Planning a big birthday soiree for that special someone means paying close attention to the menu. Every appetizer, entree, and dessert is carefully chosen and meticulously presented. Nothing should disappoint! But have you given as much thought to the drinks to be served? These should complement the party fare, of course—enhancing the flavors, aromas, and textures of the food. But more than that, the beverages should help kick off that party spirit and keep it going. And a big factor in this is, as always, presentation! Take a cue from these tips on dressing up your drinks we’ve put together.
Dressy Drink Idea #1: Decanters & Carafes
Drinks normally come packaged in their own bottles or cartons. While it may be more convenient to just serve them right out of their containers, that’s a no-no for special occasions (wines being the only exception). So, for your birthday celebration, there’s a much more glamorous option. Serve the drinks in clear glass decanters and carafes in the most interesting and stylish shapes you can find!
- Select decanters and carafes of varying sizes and shapes—the more unusual and eye-catching the better.
- Those made of clear glass are ideal in order to show off the drinks to best advantage.
- Fill them with your choice of party beverages—preferably two or three kinds to offer guests a variety, and look good, too!
- Arrange them in an attractive grouping on a tray or counter—pretty enough to be part of the party decor.
- Think self-serve! Position them where guests can conveniently serve themselves.
- For beverages best enjoyed with ice, don’t include the ice in the decanter or carafe. Instead, have the ice on hand in a separate ice bucket.
- Since decanters and carafes are open containers, they aren’t recommended for carbonated or bubbly drinks. These will only lose their fizz and go flat.
- Refill these containers out of sight of the guests; or better yet, have spare decanters that you can fill and switch with the empty ones.
Dressy Drink Idea #2: Elegant Glassware
Few things can make drinks look fancier than serving them in stylish glasses. Part of the secret is knowing the proper glasses for specific types of drinks. But sometimes, presenting a party beverage in an unexpected glass makes for a pleasant surprise!
- Use tulip-shaped stem glasses for white wine, rounder wide-bowled ones for red wine, and slender (sometimes trumpet-shaped) ones for bubbly drinks like champagne.
- Pour the drinks into their glasses just before serving them to preserve their best qualities.
- Rest the glasses on coasters that complement the drink’s color and/or play up the party palette.
- Attach artful glass charms to the stems of the glasses in keeping with the party theme.
- Quality glassware is a lifetime investment. So don’t scrimp on buying those of excellent materials and from reputable manufacturers.
- Having at least 6 of each basic type of party glasses is ideal. You never know when you may want to host a formal dinner with wine and champagne!
- Read up on the proper handling, cleaning, and storage of crystal stemware to have them as your party partners for years to come!
Dressy Drink Idea #3: Accents and Garnishes
The standard lemon wedge or lime twist drink garnish has lots of competition nowadays! All kinds of imaginative tricks for jazzing up party drinks keep popping up—making for great conversation starters and striking decorative accents on the party tables.
- Keep the party theme and color palette in mind when choosing your drink garnishes and accents.
- Use fruit garnishes for their luscious colors and fresh appeal. Consider wedges of citrus fruits or shapely ones like star-fruits, pineapples, or kiwis.
- While glass charms are reserved for stemware, think of other creative accents for regular glasses—decorative sleeves, a loop of ribbon tied in a bow, or even a strip of raffia fiber!
- Dress up stirrers or swizzle sticks with sequins, faux flowers, brooches, feathers, and similar fun stuff!
- Add straws in the party colors and, if desired, trim them with “straw flags” available from party printables suppliers.
- If a drink garnish or accent is small enough to be swallowed, it had better be edible!
- Don’t do all of the above in one drink!
- Other than that, happy drink garnishing!
Dressy Drink Idea #4: Stylish Serving Sets
This may seem like a ho-hum idea for dressing up drinks. But having your party beverages presented in a coordinated serving set somehow ups their attractiveness factor a notch or two!
- Plan ahead to see if any of your intended party drinks would work best served in this way: iced tea in a pitcher and matching glasses, fruit punch in a large serving bowl with coordinated cups, Moroccan mint tea in a silver teapot and gold-rimmed tea glasses.
- Provide decorative touches in keeping with the particular beverage and your party theme—fancy trays, fresh fruits (whole or sliced), flowers or loose petals, leaves, doily liners, coasters, napkins, candles.
- Then, position these drinks sets not only where they’ll be convenient for guests, but where they’ll best enhance the party decor!
- Just like quality glassware, serving sets for drinks are a wise purchase. Have at least a basic pitcher-and-glasses set and perhaps a punch bowl with matching cups.
- Don’t keep them just for company, though. Treat yourself and your family to some prettily-served drinks once in a while—just because!
- Lastly, do remember that some wines need to “breathe” before being served to guests, which would typically require a separate decanter for serving.