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TELL-ALL GUIDE: THE BEST VINTAGE PITCHER BY OCCASION

While recent years have seen the pitcher reduced to a centerpiece—more likely to hold blooms than sweet teas—we’re dedicated to bringing this libation-loving vessel back to the table. Perfect for everything from fresh-squeezed juices to large-scale batches of margaritas, vintage pitchers are among the best ways to encourage guests to serve themselves without docking any points on your hostess scorecard.

Below, we’ve detailed some occasions that are (excuse us, here) pitch-perfect for breaking out a vintage pitcher. From that opalescent milk glass pitcher you scored at the Rose Bowl (go you!) to that metal monogram pitcher you put on your bridal registry, but never intended to actually get, these are the best ways to use your vintage pitchers, complete with easy-peasy drink ideas to really get things flowing.

BACK-TO-BASICS BRUNCH

Ceramic Pitcher + Fresh Juice

When you consider the less-than-endearing temperaments of some non-morning people (especially after a big night out) a vintage pitcher at a brunch is inspired. A pitcher full of OJ or tomato juice is perfect for those who feel like taking on the world with some extra nutrients in tow, while those who prefer nothing but a cup of coffee—strong and black—can easily opt out. As for choosing a vintage pitcher for your brunch, we love a ceramic ball pitcher in a bright, sunny hue. Thanks to their tilted silhouettes, vintage ball pitchers are easy to pass and pour, (a serious plus for the pre-10 AM crowd), and are usually smaller in scale, so you don’t run the risk of overfilling. While a ceramic pitcher won’t allow you the luxury of viewing your pitcher’s contents, juices and milk are pretty standard fanfare so we’re willing to sacrifice transparency for a pretty pop of color on the tabletop.

FIESTA TIME!

Glass Pitcher + Sangria

Whether you’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo or throwing a backyard, South-of-the-Border-inspired affair, a Latin-flavored party calls for a pitcher of something bright, fruity, and generously spiked with booze. Margaritas are a go-to, but to shake things up a bit, try pairing a vintage glass pitcher and glasses with a splashy, red wine sangria. A sangria’s plummy color makes it perfect for pairing with a glass pitcher, as does the fact that it’s studded with sugar-sweetened fruit. Look for a cut glass pitcher to dress up your sangria even more, and if you remember, outfit your glass cut pitcher with a wood serving spoon too—it will help guests fish out chunks of fruit without restoring to using fingers. But, hey, then again, it’s a fiesta time, so we say live and let live!

SWEET SOUTHERN TEA

Metal Pitcher + Arnold Palmers

You might not have a front porch (or a sweet Southern drawl), but that doesn’t mean that you should forgo the magic of sipping on a batch of refreshing, sugar-laced tea at your next book club or shower. To give your party a sense of old school elegance, opt for a silver pitcher (extra points for a monogram!) or a vintage metal pitcher to pair with an Old Augusta classic, the Arnold Palmer. Composed of black iced tea and fresh-squeezed lemon juice, the Arnold Palmer can be taken straight or topped off with vodka, making a pitcher of Palmers perfect for an event where some will be abstaining. Likewise, a vintage metal pitcher will help to keep the tea at a blizzardy temp, while also harking back to the julep cups that characterize yet another Southern classic—the Kentucky Derby. To take a page from the Derby’s julep, skip the ice in your pitcher of Palmers and instead keep a bucket of shaved ice on hand for serving. Your guests will be seriously impressed.

COCKTAIL HOUR

Martini Pitcher + Manhattans

A slender profile (that reads a little like a spouted drinking glass) lends the martini pitcher a sense of sophistication that everyday pitchers lack. To play that up, we think it’s best to reserve the martini pitcher for, if not martinis exclusively, then simple, stirred cocktails. For an intimate dinner party, mix up a batch of a no-fail classic, like a Manhattan, before guests arrive. Rather than a cocktail shaker, however, do your work right inside your martini pitcher. Most cocktail pitchers come with a glass wand or a long-handled spoon, making easy work of mixing your spirits, but if yours is missing one, use a regular spoon (or in a pinch, a chopstick or skewer) to give things a whirl. Then set your vintage cocktail pitcher right out on the bar and marvel at the beauty of your guests DIY-ing without the added stress of keeping an eye on your prized bottles of booze.

IN THE GUEST SUITE

Any Pitcher + Water

Throwing a party isn’t the only time you play hostess, of course. If you’ve ever put up guests you know hostess touches—like a pitcher filled with water on a nightstand—go a long way to making your guests feel like they did right skipping the Holiday Inn. While any vintage pitcher will work here, look for something that’s small enough in scale that it doesn’t dwarf your nightstand. When it comes to materials, great options for water pitchers include metal and glass pitchers, which are easy for matching with a drinking glass. Since metal and glass vases are also less likely to double as vases than ceramic pitchers, your guests also won’t mistake your carefully curated hospitality as old vase water accidentally left by their bedside.