In most homes, a kitchen is a gathering place that draws people to it in droves. Especially if you are the type of family that likes to entertain guests, host dinner parties, watch parties or call in the herd for a good old American cookout.
Of course, everyone’s tastes are different. Especially when it comes to their favorite beverages. A well-stocked refrigerator or a cooler packed with ice and your best guess at everyone’s favorite drinks might have gotten you by in the past. Though with all the modern beverage station innovations the world offers today, chances are you can do better.
Creating the ultimate beverage station for your kitchen can be surprisingly easy. You just have to mind a few important details and take heed of a few key tips.
Glasses, Stemware & Mugs
The perfect beverage needs the right cup, and the red plastic cups of your old college dorm room days simply aren’t going to impress anyone. At the same time, you probably don’t want to risk putting your best stemware out where it can be chipped or broken.
Fortunately, some great disposable cups look like real glass but are really made from a special type of clear durable plastic. With the growing awareness of the environmental impact of plastic, most manufacturers are making these cups recyclable. They are great for cold beverages and cocktails.
If you do want to serve wine, but you don’t want to risk damaging your best stemware, you might want to consider a trip to a discount dollar store. With a little bit of luck, you might be able to find wine glasses and mugs that match your tastes for a relatively low price per item. They can be washed and reused. If someone does accidentally break one, you are only out a dollar.
Offer A Dedicated Wine Rack
If you are an oenophile or you just love to share a favorite vintage with your guests, then a dedicated wine rack is a must. You can stock it with your favorite bottles or just use it as a place to hold a few bottles of table wine, while the rest of your collection stays neatly tucked away in the basement.
You can also use the wine rack to hold other essential items such as appropriate stemware for white and red wines, and corkscrews. There are also wine preservation systems that can keep a bottle in pristine condition for days after pouring the first glass. A few even have dispensers with temperature controls to let you pour a glass at a moment’s notice and be confident that it is at the perfect temperature for its type and vintage.
Invest In A Single Cup Coffee Maker
Keurig might have taken the world by storm with their first iteration of a one-cup coffee maker, but the concept has been copied by many other manufacturers the world over. Some with creative iterations on what can be done with a single steamy hot cup of water.
While they certainly can be used for making a high-quality cup of coffee, most of the best single cup coffee makers can also be used to make things like chai tea, and even hot cocoa. It’s a great way to let your guests pick their perfect warm beverage on a cold day.
Get Your Drawers & Cabinets Organized
Most dedicated beverage stations have drawers or cabinet spaces to hold supplies, accessories, cups, and drinkware. Installing simple drawer dividers help give everything its own dedicated place, while also making sure it stays put no matter how many times you happen to open or close the drawer.
Installing adjustable shelves and using movable shelf dividers also lets you optimize the storage space in cabinets and cupboards. This is especially handy if you like to buy your beverage supplies in bulk and need to adjust your internal storage space to accommodate incoming supplies.
Get A Mini-Fridge Or Wine Fridge
Your main kitchen refrigerator should be reserved for food and family items. Keeping a mini-fridge or a wine chiller near or even in your beverage station will create a dedicated place to keep beverages cold. It’s a more elevated and elegant option compared to an old cooler that’s prone to developing off smells over time.
It’s worth it to invest in a high-end model with sensitive temperature controls. This lets you dial in just the right temperature for the beverages or snacks you might want to store in it.
Provide A Dedicated Garbage Or Recycling Can
If you love to entertain guests, then you know that clean up can be a chore. Especially for first-time guests who don’t necessarily know where your garbage and recycling cans are. Putting a separate bin near the drink station encourages them to deposit their own can, bottle, or cup when they go for a fresh one or a refill.
Offer Water Bottles & Sports Drinks
Some people would rather drink water or a sports drink rather than sugary soda or coffee. Water is also important to have on hand if you will be serving alcohol. It reminds guests to take a break every now and then as well as helping them stay properly hydrated.
If you want to take it up a notch, you can also offer an assortment of “Water Enhancers.” These are small little squirt bottles that let guests customize the flavor of their bottled water or mixed drink.
Don’t Forget The Ice
A lot of beverages are best when served ice cold. Especially mixed cocktails. If you have the luxury of being able to run a water line to your beverage station, you might want to think about installing a small portable ice maker. Otherwise, a properly insulated ice bucket with a lid and tongs will let guests add their preferred amount of ice to their glass without having to set up a line at the ice maker in your refrigerator door.