Drink mixing stations don't need to be just for the adults—kids enjoy making mocktails, too! Simply skip the alcohol and mixing drinks can transform into a fun activity for a holiday gathering. Kids especially love concocting their own drink creations. It’s really easy to setup a holiday drink-mixing station, and here’s a few of my helpful tips.
Before guests arrive, prepare the necessary ingredients for a few holiday mocktails. To keep things simple, pick drinks that can be made from the same soda base. I created a “Mintini” and a sour lime “Grinch” mocktail, which are both made with ginger ale. I filled a large beverage dispenser with ginger ale, so it should be able to last throughout the whole party, making it easier on the host.
Most guests really enjoy mixing their own drinks, but they might be a bit timid at first. I like to display a recipe card for guests to follow, which helps get those creative juices flowing. My cards for these mocktail recipes are available as a free download.
The Chinet® Classic White™ compartment tray is an excellent way to serve cocktail ingredients, keeping them organized and separated. I used to put all the ingredients in their own bowls, but these disposable trays look neat and make cleanup afterward a cinch. By the way, I’m hooked on these handy trays and have discovered all kinds of uses for them—they are quickly becoming a pantry staple.
Make sure to have plenty of disposable cups. Guests will go through a lot of them since the fun is in trying out various creations. Unlike a normal party where I plan on two to three cups per guest, with a drink-mixing station, I plan on five or six cups each.
I prefer the Chinet® Cut Crystal® 9 oz. cups because not only are they sturdy, but they are also harder to tip over, which means fewer spills to deal with. Opt for smaller cups since guests will want to experiment and have multiple drinks, rather than one big one. Plus not all creative ideas work out well, so smaller cups mean fewer will be wasted on those flops.
Candy canes make festive drink stirrers for this holiday drink station, but straws or spoons are good options, too. I presented the candy canes in a hollowed-out birch log that is meant to be a candle holder. I placed a Chinet Cut Crystal 14 oz. cup inside to hold the candy canes and keep them clean (this setup would be cute for holding cutlery on a holiday buffet, too!).
Expect some mishaps when you’ve got a lot of mixologists, especially young ones. To help manage the mess, take a few preventative measures. First up, have plenty of Chinet Classic White beverage napkins at the drink-mixing table so they can be grabbed quickly. There are many benefits to using beverage dispensers, but they do tend to be a hot spot for spills. Place a 9 oz. disposable cup directly below the spigot to catch any drips and to give guests a little leeway to get the valve shut off. Throughout the party, be sure to check on this cup since it may need to be emptied or replaced.
Here’s a closer look at what we are mixing:
A combination of peppermint and vanilla is very festive. Fill a small pitcher with two cups of Torani brand vanilla-flavored syrup, then add half a teaspoon of peppermint extract. You could also offer the option of plain vanilla syrup for guests who don’t want as much of the minty flavor. Serve this “Mintini” with marshmallow “olives” and fresh mint leaves. Shaved chocolate or chocolate chips make another fun mix-in.
I couldn’t resist making a sour lime drink in honor of the grumpy Grinch. I made the limeade syrup by mixing up frozen limeade concentrate with just two cans of water, instead of the four called for on the package. Serve with sliced lime wedges and top with whipped cream. Maraschino cherries would be another fun addition to this mocktail.
Setting up your own holiday drink station? Download my free printable Christmas cocktails kit, including these mocktail recipe cards and a coordinating wrap for the whipped cream canister.