A Drinking Problem in the Kitchen

drinking problemLet’s face it: Americans drink.

It starts with coffee or tea in the morning, water with lunch, and cappuccino at 3 p.m., a sports drink after exercise, a cold beer while watching the game, a glass of wine with dinner and scotch on the rocks after dinner if you’re bold.

And only the red wine is served at room temperature! Everything else is served either hot or cold. Where is it stored?

If your family all drinks the same thing, you are the envy of everyone else. I could fill my entire refrigerator with nothing but the random beverages each family member drinks.

That’s fine, if you don’t eat food.

Then there are the hot beverages. The simple coffee pot has grown into a pseudo coffee shop. There’s the coffee grinder, espresso machine, K-cup brewing system with 14 varieties of coffee. Oh, and don’t forget the flavored creamers and sweeteners.

Let’s not ignore the wine. The casual wine drinker stores the reds at room temperature and refrigerates the whites. An expert stores reds at one wine bottle temperature and whites at another. Remember, wine is best stored on its side at just the correct angle so the cork stays wet and the sediment remains at the bottom.

Our kitchens have a drinking problem. How can we intervene?

Enter the beverage station just off the kitchen. With its own refrigerator, the kitchen fridge now has food space while thirsty family members stay out of the food prep area. Don’t forget ice – whether in the refrigerator or a separate appliance. Kitchen counter space can be maximized by moving the coffee appliances into the station as well.

If the house water is filtered, a small bar sink will satisfy the need for filling the coffee pot. It is also handy for pouring out leftover drinks or cleaning the inevitable spills. Houses without filtration must consider where the five-gallon water bottle dispenser can go.

For the adult drinks, I like the idea of converting the butler pantry (who still has a butler?) into the adult beverage station. Perhaps there’s an under counter wine cooler and an ice maker for hard liquor drinkers. You’ll need a small counter top for opening the wine and aerating the bottle. Place glass storage within easy reach to minimize accident risks.

Rectify your kitchen’s drinking habits and you’re well on your way to a kitchen rehab!

by Deryl Patterson, AIA, President, Housing Design Matters

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