Tips for setting up your home bar for Christmas Eve and beyond


The bar cart, once relegated to posh hotels and scenes from old movies, exploded in popularity in the 2010s.

Holiday entertainment has cooled off during the pandemic, but as people carefully welcome friends and family to their homes, they seem to have turned their attention to their home bar setup – looking for glassware, glasses Where bar items increased 146% over the past year, while research by bar carts and accessories are also on the rise, notes 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.

You don’t need all the liquors, bitter or simple syrups for a party. “If you try to replicate what you can do in a restaurant, you will never be able to do it,” said Chad Spangler, co-founder of DC cocktail spot Service Bar. Focus on the building blocks of drinks that you personally enjoy and those that you would like to share with your guests.

To avoid being stuck at the bar mixing drinks all night, offer a drink that can be made in bulk and served in a pitcher or punch bowl. Stock up on at least a bottle of vodka, gin, whiskey, and scotch, as well as some tequila or mezcal to cover the basics of popular brewed drinks like martinis, manhattan, old-fashioned, and negronis.

Expect to spend at least $ 30 a bottle, and start with legacy names if you’re unsure of what to buy. “Don’t buy the cheapest thing, but you don’t 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 have non-alcoholic drink options.

Tonics are versatile mixers. Store other blenders, simple syrups, vermouths and bitters in the refrigerator; Plan toppings that match the drinks you want to serve, such as olives, Luxardo brandy cherries for Manhattans, and citrus fruits such as limes and lemons.

Many bar tool sets come with plenty of parts, but a small stable of well-made tools will do. A one ounce / two ounce Japanese-style jigger, which is longer and narrower than other types, is “the most needed bar piece,” Spangler said; it is used to measure and pour the ingredients. A shaker is essential for any home bartender who enjoys smoothies; get a set of two weighted shaker boxes. Avoid the three-piece cobbler-style shakers that come with a built-in strainer, Spangler said, as they can easily get stuck.

A Hawthorne colander, a wide base mixing glass and a cocktail spoon with a fine handle will complete your collection.

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.

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 wall bars, shelving and credenza / cabinets, or even a small dresser.

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

Arrange items on larger trays so everything is organized and easier to move, Price said. Present drink toppings in pretty bowls. Everything on the cart has to be of some use, because “when you fill things up and things spill out all over the place, it hurts the future.” And don’t pack it with bottles. Keep the rear stock hidden.

Choose all the accessories that are useful. Coasters protect the surfaces of your home and can add patterns and colors. Martini drinkers may display unusual olive picks or shakers. Etsy’s Isom Johnson suggests drink charms or labels to make sure everyone’s glass stays theirs. Anna Franklin, interior designer and founder of Stone House Collective, loves seasonal cocktail napkins when entertaining at her home outside of Milwaukee.

Natural elements such as greenery and flowers add an easy holiday touch. Stronger accents include string lights, garlands, garlands, ceramic or paper trees, and holiday figurines. Take out heirlooms and vintage pieces.

Glassware doesn’t have to be simple or boring. An interesting carafe, pitcher or ice bucket can be a conversation piece. Look to local thrift stores, estate sales, neighborhood groups and loved ones for vintage glassware and bar accessories.

Above all, don’t focus on creating a photo-ready display at the expense of fun, says Isom Johnson. Remember: “The main purpose of a bar cart is to bring joy to you and your guests. “


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