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Mimosa Bar DIY

I love hosting dinner parties at my home, but I would say that the toughest part of throwing such a party is the first 15 minutes when your guests start showing up. Cooking-wise, this is crunch time for me, when I'm pulling all the dishes together that I didn't want to get cold by making earlier. And I can GUARANTEE you that the first few people to walk into your home will immediately stand .2 feet away from you and your stove and ask you repeatedly what they can do to help. This is always a kind gesture, but most likely not that helpful. Here is the simplest, most effective way to subvert this:

Helpful Guest: "Can I do anything to help?"
Host: "Why yes you can! You can make yourself a drink! (Points to bar)"

There are two reasons this works so well. (1) Instead of saying "No, I think I'm ok" which will most likely result in repeat offers to help you, by telling guests "Yes, there is something you can do for me" you make them feel helpful and give them something to occupy themselves with, instead of standing around feeling useless. And (2) everybody enjoys a fun drink station. Alcohol = the great equalizer.

So when I hosted my annual Easter brunch this year, I decided to try out a make-your-own mimosa bar. It's as easy as 1-2-3 (4) as long as you incorporate a few key elements. 

Here are my top tips to make one of your own:

1. Serve a few juice options. Because my guest list was small, I only went with orange and grapefruit juice (the sweet classic + something for guests who prefer tart over sweet). If you're entertaining more people, pineapple, cranberry or blood orange juice would also be great to add. 

Tip: take the juices out of their store-bought containers! Not only will it look much more uniform and upscale, but will save you money too (now no one cares if I paid $10 for a fancy juice or $2 for the carton on sale at the supermarket) And while having all the same bottle is nice aesthetically, it's not necessary, just choose your containers with purpose. I only own one pitcher, so I used it for the OJ since I was serving more of that than any other juice, anticipating that the classic would be most popular. The other two bottles I had on hand. I think I got them from Ikea. They have THESE BOTTLES online for $3.99 each, but I'm pretty sure I found mine in store for only about a dollar or two. Or if you're really thrifty, you can save clear wine bottles from white wine to use for this - just soak them in hot water to remove the labels.

2. Serve small or sliced fruit. This is the part of the station that makes it a fun DIY. I went with an all berry theme, but you could also serve small chunks of lemon, orange, pineapple or mango for a more tropical take. If you don't have small glasses like mine, an eclectic mix of teacups would be cute, or a few medium sized jars would work well for a rustic theme. 

Serve with teaspoons and include a muddler so people can muddle the fruits in their glass if they'd like. If you don't have a muddler (I don't.) the handle of a wooden spoon works well too (and adds to a rustic vibe).

3. Labels! You can buy a package of standard sized tent cards at any stationary or office goods store, or just cut your own out of cardstock. Use them to label juices, cut up fruits, and anything else that may be unclear. It will answer guest's questions for you and help keep your station looking clean by helping people to put things back in the right place.

4. Something for the guys. It just so happens that fruity champagne drinks often tend to appeal to the ladies more than men, so if you're having a big male turnout, I'd suggest adding a bloody mary option to your mimosa bar. To do this, I simply added a pre-made batch of bloody mary mix to my line up of juices, picked up a neat looking bottle of vodka, and placed a tall celery stalk in each ball jar. It's cute AND manly to drink out of a ball jar these days. Win win.

Final Tips:
Symmetry. It really doesn't matter whether your glassware and dishes are very fancy, if your station has symmetry it will be visually appealing. Notice that I set my mimosa (aka wine) glasses on the left side of the table and mirrored my bloody mary jars on the right. I also mirrored the champage bucket behind the wine glasses with the vodka bottle behind the jars. The celery sticks in the jars not only add a nice pop of missing color, but also serve to bring the shorter jars up to roughly the height of the tall wine glasses on the opposite side, completing the symmetry of the table. 

{I also went with even numbers for the two sides, and odd numbers for the elements in the center of the table.}

Chillin'. PLEASE chill the drinks. Just like smoothies, this is key to a tasty drink. Keep your juices in the fridge and your alcohol in the freezer until just before your guests arrive. 

Voila! Do you have any favorite DIY party drinks or ideas for your own mimosa bar? Comment below! I love all your comments and I always respond!


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  1. Ah this is so fun and easy to create! I love how you added a Bloody Mary option to the mix, I will definitely be trying this out for my next brunch get-together!
    An Unblurred Lady

  2. Dear Ashley,

    I'm hosting a fancy brunch this weekend, and I am super excited to make this mimosa bar. I have a cute house, but it doesn't seat many people, so I have improvised some tables and chair situations, but I don't want to do a seating chart. I love the fresh lemon place cards from your Easter brunch, and I would love to incorporate fresh fruit into the mimosa table. Do you have any ideas for maybe smaller fruit that won't clutter up/ weigh down the station too much, or should I just stick with paper place cards? I've made some terrible (amazing) snobby San Franciscan infusions for the juice mixers.

    Let me know what you think!


    1. Hi Kate-

      I'm so glad you're doing a mimosa bar! If you want to make labels similar to the lemon place cards but smaller, I can think of a few ideas off the bat. Probably the easiest substitution would be using key limes instead of lemons. They're much smaller, just be sure to shave a bit off the bottom otherwise they'll probably roll around. Or you could even cut lemons in half and face the cut side down or to the back in order to cut down on space & weight (I personally love the pop of yellow from lemons). Other fruits I think would work well are kumquats or strawberries. I would just cut little circles or squares out of cardboard and use a dollop of hot glue to adhere each fruits to the cardboard to make a base so they won't roll, then use toothpicks or cut down coffee stirs to hold the labels, just like in the lemon placecard DIY. Let me know if you have more questions or brainstorming ideas, and let me know how it goes girl!!


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