At Kimpton, we organize thousands of events every year and never stop imagining ways to bring something new to the mix. With rockstar chefs at our side, we’re now trend-setting with our beverage program, too. Innovative cocktails and drink stations can take a gathering to the next level. In fact, a little nip during the day can really spark creativity and participation during your event, especially among your shyer attendees.
To help you go beyond the ordinary here are five ways you can be inventive with adding cocktails to your agenda. Keep in mind that you can include virgin versions of any of these cocktails, and being responsible is key. Just have fun! And don’t forget: You can try these when you’re hosting at home, too.
1. Start with the Holy Grail — the Bloody Mary bar.
It’s been called “breakfast in a glass.” And who could argue with that? The Bloody Mary is a great eye-opener and can be just the hair of the dog your guests need if they are sluggish in the morning. It’s the perfect way to welcome your guests. Get their creativity going early with a build-your-own cocktail bar stocked with fresh, local ingredients — ranging from pickled veggies to bacon. You can also try Bloody Marias (made with tequila instead of vodka) or pre-made shooters. Set out a virgin mix for those that prefer it.
2. Try “Spike It” drink stations.
Lunchtime is prime time to blast a little fun and energy into an event. You can pull it off with little fuss by having a variety of unique and attractive beverage dispensers of pre-mixed cocktails, labeled appropriately of course. That way, your guests can dip into something new whenever they want — in the amount they prefer. A cocktail bar drink station also allows them to try a liquor they haven’t had before, or enjoy one of their faves in a new and inventive way. Try negronis or a seasonal punch.
3. Wow with original drink and cocktail presentations.
Drinks can be conversation starters before they’re even served. It all comes down to presentation. In warm weather, snow cones are a great idea; have a bartender on hand to shave ice and do pour-overs with syrups and liquors. You can also try booze popsicles or ice cubes. Think of it as snack time reinvented.
4. Tap into the flavors of the seasons.
Just like food, cocktails can be inspired by seasonality. Fall is a great time to spike hot apple cider and hot chocolate. Or, bump things up a notch and soak mini taffy apples in spiked cider — it’s a treat with a kick that your guests will love. In the winter, opt for holiday themed spirits and warming cocktails at your drink station. Spring is the perfect time to tap into the trending flavors for the new year. And during the summer, consider having your meeting or event al fresco for even more fun, and offer seasonal summer cocktails.
5. Think mini cocktails and snacks.
Often, little things have the biggest impact. Especially when you pair small bites with mini cocktails. Consider food and drinks that naturally go hand in hand — mini tacos with mini margaritas, or cheeseburger sliders with shots of craft beer at the drink station. This works really well for receptions, lunch stations and even during meeting breaks.