Delegating Summer Cocktails: The Ultimate Garnish Bar

*Thank you to 21 Seeds for sponsoring this post*

Memorial Day was the unofficial start of summer and after 2020, I’m embracing this season with a renewed appreciation and enthusiasm. I love summertime entertaining because it’s inherently more relaxed – at a certain point it just gets too hot down here to be fancy. While there’s always a time and place for fabulous, OTT tables, in the summer I really try to build on that laid-back vibe and find ways to make things extra easy and, most importantly, FUN!  

Enter 21 Seeds (paid partnership). As y’all know I’ve been working with this female-owned tequila brand for the last few months and they have an absolutely genius idea for a self-serve “Seeds & Soda Bar” that’s perfect for summertime cocktails. You know I love anything that I don’t have to make/prepare/mix, and this garnish bar concept empowers guests to make all different cocktails, all on their own. Talk about delegating!

The basic idea is that you start with some tequila, add a splash of juice and something fizzy (club soda, flavored La Croix, sparkling lemonade), and then embellish your cocktail with whatever garnishes you like. Remember how much fun an ice-cream bar was when you were a kid? It’s like that but better because, alcohol. The key is offering a nice selection of mixers and “toppings” (aka garnishes) so people can get creative, but not so many choices that it’s overwhelming. 2-3 juices + 2-3 fizzies + 6-8 garnishes is perfect. My bar included:

  • 3 flavors of 21 Seeds tequila (Grapefruit Hibiscus, Valencia Orange, Cucumber Jalapeno)
  • Topo Chico (duh)
  • sparkling pink lemonade
  • orange juice
  • pineapple juice
  • grapefruit juice
  • assorted citrus (limes, lemons, grapefruit)
  • raspberries
  • candied orange rounds
  • mint
  • rosemary

Everyone fixes their own drinks, and all you have to do is prep the “ingredients” in advance. That basically just means slicing some fruit and styling your bar, which of course I love anyway!

In terms of design, be sure to choose colorful mixers and toppings so everything pops and looks beautiful. To keep it summery, I stuck to a tropical palette of pink, orange, yellow, and green. Decant juices into pretty, clear containers and use clear bowls to display garnishes so the colors are visible. Choose toppings with different textures to keep it interesting, and in terms of which garnishes to offer, the sky’s the limit. Along with the options on my bar, there are so many possibilities: edible flowers, assorted berries, gummy candies, cucumber slices, cherries, pomegranate seeds, jalapeno rounds for some kick…the list goes on. I purchased all of my toppings and mixers at Trader Joe’s which kept this budget-friendly. For those wondering, my Rattan Bar Cart is from Serena & Lily (affiliate link).  

I also want to highlight the beautiful glassware I used to display the juices, mixers, and toppings. Everything is from Lenox – you might remember that I incorporated these same bowls and cocktail glasses into my May Flowers table. The pitcher, cocktail shaker, ice bucket, and bowls are all from Kate Spade’s Park Circle line, and the fabulous cocktail glasses are from the Trianna collection. Everything is linked here. Lenox kindly gifted me these pieces as part of our collaboration earlier this spring, and I’ve already used them all several times both for photo shoots and my own at-home entertaining.

I’m just loving this DIY drinks concept and how beautiful the garnish bar looks all styled and put together. It’s really a brilliant formula for efficiently serving a lot of people, especially now that we can host larger gatherings again – hallelujah!!! Anything that’s easy and chic is right up my alley, and this certainly fits the bill. Here’s to simplified summer entertaining, y’all! Salut!

*All photos courtesy of Lele Fain Photography*

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