Labeling Drinks At A Party


In our family summertime lends it self to cookouts, picnics, tailgating, family reunions, vacations with multiple families staying together, and a lots of birthday parties.

In our family that typically adds up to a ton of cups, glasses, bottles, cans, and juice boxes that are empty, full or, most likely, half drank abandoned or misplaced all over every surface. It can make me a little crazy.

Here are some ideas for labeling drinks when entertaining or spending time with a large amount of people. Some are tried and true and obvious. Some I just made up while making up this list. I’m sure I’ve left things out. I added some Amazon Affiliate links so you can see what I mean in places. Many of these ideas would make easy hostess gifts.

  1. Sharpie. Best for disposable items, but not so much for drinks that come wet out of a cooler.
  2. China Marker/Wax pencil. These come in a variety of colors and are good for most surfaces and can be used on non-disposable items from wine glasses to sippy cups. They don’t smudge all that easy, but do wipe off with your thumb or the wipe of a towel, and depending on the surface and your dishwasher might come off in a wash cycle to make cleanup even easier.
  3. Wine Charms. Those beaded things you can buy or make almost anywhere now come in all sorts of fabulous designs. Sometimes it’s hard to remember what yours is though. You can have guests make their own beaded charms when they walk in your door with an added benefit of a conversation starter. Craft stores have all of the supplies readily available.
  4. Chalkboard Cups or Chalkboard Stickers. My sister-in-law is the queen of these. You can get plastic cups with them already on or buy the stickers (typically, but not always, removable) and put them on anything.
  5. Stickers, Labels or Tape. So many options and themes of stickers and colored scrapbooking and duct tapes out these days. People can flag their disposable/recyclable drinks with colored and design options and/or then writing on the stickers or labels. There are different size/shape post it notes for things you receptacles you don’t want to permanently get sticky  – you can wrap the skinny post-it flags around a wine glass stem. Not great for drinks that will be sweating or wet from the cooler.
  6. Rubber Bands or Silly Bands of Different Colors. Just wrap the band around the drink and pull it off and use it for the next drink. Last weekend we were visiting extended family with half drank water bottles all over and my cousin and I were walking around finishing them up, and thought you could use the same color for everyone in a family who doesn’t mind sharing germs. All of my kids’ water might get a blue rubber band, so they know if they see a water bottle sitting around with a blue rubber band on it, it’s free from cooties.
  7. String or Ribbon. Similar to the rubber bands but you have to have the dexterity throughout a day/night to tie and not as easily transferable if you get knotted up.
  8. Colored Iced Cubes or a Toy in the Glass. Use the colored reusable ice cubes, they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Or get some small clean toys (different animals, vehicles, etc) and drop them in the bottom of a glass. You can get some at party stores.
  9. Plastic Clings, Suction Cups or Silicone Markers. Typically sold for windows for decorations around the holidays, you can now find them in all sorts of crazy shapes especially designed as drink markers. You can also get blank cling paper or cut them up into different shapes, writing on them, or just use different designs
  10. Permanently Decorate your Glasses.  Using glass safe markers or paints, add designs or text to your glassware. You can put designs, silly nicknames, phrases on them, favorite quotes, or numbers so people can differentiate their cup.  You’ll need to paint the outside. The bottom of a wine glass is a great place for putting a label – remember to write backwards so you can see it through the glass!
  11. Window Markers. Same as other marking methods, removable at the end of the day.
  12. Old School Party in the Woods Methods. In a pinch remember the high school days, put a dent in a certain place in your can, rip a label strategically or peel it off, flip or rip off a pull tab, or otherwise mar you drink holder. I used to stick a small twig in the tab.
  13. Coozies and Fabric Scraps. Craft stores sell coozies in different colors that you can decorate with something like fabric marker or puffy paint. You can also sew some to fit your glassware with your fabric scraps. Hit the thrift store or start picking up coozies from different places so that you have an arsenal of all different holders.
  14. Use a Mish-Mash of Glasses. Collect different size, shape and design glasses. Go to the thrift store, dollar store, garage sales or buy them new where you can glassware that is not in sets.
  15. Clothespins. Make sure they’ll stay on a glass and not get too in the way of noses during drinking, but then you can clip them on as is, decorate the clothespins, or start a game of leaving notes people’s drinks.

I’m sure there are other ideas, but the kids are calling me. What other ideas do you use?

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