During the heady days of lockdowns past, one particular interiors trend swept the scene: as throats dried and joy waned everyone invested in bringing nightlife home – and the bar cart became the hottest accessory of 2020. From back garden speakeasies to livingroom cocktail stations, everyone and their mother became the resident mixologist.
Since then home bars have become somewhat unloved, relegated to lying dormant as the local pub has regained its rightful place in the scheme of things. But they always comes into their own as Christmas approaches, when home becomes a hub for family and friends to gather under twinkling lights. So dust yours off and get ready to host.
When styling a bar cart, there is a definite formula for success. Non-negotiable items to invest in include cocktail shakers, ice buckets and glassware: these are simply necessities. Avoid plastic and composite pieces that will cheapen your concoctions – stick with classic materials such as brass and glass.
The satin Brass Cocktail Shaker by House Doctor (€52.95) is a luxurious, modern alternative to stuffy stainless steel barware and sits on your bar as an ornament as much as a hard-wearing and practical piece; the Barbell Barware Set by Jonathan Adler (£198) is the perfect conversation starter as you mix up a storm.
Proper glassware is another important piece of the puzzle; as any cocktail aficionado will tell you, a drink is only as good as the glass it’s in so make sure you have the right vessel. A trio of martini, tumbler and highball shapes will see you through most recipes – good wine glasses should do the rest.
The Pembroke Stemware Set from Soho Home (£290) is a great basis for a glassware collection. Chic and timeless, these pieces will see you through more than the Christmas period.
Gold Rimmed Tumblers from Oriana B (€45) will add a little glitz for the festive season. Something sparkling is mandatory for a Christmas party so have champagne flutes at the ready.
The Kingsley Champagne Flute Set by The White Company (€50) have a weighty feel and an ever so slight green hue giving them a vintage look perfect for special occasion use.
Catering to all of the senses is a guaranteed route to hosting success. For tactile luxury call upon hard-wearing yet soft-to-the-touch tea towels and napkins.
This season Irish linen experts Stable have a collection of deep and earthy toned napkins (€20) and their classic Linen Tea Towel (€25) is a must have for a special finish. Go the extra mile and don the expert uniform with their Denim Apron (from €50).
Set the mood with the soft lighting and sensory delight of a scented candle but choose well to compliment the drinks on offer. Go for foodie flavours or musky notes or, better yet, a cocktail-scented candle such as the Aviation Candle from D8 Candle Co and Craft Cocktails (€35).
Lastly, your home bar might look the part now but you still need to stock it. Dublin-based company Craft Cocktails have released limited-edition Christmas Blends to take the hassle out of cocktail hour.
Once you have the presentation nailed, just enjoy the flavours of their Mistletoe Margarita, spicy Gingerbread Punch and sweet Festive Old Fashioned (from €12.50). Now all that’s left is to toast.