Tips for setting up your home bar for the holidays and beyond

The bar cart, once relegated to posh hotels and scenes from old movies, exploded in popularity in the 2010s. Vacation entertainment has cooled off during the coronavirus pandemic, but as people greet friends and family back home, they seem to have turned their attention to their home bar setup: searches for glassware, glassware or bar have increased 146% over the past year, while searches for bar and bar cart Accessories are also on the rise, noted Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy’s trends expert.

A well-appointed bar cart adds style and functionality to your home. Here’s how to put one together.

Store versatile basics

You do not need all the spirits, bitters and simple syrup in your home bar for a party. “The experience of the home bar will be very different, and if you try to replicate what you can do in a restaurant, you will never do,” said Chad Spangler, co-founder of DC cocktail spot. service bar. Focus on the elements of drinks you enjoy personally and those you’d like to share with your guests. To avoid being stuck at the bar to mix drinks all night, offer a drink that can be prepared in large quantities and served in a pitcher or punch bowl. Store at least one bottle of vodka, gin, whiskey and scotch and a tequila or mezcal on the carriage to cover the bases Popular brewed beverages such as Martini, the Manhattans, the old-fashioned and negronis.

Expect to spend at least $ 30 a bottle and start with legacy names if you do not know what to buy. “Do not buy the cheapest thing, but you do not have to buy the most expensive thing,” Spangler said.

Once you have the basics, add more funky and specific choices, like a bottle of Bailey’s for holiday cocktails, or something unexpected, like sherry or port. Remember to offer tea or coffee and non-alcoholic drinks to non-drinkers.

Tonics are versatile mixers. Store other blenders, simple syrups, vermouths and bitters in the refrigerator; Spangler said the Angostura bitters are probably what you need “95 out of 100 times.” Plan toppings that match the drinks you want to serve, like olives, Luxardo brandy cherries for Manhattans, and citrus fruits like limes and lemons, which you may already have in your kitchen.

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Choose your equipment

Many sets of bar tools come with many rooms, but a small stable of well-made tools will do. A Japanese style of a jigger or two ounces, which is more elongated and narrower than other types, is “part of the bar most needed,” said Spangler; it is used to measure and pour ingredients. A shaker is essential for any home bartender who loves the shakes; get a set of two boxes to shake weighted. Avoid shoemaker style shakers in three parts that come with an integrated strainer, Spangler said, as they can easily get stuck.

Hawthorne strainer, a broad-based mixing glass and a cocktail spoon handle end complete your collection. Spangler recommends Cocktail Kingdom for well-made tools.

Glassware depends on your favorite drinks, but Spangler said a wineglass core with a stem, whiskey glasses, and V-shaped martini and Collins glasses can work well with most cocktails.

Choose the right furniture

Decide if the cart is primarily intended for display, storage, or for mixing and serving drinks. Look for carts with shelving and organization aids. “I recommend three shelves if you are going to use it in a functional way, but if you just want a fun and cute accent in the corner of your apartment, I think two shelves would be nice,” said Abby Price, founder of New York City. home. Abbode decoration store. Multifunctional parts are the best; some may have flaps that extend to serve or come with built-in storage racks.

The best home bar might not even be a cart. Consider racks, shelves and sideboards / cabinets, or even a small dresser. Anna Franklin, interior designer and founder of Stone House Collective, uses antique porcelain furniture as a bar and entertainment station in her home outside of Milwaukee.

Keep it organized

Glassware, decanters, vases, bowls, ice buckets, pitchers, and plants can all play a part in your setup, but don’t overload the top. Bundle glassware, decor and liquor together to make life more pleasing to the eye, said Roxy Owens, founder of furniture and home decor company Society Social.

Arrange the items on larger plates to get everything organized and easier to move, said Price. Introduce drinks linings in pretty bowls. Everything is on the trolley must be used for something because “when clutter of objects and objects spread everywhere, this affects the future.” And do not pack with bottles. Keep the rear stock hidden.

The objects of different heights create visual interest. “It is important to keep the highest elements in the back and move on,” said Franklin. Use cocktail books as risers to vary the glassware if it is the same height. If the carriage is a beverage station, place logically in the order that someone prepare a drink with liquor at one end and fittings to each other.

Personalize your home bar

Choose all the accessories you want as long as they serve a purpose. The coasters protect the surfaces of your home and can add patterns and colors. Martini drinkers can display peaks olives or unusual agitators. Isom Johnson Etsy suggested charms or beverage labels to ensure that each glass remains his. Franklin loves seasonal cocktail napkins.

Natural elements such as greenery and flowers add an easy holiday touch. Owens loves the look of the magnolia, boxwood wreaths, and satin ribbons. The award favors dried flowers and branches with festive red berries. Franklin suggests cutting down the evergreens and displaying them in a tall vase.

Stronger accents include string lights, garlands, garlands, ceramic or paper trees, and holiday figurines. Price stores tree sculptures coated mirrors that resemble mirror balls. Get out the family heirlooms and vintage pieces. “All that glitters is a lovely way to incorporate a comfortable vacation atmosphere,” Franklin said. “Light a candle that reflects off the glassware. “And think about what’s up: prolong the mood over the bar with decorative panels or works of art.

The glass does not need to be simple or boring. A pitcher, a pitcher or interesting ice bucket can be a topic of conversation. Turn to local thrift stores, estate sales, neighborhood groups and close to vintage glassware and barware. For retail products, Franklin runs sales at West Elm and Crate & Barrel, and splurged in HR and Z Gallerie. She loves Anthropologie for a vintage feel and also suggests Target for economical choice. Choose fresh glasses and offer the gift at the end of the night. “You can almost match the glasses to someone’s personality,” said Johnson Isom.

Above all, do not focus on creating a ready display for photo at the expense of fun, Isom said Johnson. Remember: “The main objective of a trolley bar is to bring you joy and your guests. “

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