Skip the Soda: How To Serve Free-Flowing Infused Water In a Party

Whether it’s a kid’s party or a family reunion in your home, there’s no doubt that people will expect something other than water to drink. Events are supposed to be fun and engaging, and while water is the healthy and hydrating choice, it’s boring and isn’t always satisfying to drink.

That’s why a lot of parents and homeowners choose to spend a significant amount of their budget on soft drinks and bottled juices. A 2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola costs around $1.50 up to $2, while juice would cost roughly less than that. And if you’ve ever bought drinks for a party, you know you can’t have just one drink flavor.

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Not only the cost, you also have to take note of the health effects. Soft drinks contain a lot of sugar, and even the diet and zero-sugar variants have artificial sweeteners that can affect your health. Though many juices are advertised as having real fruit in it, the health benefits you get from these drinks (if any) are cancelled out by the amount of sugar and preservatives it has.

Which is why I’ve stopped serving soft drinks whenever I’ve hosted an event in my home. Instead, I’ve started serving infused water. A lot of people who have tried this have failed because they didn’t know how to make enough flavored water without running out and then being forced to serve refilled water that hasn’t fully infused with the fruits yet. But I’ve developed a way of making sure you never run out of infused water so that you can keep the refreshing but healthy drinks flowing.

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Determine How Many Guests You’re Having

Any host with a tight budget can’t afford to make too much food. But at the same time, it’s embarrassing for a host to run out of food and drinks while there are still hungry guests. So, you’ll have to determine a rough estimate of how many guests you’ll be having and how much food and drinks are enough.

When it comes to drinks, the Spruce wrote this helpful article on how to calculate the number of drinks you need to make for a party. Be sure to have enough cups or glasses for a party. If you’re having 30 guests, don’t just buy 30 cups ready. If you’re using glasses, have contingency glasses in case a guest breaks one, and if you have disposable cups, remember that some guests may want a new cup instead of holding on to their one cup the entire party.

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For infused water, one liter of water is enough to serve three to four guests, though it’s best to make a conservative estimate and say it’s enough to serve three. This is assuming the party only lasts for two hours. If your party lasts longer, you may have to provide two liters for three guests.

Let’s say we’re trying to serve a two-hour party with 30 guests. That means we have to provide at least 10 liters of infused water. At this point, you should also keep in mind what infused water flavors they want. You can divide these drinks into various flavors depending on what you or your guests might want. Some of your guests might prefer the popular lemon water infusion, lime and mint (for a non-alcoholic mojito taste), or if your guests really have a sweet tooth and want a sweet drink, you can explore uncommon fruit water flavors and go for a peach water or peach mango water mix.

Get a Large Dispenser

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The easiest way to serve enough flavored water is to skip the pitchers and go big with the drink containers. I found this 5-gallon drink dispenser with a fruit infuser which, if conversions are correct, can suit the party we’re trying to serve. But if we want more than one flavor, we can opt for a cheaper 2.5-gallon container also available on Amazon.

Because water infusions need at least four hours to steep, you need to prepare this hours before your party starts. Since this will not fit your fridge, I recommend just adding ice to make it cold. Since you will be using a lot of water, you will have to add more fruits than you naturally would. If you use one or two lemons for a one-liter pitcher, you may need around 20 lemons, sliced, for a 5-gallon dispenser.

What If I Have a Bigger Party?

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If you’re preparing for a larger party or a party that will last longer, either make more flavor options so that more choices can spread out the number of drinks people have or refill the ice and water every time the dispenser is half-full. By doing this and not letting the dispensers get empty, you don’t have to wait four hours to repeat the process of letting the water infuse and guests can always have a flavorful drink each time they pour themselves a drink.

Some people would recommend steeping the fruit in boiling water first so that you get the most flavor out of it, but if you’re planning on refilling the dispensers with water, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re willing to replace the fruits each time you add more water. If you boil out most of the flavors on the first batch of water, there wouldn’t be much flavor left the next time you refill your infused water. With one batch of fruit, you can refill the water up to six times, so use that flavor wisely.

It sounds challenging, having to keep an eye on the water levels and doing additional work, especially when you can just buy soft drink bottles in bulk at your local grocery, put it on a table, and simply keep an eye on the ice bucket when it needs a refill. But if you want to help change the way people see health and fun on the same level, serving healthy infused water is one of the best ways to go about it. It’s cold, refreshing, calorie-free, and you have the ability to change the flavors to your and your guests’ preferences.

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