When the weather outside is frightful, what’s more delightful than a fancy coffee drink? Unleash your inner barista by creating a Do-It-Yourself coffee bar in your home. Here’s how to take your caffeine fix to the next level.
Designate a Space
Set up your coffee bar on a dedicated space of countertop or clear off a small kitchen cart and place your fixings there. Put out mugs, stirrers and spoons for adding goodies, plus festive beverage napkins and coasters to help protect your tabletops from rings.
Begin Your Brew
There are so many options for crafting the perfect cup of coffee—though some work better for larger parties and others for smaller gatherings. If you’re having a crowd, you can keep your 9-cup coffee maker running nonstop—it comes with an insulated carafe to ensure that coffee stays piping hot for every cup you serve. For smaller get-togethers, a French press is a great option for those who like their coffee strong and bold, while a pour-over coffee maker caters to those who gravitate towards smoothness.
Hard to believe not everyone wants coffee, especially on a chilly night, but if you’re inviting kids or people who don’t want caffeine before bedtime, consider offering other hot beverage options, like an array of teas and hot chocolate.
Stock Up on Syrups
Traditional half-and-half is a must, and skim or low-fat milk placed in an easy-to-grip creamer is a good bet, too. But to really make your coffee bar party central, you need flavored creamers and syrups to infuse a little caramel, hazelnut and pumpkin spice into the drink. Fun fact: Eggnog makes a great stand-in for creamer during the holidays.
Give It Some Kick
A dash of liqueur or spirits turns your everyday coffee into a festive adult cocktail. Try liqueurs like cinnamon schnapps, orange-flavored liqueur or amaretto, or old standbys like Irish cream, rum or whiskey. (You can also whip up the ultimate Irish coffee for your guests.)
Add a Sprinkle
A dash of something sweet or spicy adds a different dimension to your coffee. Along with a traditional sugar dispenser, put out whipped cream for guests to dollop on top and offer caramel and chocolate sauces for drizzling. You can help friends jazz things up with a spoonful of chocolate shavings, orange zest and crushed peppermint. Or try a dash of cinnamon, chili powder, flavor-infused sugars, or cocoa powder to dress up your drink.
Set the Scene
For an Instagram-ready coffee bar, repackage all your add-ins into similar containers. Sleek, modern POP containers come in varying sizes and allow you to keep contents fresher and easier to dispense, all while look impossibly chic. Add festive touches like crisp gingham ribbon, a few sprigs of evergreen and colorful candy canes to bring a breath of holiday cheer to your bar. And don’t forget to use labels to help guests know what each ingredient is.
Serve with Sweets
Set out a plate of biscotti (made for dipping) or serve up some coffee cake, gingerbread cookies or a stroopwaffel (a round sandwich cookie traditionally served on top of the coffee—the steam from the drink helps melt the caramel in the middle).
Now that you’ve built your awesome winter coffee bar, don’t put it all away when the weather warms up. Make cold brew coffee in advance, put out some ice, glasses and paper straws, and make gourmet ice-coffee treats instead. Try these three tasty takes on ice-cold brew.