One of a host's toughest jobs is keeping drinks cold during a party, especially during hot weather. Even if there's enough room in a refrigerator to stash the drinks, they won't stay cold if guests are constantly opening and closing the door to help themselves. The trick is to keep drinks chilled while keeping them within easy reach. Instead of the typical cooler, use a more stylish container to serve drinks.
Wading pools put drinks within easy reach of guests at an outdoor party. For a casual event, a plastic pool filled with ice and beverage bottles and cans will suffice. Guests may dislike reaching down to ground level for a drink, so place the pool on a sturdy picnic table covered with a water-resistant tablecloth. Or, buy two or three smaller inflatable pools for use on tabletops.
Some hosts choose trash cans or barrels for icing down drinks, but those containers can be heavy to move and to empty at the end of the night. A wheelbarrow makes the bartending easier, from the time you wheel it out to your vehicle to transfer the bags of ice to the party's end, when you dump out the ice and put away the leftover beverages. A plastic wheelbarrow is lighter and easier to maneuver than a metal one, but choose one that is strong enough to handle the weight of ice and drinks. You can decorate the handles, wheels and sides to match your party theme.
Events with more than 100 guests require more than a refrigerator or cooler full of drinks. Consider renting a refrigerated trailer. Caterers and outdoor events often use these portable trailers to keep beverages chilled. An 8-foot by 12-foot trailer is a standard size. Companies that rent this equipment will drop off and pick up the trailer at your house or other party site. You plug in the cooler, set the temperature and stock it with drinks.
Here's a novel idea that will attract attention: rent a full-size vending machine stocked with sodas, and let guests have free drinks at the push of a button. Some vending machines can be adjusted so that no cash is required, which makes access easier for host and guests. For a twist, choose regional beverages that are not commonly sold everywhere, such as Cheerwine or Sundrop. To find a rental machine, check with vending companies that sell and service drink machines or businesses that rent party supplies.
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images