ice

TOOLS TO SET OUT
-straws
-glasses
-muddler

SUGGESTED RECIPES TO POST ON THE BAR (write these nearby on a chalkboard or butcher paper. You may need to simplify them to serve one drink):
-Sparkling-Minted Lemonade
-Strawberry-Basil Soda
-Iced Green Tea + Ginger syrup + Mint

7.
Karen Mordechai / Sunday suppers / Via news.sunday-suppers.com

Inspired by Sunday Suppers.

INGREDIENTS TO SET OUT:
-vodka, gin, Lillet, and dry vermouth
-olive juice (a.k.a. dirty water)
-soda water
-cucumber slices, olives, lemon twists
-ice

TOOLS TO SET OUT
Martinis should be stirred not shaken, so you’ll want to set out a large glass people can mix and stir their vermouth and vodka with ice, then strain into a glass.
-jigger or measuring cups
-mixing glass like this one or this one
-strainer
-skewers
-martini glasses

SUGGESTED RECIPES TO POST ON THE BAR (write these nearby on a chalkboard or butcher paper. You may need to simplify them to serve one drink):
Gin Martini
Vesper
Extra Dirty Martini

You need lots of pre-squeezed lime juice but also set out some fresh lime wedges, too.

yellowbrickhome.com

Muddlers are essential for Mojito making; check out this guide to pretty wooden ones.

bonappetit.com

Fruit-infused simple syrups. DIrections here.

thisheartofmineblog.com

 

Inspired by Better Homes and Garden’s Casual Outdoor Entertaining Ideas.

INGREDIENTS TO SET OUT:
-white rum and ginger liqueur (Domaine de Canton is a common brand many liquor stores carry)
-Pomegranate juice
-fresh herbs: mint and basil
-fresh berries
-fresh citrus: lemons, limes, maybe grapefruits
-superfine sugar or simple syrup (simmer equal parts water and sugar 2 minutes then cool)
lime slicers
-club soda
-ice

TOOLS TO SET OUT
-jigger or measuring cups
-muddler
-hand juicer
-cutting board and knife
-highball glasses

SUGGESTED RECIPES TO POST ON THE BAR (write these nearby on a chalkboard or butcher paper. You may need to simplify them to serve one drink):
Classic Mojito
Strawberry-Basil Mojito
Pineapple-Ginger Mojito
Black-and-Blue Mojito

Inspired by Lark and Lace.

Another option is the “any drink” bar.

INGREDIENTS TO SET OUT
Set out a range of things that make sense together — be sure you have the basics covered like lemon juice, sparkling water, a couple of herbs, bitters, simple syrup.

TOOLS TO SET OUT
-jigger
-cutting board and knife
-shaker and strainer
-muddler
-glasses
-ice

RECIPES TO POST
Just pick your 3 favorite cocktails that are simple to make and be sure their ingredients are represented, then write the recipes somewhere noticeable.

The 5 Essential Rules of Any DIY Drink Bar


1. Squeeze a lot of citrus juice in advance and set it out in squeeze bottles. This $16 electric juicer will be your best friend.

2. Give people instructions and a way to measure. Whether you say “1 part this, 1 part that” or give specific ounces or tablespoons, make sure your measuring utensil will make sense to your guests. And give a recipe that makes one drink at a time.

3. Always set out sparkling water. Not everyone wants to get smashed, and bubbles improve many cocktails.

4. Set out lots of ice. You can’t make a good cocktail without ice. An ice bucket is helpful.

5. Label things! Whether you use plastic squeeze bottles, recycled salsa jars or pretty sling top glass bottles, slap some masking tape on there and write the contents with a Sharpie.

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