Meddling with a Little Mixology

Entertaining at home is the big thing these days and a mini bar or cocktail  cabinet can add an unexpected and exciting element to the design of your inside space and it will certainly liven up your parties!


You can create a bar or entertaining space in almost any room in the house. Or you can create a garden bar too if you enjoy entertaining outside or if you like to end the day with a little al fresco sundowner. 


Purpose made cocktail cabinets can be purchased at most reputable furniture retailers and there are some very nice ones around these days. Most include racks for wine bottles, cupboards in which to keep your sprits,  drawers to store coasters and equipment, and glass shelves on which to display a lovely set of glassware. We are very in love with the new Ballatta drinks cabinet by Ercol, which has a place to store all your bar accessories, bottles and glassware, all while impressing any guests that might visit with exquisite design and craftsmanship. 


There are some pretty funky looking home bars on the market too. For the mods among you, we have one that looks like a ‘Lambretta’ motor scooter and another that resembles the front of red VW Camper. Both would work well both in your inside and outside spaces! We also have a number of wall mounted mini bars that save space all the while adding to the décor, some obvious…some more discreet!


If you want to base you home bar in the kitchen then look out for a kitchen island that has wine storage. We have several very nice models in our exclusive Hampshire collection which have wine racks, storage baskets, cupboards and drawers, plus a wipe clean top. Place one near a sink and voila! You have your very own wet bar!

Maybe you don’t have the luxury of enough space to devote one large piece of furniture solely to drink making? In that case it might be best if you opt for a bar trolley. Yes, bar carts are back! In fact they are one of the hottest furnishings pieces around right now. So for very little expense you can create a super chic look with an elegant drinks trolley. There are some lovely ones on the market today, the most popular being metal finished with chrome, bronze or gold with fabulous mirrored shelves. They have a distinct ‘Deco’ romance about them reminiscent of all the glitz of the Roaring 20s. What a great statement piece and fully functional too!


Almost anything can be turned into a bar with a little thought and creativity. Place a beautiful mirrored tray on to top of your sideboard to display your decanters, glasses and chrome shakers, mix in a candle or two and the effect of the reflected light will be magical! An old wooden crate can look fantastic too on the kitchen counter. Turn it on its end and place the bottles below and a tray and glasses above. Add a glass vase for herbs and a couple of lemons and the effect will be very rustic…very charming! 


There is some beautiful art work available depicting cocktails and cocktail recipes too. Go for liquid art for your dining room bar or ‘vintage’ tin signs for your country kitchen bar. 


Aromatic herbs are an important ingredient for many cocktails, rosemary, lavender, dill, oregano, nasturtium and various mints being top of the list. Fresh is best, so pick them straight from the garden or alternatively grow them in pots and snip them as you need, for a theatrical effect. Muddling is one of the best ways to incorporate fresh fruits and herbs into your drinks. A muddler is a bartenders pestle, they come in a variety of materials the most popular being made of teak or stainless steal. Most follow a basic design, typically six to eight inches long and about one inch in diameter with a textured end. The point of muddling is not to smash the ingredients but to gently press the fruits and herbs to release the juice and essential oils into the drink. 


Deck out your bar with ice buckets, wine coolers, cocktail shakers and of course a beautiful and necessary set of bartenders tools. This would typically include ice tongs, pourers, mixing spoons, strainers, a corkscrew, and a cocktail measure sometimes called a jigger. When this is all gathered together it sets the scene for a wonderful evening with your friends. Ice should be in large cubes or crushed depending on the cocktail. If you or your friends are not into alcoholic drinks there are some exciting ‘virgin’ versions to help you create interesting ‘mocktails’ for non-drinkers. With a little research you are sure to find one to tickle your fancy!


Don’t forget a dash of bitters! Bitters are aromatic botanicals infused in an alcohol base. They are a necessary bar mixer that adds a spark of flavour and spicy notes to cocktails such as the old-fashioned or a martini. Orange bitters are commonly used, but there are also other flavours like celery, lavender, and ginger. You can buy bitters or you can make your own by combining spices, roots, barks and other flavourings and adding it to a jar of high-proof spirit. It will take about twenty days to complete the infusion. Depending on which recipe you use it will call for exotic bittering agents such as quassia bark and gentian root, orange peel, caraway seeds and star anise. If you are in a hurry, though,  you can make a quick DIY version using a mortar and pestle to grind up whole spices such as coriander, nutmeg shavings, pieces of cinnamon, cloves, allspice, gentian and a couple peppercorns, mixed with a little vodka. To counter act the bitterness you will also need to simple syrup. Again this can be store-bought but it is also super easy to make. Pour one part sugar to one part water into a pan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Store in a glass container and refrigerate.


Well we hope to have put you in the mood for meddling with a little mixology and if that is the case then it would be worth checking our some of these cocktail concoctions that are topping charts right now…


  1. Apple Martini
  2. Mojito
  3. Manhattan
  4. Mai Tai
  5. Mint Julep
  6. Caipirinha
  7. Margarita
  8. Pina Colada
  9. Californication
  10. Long Island Iced Tea


Or you could try your hand at an exotic espresso martini guaranteed to keep you dancing into the wee hours… but if you are old school it has to be an Old Fashioned for you!



15th June 2021

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