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How to
Decorate and Fill a Drink Dispenser for a Party

If you love to entertain, a Pottery Barn drink dispenser can be the ultimate accessory for your countertop, buffet table, bar or patio. Even if your parties usually consist of your kids and a few friends coming in from the outdoors, setting up a drink dispenser can help make sure everyone in your home is well-hydrated and happy. The great thing about these handy pieces is that they can look beautiful in addition to being highly functional. 

In this video, you see just one way that you can approach filling a drink dispenser. Remove the rind from 1" rounds of pineapple, cut them in half and stack them artfully inside your dispenser, using bamboo skewers to stabilize the slices. Fill the center conduit with ice, and add sparkling lemonade and vodka to fill the dispenser. The sliced pineapple half-circles lend themselves well to being stacked around the dispenser’s perimeter, but think about how many other kinds of fruit have a similar shape. Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melons and even cucumber or tomato can all go in your dispenser in the same configuration, and you don’t have to use that stacked structure to make your dispenser look great and dispense tasty drinks. Even diced fruit or whole berries rinsed and tossed in the jug look fantastic floating around with some ice and liquid.

Sparkling lemonade and vodka, as suggested in the video, are great options for fruit-filled drink dispensers, but you can branch out much further than that. Mixed cocktails, still water, fruit juices and even sodas look great decanted into the dispenser. For ideal presentation of your edible decorative fillings, though, it’s wise to stick with translucent liquids of a lighter shade rather than opaque juices or dark drinks.

Don’t forget to add some additional flavors into the mix wherever you see fit. Fresh herbs and peeled aromatics such as ginger or whole cinnamon sticks can help add a kick to your beverage. Mix up a spicy cocktail and drop a few whole chiles into the dispenser for a bright pop of color that immediately lets everyone know a spicy sip is in store.

Ice is a great addition to your drink dispenser, but you can get creative there too. Pop cleaned and de-stemmed grapes and berries into the freezer arranged in a single layer on a cookie sheet or freezer-safe plate and then toss them into your drink dispenser when they’re frozen solid. You’ll have a mixture of color, flavor and temperature control all in one without watering down the drink.

The main chamber isn’t the only part of your drink dispenser that you can decorate. If you have a two-part dispenser with a base, dress that up to match the theme of your drink. You can add decorative, shaped ice cubes and slices of fruit, sprigs of herbs, fresh or dried flowers and even non-edible items such as vase filler. In the video, you can see how a coiled length of braided nautical rope can add an extra dimension of tropical flavor to a beverage without altering the drink’s taste at all.

Drink dispensers that don’t have a separate base can still get some extra decor. Get creative with how you approach the top of the drink. In the video, the drink dispenser gets a special piece of headgear with a cored pineapple crown that sits delicately on top of the dispenser. You can experiment with attaching other pieces of fruit to the dispenser, or stick with something less perishable and hang a delicate chain of crystals or shells around the top of your beverage.

Get creative; anything that can drape or rest around the dispenser can add pizzazz. A flower crown repurposed from a piece of a headband into a decorative accent for your drink dispenser can add another element of color and texture to your celebration.

After your decoration is finished, take care to label the container so everyone knows what’s in there, and be prepared to answer questions from curious folks who may have food allergies or dietary restrictions. If you have kids running around the house and an alcoholic beverage in the dispenser, be sure to clearly label it as being for adults only so no one gets confused and thinks she’s giving her little one a glass of harmless juice. All you need to do now is set out some glassware and pour a drink for yourself.