The 10 Best Beverage Dispensers
This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in March of 2015. Drinks dispensers offer a convenient way to serve a crowd at home or the office, and our selection gives you a variety of options for whatever kind of beverage you plan to have at your next gathering. We've included everything from basic, functional models that will fit on any kitchen counter to decorative ones for parties and fancier affairs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best beverage dispenser on Amazon.
Choosing The Best Beverage Dispenser
For a truly classic beverage dispenser, a unit with a glass reservoir and a metal spigot is your best bet.
Glass dispensers look great and work well, but can be quite heavy even before they are loaded with a beverage.
Whether you are serving ice cold cocktails, refreshing lemonade, or warm and spicy apple cider, great beverages are the key to having a great party. People of all ages enjoy a great drink, and tasty drinks come in a wonderfully wide variety. One could spend an entire day just considering the different types of flavored water that could be served at a party, reception, or that could be placed in a hotel lobby. From water infused with cucumber to basil to mint to lemon to any variation using multiple different herbs, fruits, and other flavorings, there is an art to creating the perfect healthy, flavored water for a given location and time of the year.
So too could one spend hours trying to decide which cocktail best suits a given event. From a batch of sangria to a great mint julep to a classic daiquiri, there is always a perfect adult beverage for each occasion -- from a wedding to a reunion -- and choosing it is an art form unto itself.
While selecting the perfect beverage for a given event can be a challenge (an enjoyable challenge, but still difficult nonetheless), choosing the right beverage dispenser can be more of a cut and dried scenario. When you set up a beverage dispenser at your party, on the counter at a shop or in a lobby, or in an office, you remove the need for a person (a staff member, a waiter, or a willing friend, for example) to stand around serving drinks. It allows guests to get their own beverage whenever they would like and with minimal effort.
If you want a beverage dispenser that can serve both hot and cold drinks, such as coffee one day and iced tea the next, you need to choose a beverage dispenser that can stand up to temperature extremes; most plastic options are not viable for hot beverages. If you will only be serving chilled beverages (or room temperature drinks) then you have a much wider latitude of choice.
Plastic beverage dispensers are a good idea for use around kids, or if you will need to move the dispenser around frequently, potentially carrying it long distances, such as from the car to a picnic table or to the poolside. Glass dispensers look great and work well, but can be quite heavy even before they are loaded with a beverage.
For a truly classic beverage dispenser, a unit with a glass reservoir and a metal spigot is your best bet. These dispensers look great, offer plenty of durability, and keep beverages cool. Just make sure you look for issues like spigot placement, which can leave some beverage wasted at the bottom of the dispenser, and do keep in mind the weight issues presented by glass.
If you want to take your beverage dispensing abilities to a professional level, consider multiple tiered or side by side options that can hold several beverages at the same time. These units offer guests choice, which can be especially appreciated when both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages are on offer, and for offer both caffeinated and non-caffeinated drinks as well.
Perfect Party Beverage Ideas - No Booze Required
If the best beverage for a kid's party or for an event held during the daytime is a batch of good old lemonade, the second best is arguably iced tea. But to make things more interesting (and tasty) consider blending the two to make a delicious Arnold Palmer. Named for the famous golfer who is credited for popularizing this beverage, if not in fact for creating it (though it seems hard to believe that no one on earth had ever mixed lemonade induced tea before the year 1960, the first year which the beverage was noted by name), an Arnold Palmer consists quite simply of one part iced tea, one part lemonade. But within that simple blend are in fact myriad options. You can choose sweetened or unsweetened iced tea, flavored lemonades, and you can always add other flavors such as mint.
To make delicious fruit punch beverages that will stay perfectly tasty all throughout the party, plan ahead: freeze the same beverage that will be in your beverage dispenser in ice cube trays so you can keep the drink cool without diluting it. Also make sure to add some fresh fruit to the dispenser; it will add a little extra flavor and a lot of extra aesthetic appeal. One of the easiest fruit punch recipes you can make simply involves mixing equal parts of orange juice and cranberry juice cocktail. Float some fresh orange slices in the blend for added tanginess.
The only beverages that don't do well in beverage dispensers are those that are carbonated, as they will soon go flat and lose their flavor along with their bubbles. Aside from that, don't shy away from anything as basic as flavored water, as wild as an original juice blend, or as comforting as chocolate milk.
Adult Beverages By The Batch
When making a big batch of adult cocktails, a few classic options are out -- such as a gin or vodka tonic -- as they call for carbonated beverages, and others, such as a manhattan or martini, are a poor idea because they are simply too strong to serve in large quantities. You also want to serve a large batch cocktail that's relatively easy to make. Many amazing cocktails involve multiple ingredients, and are not something you want to be tasked with creating halfway into your party, especially if you have been imbibing as well.
Just mix three parts of your favorite cider with one part brandy, add slices of lemon and wedges of apple, and stir everything well.
One of the simplest cocktails you can make takes its cue from the Arnold Palmer, but with bourbon in place of the iced tea, and with the ratio slightly modified. A great whiskey and lemonade cocktail consists of three parts lemonade to one part whiskey. Float slices of fresh lemon in the liquid and use frozen lemonade ice cubes to keep it chilled.
For a cocktail that will be a delight served cold all year round and warm during the winter, offer your guests a great hard cider. Just mix three parts of your favorite cider with one part brandy, add slices of lemon and wedges of apple, and stir everything well. Add iced cider to keep things cool, or bring the cider to a nice warm temperature before adding the brandy and then mixing everything in the beverage dispenser.
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