Design a Hot Beverage Bar for the Holidays
With all the activity in the kitchen during the holidays, create a space out of the way where your guests can create their tasty drinks any time. We have the bases, syrups, and ideas for garnishes to make those yummy drinks. Let's get started!
Where to Build It
If your kitchen is large enough, you can put your beverage bar in an area that is out of the way of the prepping and cooking. A corner of your dining area is another good option for building your beverage bar. You can also build it in a corner of your living or family room if you have more room there. As a matter of fact, any place you can find room to place your beverage bar will work. Just make sure there's power enough for your coffee maker and maybe a water kettle, a place for your coffees, teas, cocoas, ciders, syrups, creamers, cups, and anything else you want on your beverage bar.
Tools of the Trade
You can make your beverage bar as simple or intricate as you like. Your drip coffee maker is a fine way to brew your coffee. An urn or two with a couple of different coffees works just fine as well. If you have a Keurig-type machine, grab a few different types of single-use coffee pods to go with it. A pour-over coffee maker and a French press are great to include as well. Add an electric water kettle to your bar to provide hot water for the pour-over and French press. It's also great for tea and hot cocoa. For loose-leaf tea, be sure to include a tea infuser.
Have your mugs and cups out along with spoons. Don't worry about your mix and match drinking vessels, it just makes it feel cozier! Make sure you have a garbage can close by for used grounds, tea leaves and bags, and coffee pods. If you're also including cold beverages, have glasses and ice on hand, too,
You need your coffees, teas, hot cocoa, and any other hot beverage bases. You can pre-brew coffee just before your guests arrive and store it in an urn. You can also make a cold brew a day before and keep it on your bar for the cold brew fans. Choose a variety of teas, either bags or loose-leaf, with a black tea, green tea, and an herbal tea for those who prefer something without caffeine. Provide a high-quality hot cocoa mix and maybe even an apple cider. Offer soda water for homemade flavored cold soft drinks.
Everyone's coffee is very personal to their taste. Have a couple of options for creamer like milk, half and half, non-dairy creamer, and maybe almond or soy milk. Sweeteners are next. Sugar, stevia, Equal, honey, simple syrup, and agave are all perfect for your guests to add a little sweetness to their drinks.
Add a Little Flavor
Coffee syrups can add flavor along with sweetness. Popular coffee syrup flavors include vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate, and caramel. For something a little different and holiday-themed, try peppermint, toasted marshmallow, and gingerbread. Ground cinnamon in a decorative pepper shaker and ground nutmeg in a decorative salt shaker are great to sprinkle a little more flavor.
For handmade soft drinks, have cola syrup, root beer syrup, and a fruity syrup like orange, lime, and raspberry.
It's the holidays, so a few really fun extras are a necessity. Whipped cream, coffee sauces, sprinkles, chopped nuts, and marshmallows can be used in any coffee and hot chocolate.
Make your beverage bar festive with some holiday decor. Even better, put all your fresh coffee, loose leaf tea, and cocoa mix in pretty glass containers. You can fill decorative syrup bottles with your syrups. Show off those decorative bowls, plates, and that fancy glassware to hold your extras. Some colorful leaves, a few ears of calico corn, and a couple of tiny decorative pumpkins and squash would make a pretty Thanksgiving table. Some blue and white decorations, a menorah, and a couple of dreidels would make a lovely Hanukkah table. For Christmas add a tiny Christmas tree, some lights snaking around the table, a couple of clusters of ornaments, and any other decor you want to show off. This is your perfect opportunity for some creativity.
Last but not least, give your guests a couple of drink ideas to make. Design a page with one or two easy recipes, print it out, and display it in a pretty picture frame.
Take pictures of your seasonal beverage bar and share them with the CoffeeAM family.