Going out for drinks is fun – but so is stocking the bar cart to entertain friends at home.
Cocktails are cool again – Mixologists are the new baristas. And the latest interior design must-have is the home bar. It can be a kitsch faux bamboo bar cart, a mid-century classic, even a silver or mirrored tray on a side table or chest of drawers. Whatever style suits your home, turn it into the focal point for when you have friends over.
With an interest in entertaining, Clare Andrew founded Les Gens, a social community designed to connect like-minded creative people. She also has a few creative ideas on creating a chic home cocktail bar. “Nothing beats afternoon drinks with friends in our glass conservatory. I like to set up a bar on a small table at the end of the room, with all my favourite summer liqueurs on an antique silver tray and lots of gorgeous crystal glassware. It creates the perfect set up for at-home entertaining.”
Styling your home bar
– Make sure the aesthetic works with the rest of your home. You can change the accessories and colour scheme regularly, to keep the look fresh.
– Choose several elegant bottle designs, such as Chambord, for a touch of glamour. (Chambord is also a versatile ingredient for many of your favourite cocktails.)
– Source vintage crystal decanters and glassware. Contrast these with an ultra-modern copper cocktail shaker.
– Add a simple vase of fresh flowers or a bowl of citrus, groupings of books, and a framed picture.
A brief history
Late 17th Century – The French nobility enjoyed liqueurs and Cognac with evening meals. Louis XIV visited Château de Chambord and was served an indulgent liqueur made from wild raspberries.
May 1917 – The first cocktail party in history was thrown. Mrs Julius S. Walsh Junior of St. Louis, Missouri, invited 50 guests to her home at noon on a Sunday. The local paper reported: “The party scored an instant hit.”
1920s – American Prohibition fuelled the rise of private cocktail parties. In 1924, war artist Christopher Nevinson hosted the first cocktail party in England.
1930s – The art deco drinks trolley was invented.
Late 1940s – Christian Dior was the first to call early evening-wear a “cocktail dress”.
1950s – Cocktail parties were a hugely popular way to entertain. A stand-alone bar was an essential piece of furniture.
Today – Entertaining at home is a major trend, with food and drinks more sophisticated than ever. Cocktail hour makes a welcome comeback.
Chambord French Martini
45ml Chambord vodka
15ml Chambord liqueur
Juice of half a lime
45ml pineapple juice
Combine the Chambord vodka, Chambord, lime juice and pineapple juice with ice in a cocktail shaker, and shake briskly. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top off with Champagne and garnish with a raspberry or blackberry. For an added touch, line sugar around half the rim of the glass.
GET THE LOOK Eclectic Plum tongs, $90; Eclectic ice bucket by Tom Dixon, $405, simonjamesdesign.com. Eclectic Plum cocktail shaker by Tom Dixon, $245, ecc.co.nz. Champagne glasses, $85 (set of 6), flotsamandjetsam.co.nz.Chambord, $49.99, glengarrywines.co.nz, @Chambordnz