WAID Holiday Party Prep Part 1: Festive Beverages

Holiday Centerpieces

The holidays are approaching quickly and if you’re anything like me, you’re already making plans for your annual event.  I love a good party — tons of food, striking decor, adorable gifts for the guests, and unforgettable memories with loved ones.  As I’m sure you’re aware, these items can add up and do so QUICKLY.  After stressing about party funds for a couple of years in a row, I’ve finally figured out how to throw a great holiday bash without breaking the bank.

My goal is to usually stick to the $100-$150 budget range for my at home occasions.  They’re usually cocktail events so it’s a bit easier to do than if I was throwing a large dinner party.  Typically, I divvy up my budget based on the below percentages:

Food & Drink : 65%

Decor & Favors : 35%

This month’s posts are all about how to throw an amazing holiday party while sticking to the budget mentioned above.  For our first post, we’re going to discuss how to control beverage costs while still providing a satisfying variety.

When I think of the holidays, I think of full-bodied warm drinks like cider and hot chocolate, spicy cocktails made with bourbon and whiskey, and minty spritzers accented with seasonal berries.

hot chocolate bar

Cider and hot chocolate can easily be purchased from your local grocery store in abundance and — even better — at a very low price.  I personally love purchasing Alpine Spiced Cider packets and individual servings of Swiss Miss hot chocolate.  A box of 8 for both of these items usually ranges around $3.00.  With hot drinks, you can create a cozy drink display like the one depicted above.  Just throw in a few drink “toppings” like mini marshmallows, cinnamon sticks, and chocolate melts and you’ve created a fun, build-your-own drink bar for your guests.

Holiday Cocktail

You can never go wrong with a signature drink at your event.  Not only is it memorable, but it helps limit the amount of alcohol you’ll need to purchase.  You’ll only need a few items versus purchasing enough liquor to stock a full bar.  One of my favorite cocktails is a mimosa, and I’ve come across a wonderful version that’s perfect for the holidays — a white cranberry mimosa.  The ingredient list for this drink is short and sweet (..literally):

  • Champagne
  • White Cranberry Juice
  • Frozen Berries

I like to present colorful cocktails for my events so in addition to the frozen berries, I would purchase some fresh mint to throw in as well.  Now, champagne can definitely be a budget breaker, but there are many delicious — but budget friendly — options for purchase.  For example, Trader Joe’s often has a great bottle of champagne that’s only $3.99.

{Purchase Tip : Keep in mind that each bottle of champagne equates to 3-4 glasses}

To keep your shopping stops to a minimum, Trader Joe’s also offers great deals on the rest of the ingredients (juice, frozen berries, and fresh mint).

Holiday Beverage Displays

One of the most frequent party planning mistakes is forgetting to offer water and “non-themed” beverages at smaller events.  You can easily, and affordably, make these less exciting beverages interesting by creating your own labels, adding small details like a ribbon tie, or storing them in an eye-catching basket lined in a festive fabric.

For more holiday party ideas and tips, visit my Holiday Party Prep Pinterest board.

Photo credit: decorazilla.com, cre8tivedesignsinc.com, meetmakelaugh.blogspot.ca, spoonful.com, colincowieweddings.com

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