Summer is just around the corner! And with the season of balmy weather and sunshine comes the allure of braais , picnics, beach days, outdoor parties and gatherings. No doubt, this is also when it becomes the most necessary to deploy a few ice-cold bevvies in 60 seconds or less to keep the heat at bay. From chilled spritzers around the pool or braai to sub-zero beers while camping, here are 5 simple steps for whipping up a quick drinks station or bar tray in no time at all.
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1. Shade, Shade, shade
The first thing you need to address for any outdoor pop-up summer bar is how to keep the drinks cool while everyone is lazing around in the sun. Look around for the perfect spot with all-day protection from the rays. If you’re setting up in a garden or outdoor venue where there aren’t any trees or structures providing shade, then purchase or borrow some large outdoor umbrellas that you can set up as free-standing protection for your drinks.
2. Get it done early
Once you’ve identified the best spot for – or created your own – all-day shade, the best advice anyone can ever give you is to set up the bar or drinks station first. Inevitably you’ll have a few guests arrive early and your pop-up watering hole can keep them entertained and relaxed while you address any last-minute set-up for the rest of your event.
3. Choosing your surface
The rickety old picnic table that you inherited from grandma isn’t going to cut it for holding up buckets filled with ice and several bottles or even punchbowls. When your refreshments are all assembled and ready to go, you’ll be surprised how heavy they can become. Rather opt for the sturdiest table or surface available to you. If you do decide to use some kind of tablecloth or covering, ensure it’s something that can be easily washed afterwards – guests spilling here and there is pretty much a guarantee. If you’d like to dress it up consider attractive plastic or wooden place mats or even table runners fashioned from fabric, scarves or wrapping paper.
4. Addressing the staples
You can always hedge your bets on beer and wine for an outdoor gathering, which are readily available from your nearest Checkers Wine Route or LiquorShop. Unless you have an outdoor electric fridge or freezer you’ll also find yourself relying on innovation to keep these bevvies ice cold throughout the event. You can pull it off with ease though by ensuring you have these two things: plenty of cooler boxes with a healthy supply of ice for the mass storage of the bottles you want chilled and then a few galvanized ice buckets (or even normal plastic ones) filled with ice for moving individual bottles into. This makes it easy for guests to just grab what they need when they want it.
Also, don’t forget an ice bucket with tongs for anyone who wants to add more ice to their drinks too. And of course, have plenty of additional water on hand for hydration in the sun!
5. Work smart, not hard
If you’re catering for quite a large crew in a small space, consider serving a punch with your wine and beer staples. This can be a lot easier than juggling a range of individual spirits with their mixes – or even cocktails on a small bar surface. And of course, remember to place plenty of bins around the venue for collecting bottles and recycling. This will make the clean-up so much easier. You can also mimic a lot of wine and cocktail glass styles with plastic counterparts – a range of these can minimize a lot of broken glass issues.
Whether you’re hosting a large gathering for a mouth-watering potjie or preparing no-carb nibbles for a day around the pool, deploy our handy pop-up bar steps for flawless summer drinks and cocktails in the sun. Serving up your favourite sippers in style this summer has never been so easy.
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