How to make your self-service bar a success?

How to make your self-service bar a success?

Audrey Rouby

Are you planning a party and wondering how to create a cocktail bar? Here are some tips to wow your guests. Let them compose their own cocktail and give your festive day a friendlier and less stressful atmosphere for the host! Indispensable bottles of alcohol, fruity ice cubes, essential accessories ... here are some key elements to have in order to create a unique self-service cocktail bar.

Essential bottles

 Any good cocktail bar should have a few essentials to keep guests happy. Depending on your budget and space, we suggest you have a few classics like gin, vodka, and white and rosé wine to make a sangria. Do not hesitate to complement your sangria with an affordable cider or sparkling wine which will give it more oomph. You can also offer rum, tequila, and bourbon.

Extend cocktails with juice and sparkling

Sparkling drinks and juices are essential to add flavor to your cocktails and make them even more colorful. We know several classic combinations such as vodka and cranberry juice or rum and coca-cola.

Orange juice, cranberry juice, pineapple juice and a good soda are perfect for complimenting your cocktails. It all depends on the color you want to give them. Flavored mineral water is also perfect to add flavor and sparkle to a cocktail.

Using simple syrup is a great way to lengthen your cocktails, and it's easy to do at home. You need an equal portion of water and sugar (eg ½ cup of water and ½ cup of sugar) which you boil until the sugar is completely dissolved. You can also make flavored syrups by adding fruits or herbs.

Ice cubes

Ice cubes are essential in a cocktail. Consider making them more fun by making them with fruits, herbs or edible flowers inside. This will make your cocktails look great and taste even better when thawed.

Place a few berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, pieces of kiwi, lemon slices, etc.) at the bottom of each ice cube compartment. Add mint leaves to taste and let freeze for the necessary time. These ice cubes will look great in alcoholic or non-alcoholic cocktails, and even in simple glasses of sparkling water!


Embellish your glasses with an original decoration. Forget about small paper umbrellas and think about natural and edible garnishes. Don't hesitate to frost the rim of your glasses with lemon juice, then fine sugar. Or if you don't want to eat a lot of sugar, frost only half the glass. And for the kids, why not use decorative cake candies?

A slice of fresh fruit gives a whole style and above all a lot of flavor to a cocktail. Add it to the rim of the glass, directly into the drink or on a skewer on a small toothpick. All fruits are welcome: orange, lemon, lime, apple, nectarine, strawberry, cucumber slices, mint leaves, rosemary, coriander, ginger ... Everything to add freshness and complete the flavors of the drink.

Glasses and accessories

Who says cocktail says glass. For a self-service bar that packs a punch, there's no need to bring out the crystal cups for special occasions. You can find original and practical glasses at a lower cost. Personalize them by decorating them with small ribbons and name markers in a chalkboard finish that will identify the glasses.

Allow your guests to create their cocktail without having to wonder where the tools are and consider placing them directly on the bar table. Among the essential tools, a shaker, measuring spoons, a fine strainer to filter the ingredients and a pestle to crush the herbs well and bring out all their flavors.

Avoid single use plastic straws. If each guest takes one, two, or even three straws, that's a lot of waste at the end of the night. As we want colorful cocktails with lots of garnishes, straws are essential. Get cardboard or paper straws that are recyclable and biodegradable. Some even have cute printed designs like pineapples, melons, flamingos, or white and red stripes.

 Avoid misconduct and wrong dosages by preparing a few recipe cards. Write down the quantities of alcohol, juice and sparkling drink to respect and offer a few pairings with additional garnishes. Your guests will be more independent and you, less involved!

 Non-alcoholic cocktails

Whether it's for kids or adults who don't drink alcohol, consider a non-alcoholic alternative. Lemonade, a fruity punch and kombucha will satisfy your guests. A blend of lemonade, cranberry juice, cranberry syrup, apple must, fruit and rosemary, a beautiful beverage that will appeal to anyone who does not drink alcohol. Otherwise, a cucumber drink is a winning solution every time. To create this cocktail, take 1 oz of lemon juice, 1 oz of simple syrup, crushed cucumber sprouts and top with soda. Add ice cubes and cucumber slices for a simple and fresh look!

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