I styled a modern black-and-white Summer BBQ for Chinet® brand’s blog, and decided I wanted to create this gourmet Lemonade Bar to go along with it. I prefer easy-going entertaining ideas for the summer, and I love to get guests involved mixing up their own drinks at a party (like we did here, here and here).
It is HOT here in Phoenix, so summer entertaining is all about relaxing and enjoying time with family and friends. Doing a DIY drink mixing bar takes the pressure off the host of getting drinks for everyone; plus it is a fun, low-key activity that guests really seem to enjoy. They like to come back and try different combinations, and with this Lemonade Bar there are plenty of options to play around with.
Have you ever noticed all the different kinds of gourmet Lemonades out there? Name almost any fruit and there is likely a Lemonade that can be made with it! This gourmet Lemonade Bar will give your guests a chance to make and try all kinds of fun Lemonade combos.
A gourmet Lemonade Bar would work great for a father’s day barbecue or really any backyard BBQ. I did mine for my daughter’s birthday party. I kept thinking this Lemonade Bar would be so cute for DIY rehearsal dinner ideas.
How to do a Lemonade Bar
When making your own gourmet Lemonade Bar, you’ll definitely need a great Lemonade Recipe. I seriously think this is the best homemade Lemonade Recipe, and it’s really easy. If you want an even easier option, get a frozen lemonade concentrate, but promise me you won’t use the powdered lemonade mixes for this Lemonade Bar. That is one shortcut that just won’t payoff — the flavor will be off, and you’ll miss out on the pulp texture of real lemonade.
For your gourmet lemonade mix-ins, use whatever fruits sound most appealing to you. You could also coordinate the choices with your party theme or go with whatever is on sale! Be sure to also offer a variety of fresh herbs. Of course you’ll want mint, but even herbs that are traditionally used in savory dishes, like basil and rosemary, can bring an interesting flavor to your drink. Set out a beautiful spread and invite guests to experiment!
If you use a cup that is too large, your guests won’t feel as free to experiment
The Chinet Cut Crystal® 9 oz. cups are sturdy and the perfect size for a Lemonade Bar or other drink-mixing station (check out that link for a $2 off coupon!). If you use a cup that is too large, your guests won’t feel as free to experiment with unique combinations. When it’s just a smaller serving, you can try lots of things without wasting much.
Label all the ingredients using the free printable tag template I’m offering in my free Modern BBQ Printable Pack at the end of this post. This template is editable so you can type in whatever mix-ins you’re using. You can also use these tags as place cards for your table, like I did in my Modern BBQ tablescape. The kit also includes that black “bbq” sign that you can print, frame and display.
I provided a large cutting board and paring knife so guests could peel, slice or make other preparations as needed. I also set out plenty of cocktail napkins and sturdy Chinet Cut Crystal® disposable spoons. The stone mortar and pestle looks beautiful on the table, but it is also totally functional since smashing the fresh herbs helps release their flavors. I got mine years ago, but here’s a similar looking mortar and pestle on Amazon.
Lemonade Bar: Flavored Lemonade Combo Ideas
There is really no set recipe for these gourmet flavored lemonades. Of course you’ll need a great plain lemonade to start with, and I used my homemade lemonade recipe. Then for the mix-ins the fun really is in coming up with seemingly crazy concoctions and then tasting them. Here’s two of the favorite gourmet lemonade combos from my Lemonade Bar party.
Cucumber +Blackberry + Mint Lemonade
First up, let’s make Cucumber Blackberry & Mint Lemonade! I think this one was my personal flavorite (I accidentally typed that combination of “flavor” and “favorite,” but I like it so I’m leaving it. I think we just invented a new word… LOL!) The tanginess of the berries with the roundness of the cucumber, accented by the cooling mint was totally refreshing!
TO MAKE: Fill your glass about two-thirds of the way with ice-cold lemonade. Add cucumber slices and a few blackberries. Tear off a three or four mint leaves and mottle in the mortar and pestle. Add the bruised leaves to your drink and mix well. Sip and enjoy!
Strawberry + Lime + Basil Lemonade
This Strawberry Lime & Basil Lemonade was my kids flavorite, even with the basil! They love strawberries, so I guess I’m not that surprised. The basil just adds some contrasting flavor that kind of tickles the tastebuds, and they drank it up!
TO MAKE: Fill your glass about two-thirds of the way with ice-cold lemonade. Add sliced strawberries and a squeeze of lime. Tear off a two or three basil leaves and roll them up then thinly slice. Alternatively you could press them in the mortar and pestle. Add the basil to your drink and enjoy!
Lemonade Bar & Modern BBQ Printable Pack
Be sure to fill out the form below to instantly download my free printable Modern BBQ & Lemonade Bar pack. You’ll get that cute, black “bbq” sign that you can print, frame and display. I have also included the ingredient labels that I used as well as an editable tag template so you can type in whatever mix-ins you’re using. You can also use these tags as place cards for your table!