It’s decadent. It’s delicious. And the set-up is as easy as pie. A Drinks and Dessert Bar is an ideal party idea for a birthday, bridal or baby shower, family gathering or holiday gift swap. Plus, most items can be made ahead of time—which leaves you more time to enjoy the party. Sweet!
Set Up: Desserts
There are so many options, but here are a few of our favorite Dessert Bar ideas to inspire you.
Crispy and crunchy or chewy and gooey—you can’t go wrong with cookies! Break out your family recipes, grab an assortment from your local bakery or ask guests to bring some of their favorites for a cookie swap.
At Colonial, we’ve paired Girl Scout Cookies with Wine, made cookies using Bourbon in the recipe and helped countless party host/hostesses create cookie-inspired cocktails. So we know how big the cookie craze is.
Bar for Bars
In the south we LOVE our bars – edible ones that is! Made ahead of time and cut into a perfect square or rectangle for easy eating, dessert bars are a great option for a casual gathering. You can serve lemon bars, Neiman Marcus bars, or even rice crispy treats that your guests will love.
Some of Everything Bar
This is your time to shine! Bake all the cookies, pies, cakes, and bars your heart desires. Create a wonderland of sweet treats for guests. Add little touches like powdered sugar to bundt cakes and bowls of colorful candy in between the baked goods. Leave no sweet treat stone unturned in this all-out mega display of dessert.
Pie + Wine
Any way you slice it, pie is the perfect after dinner dessert. Now, just add wine. Here are our pie pairing picks.
Christmas Gift Swap?
Decorate your sweet treats with red and green sprinkles!
Dip strawberries in dark chocolate to resemble a tuxedo or white chocolate with edible pearls to look like a wedding dress. The sky is the limit!
Make cake pops dipped in white chocolate. Color the white chocolate with food coloring to match the shower colors or the gender of the baby!
Chocolate: pairs well with Brachetto D'Acqui like Rosa Regale
Lemon: pairs well with Moscato D'Asti or Champagne (Kermit Lynch Moscato D'asti or Taittinger Champagne recommended)
Nuts and Nut butters: pair well with tawny Ports (Taylor Fladgate Tawny Port recommended)
Fresh Fruit Desserts: pair well with Moscato D'asti or a Classic Rum Daiquiri
5 types of dessert wine:
Sparkling Dessert Wine
Lightly Sweet Dessert Wine
Richly Sweet Dessert Wine
Sweet Red Wine
Set Up: Drinks
Now that we have the desserts covered, let’s talk drinks!
Everyone loves a good party punch! Even better, it’s a self-serve drink. Here’s one of our favorites:
Festive Cranberry Punch
1 bag of frozen cranberries
1 large orange, sliced and then frozen
4 cups cranberry juice
2 cups orange juice
2 cups apple juice
2 cups Deep Eddy Cranberry vodka
2- Liter bottle of ginger ale
Combine all liquid ingredients except ginger ale into a pitcher and stir well. Cover pitcher and store in fridge until completely cooled. Once chilled and ready to serve, add frozen fruit and ginger ale. The frozen fruit in this punch acts as ice, keeping your punch chilled, but doesn’t dilute your drinks- score!
Having a party where you serve all the drinks can be time consuming. Keep the stress to a minimum and keep your guests happy with one signature cocktail that’s tasty and easy to make on the fly.
Dark and Stormy
2 oz. Gosling’s dark rum
5 oz. Gosling’s ginger beer
Pour rum over ice in your favorite glass, fill with ginger beer, squeeze with lime wedge and enjoy!
P.S. this pairs well with pineapple upside down cake!
Here’s another great self-serve station idea for your guests. This is especially useful if you have a large party and can set up your Dessert Bar in one location of the gathering space, and the bubbles in another area. This will allow for easier mingling and can prevent unwanted bottlenecks. Check out our Champagne Bar Guide for details.
Allow guests to cleanse their palates and rehydrate. Dress up your water pitchers with slices of lemon, limes or cucumber.
Little Touches and Details
So you’ve got the items you’re serving figured out. Desserts: check. Drinks: check. Now what? Here are a few ideas to inspire your creative juices and wow your guests!
Are the desserts made by different guests? Make printable signs to label them. That way guests will know who made which delicious treat.
Whether you have vases of fresh flowers scattered around the party or paper cutouts of Christmas trees decorating your stations, there are tons of ways small decorations can add a real wow factor to the festivities!
Take Home Gifts
Leave guests feeling warm and welcomed with a little take home present. They’ll remember your party for months to come! Here are some ideas:
1. Recipe Cards
Was there a special treat featured at your party? Guests will be delighted to take home the recipe and recreate it in their own home!
At Colonial Wines and Spirits, we have a large selection of individual-sized bottles of sparkling wine. Grab a small bottle of Prosecco for each of your guests, tie with a colorful piece of ribbon and give to guests as they leave.
3. Tins of Treats
This is an especially good idea of your party is a cookie or pastry swap! Supply your guests with a take-home container to fill. You’ll look like a rock star of preparedness!