Serving Up Style

Cocktail hour is back! The kids are back to school, the days are getting shorter, you’ve just finished your ninth Zoom meeting of the day – whatever your reason, we say “cheers!”

The ultimate cocktail hour accessory is the bar cart and, just like there’s a drink for every taste, there’s a bar cart to suit every décor. From sleek and modern to over-the-top ornate, form meets function with these stylish serving and storage pieces.

To help you unleash your inner mixologist, we have put together a collection of classic and not-so-classic cocktail recipes, inspired by some of our favourite bar carts. They’re perfect for entertaining, or just entertaining the idea of entertaining if you’re not quite there yet.

Modern Warmth
Create a cozy corner with this tall bar unit in a rich espresso finish. Modern, but timeless, it has plenty of room to display wine, spirits and glassware, as well as a handy drawer for stashing bar tools and napkins.

If you are stocking your bar cart from scratch, or on a budget, consider adopting (and perfecting) one new cocktail at a time. That way, you can purchase a manageable number of items, like spirits, glassware and tools, as you slowly build up your bar cart supplies. Look for recipes that utilize one “hero” spirit, like the Maple Bourbon Smash, and pick up a bottle of the best you can afford.

Maple Bourbon Smash
Makes one

2 oz bourbon
1 oz real maple syrup
1 oz freshly squeezed lemon

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Cover and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube and garnish with a lemon twist.

Glitz and Glam
To add a touch of timeless sparkle to any room, wheel in the stylish Kadenburg Bar Unit in silver. It has just the right amount of glitz to catch the light and two mirrored shelves to showcase your cocktail essentials.

One cocktail that everyone should have in their repertoire is the ever-popular (and effortlessly glamourous) Cosmopolitan. A favourite of Carrie Bradshaw and her girl gang, this potent pink concoction can also be mixed by the pitcher and shaken over ice to serve.

Classic Cosmopolitan
Makes one

2 oz Vodka
3/4 oz Triple Sec
3/4 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1 oz cranberry juice cocktail
1 cup ice

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Cover and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with an orange twist or a few frozen cranberries.

Gold Rush
With its clean lines and classic design, the glowing gold finish of the gorgeous Kailman Bar Unit sets the tone for easy, elegant entertaining. And, when it’s not being used as a bar cart, this versatile piece can be pressed into service as a hall table or plant stand.

When it’s time to shine – try a golden Sparkling Lemon-Ginger Cocktail. This delicious refresher gets its bite from a homemade ginger simple syrup that you can keep in the fridge for up to two weeks. Hot tip: It’s also a fun alternative to the ubiquitous brunch mimosa.

Sparkling Lemon-Ginger Cocktail
Makes two

2 oz gin
1/2 oz lemon juice
1 oz ginger simple syrup*
8 oz cold prosecco

Combine all ingredients with 1/2 cup ice in a cocktail shaker. Cover and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Divide between rocks glasses or cocktail flutes and top with prosecco. Garnish with a lemon wedge or rosemary sprig, if desired.

Ginger Simple Syrup: Bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a light boil. Add 1/2 cup peeled and sliced ginger. Cover, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for an hour before straining. Use immediately or refrigerate in a tightly sealed jar for up to two weeks.

Rustic Charm
If you’re looking for a bar cart that’s not ALWAYS a bar cart, the Boderidge Bar Unit in antique white is going to be your new best friend. Compact and portable, with a durable melamine top and locking casters, it provides an extra six square feet of counter space to help with day-to-day cooking and serving.

The rustic, easy-going flair of the Boderidge inspired our final cocktail or, rather, mocktail. Perfect for non-drinkers, the Blackberry Vanilla Mocktail combines muddled berries with vanilla, honey and lemon, with a splash of soda for sparkle. Feel free to substitute the blackberries for strawberries, raspberries or even fresh peaches, in season.

Rustic Blackberry Mocktail
Makes one

1/3 cup fresh blackberries, plus more for garnish
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp honey
Club Soda or sparkling water

Place berries in a glass measuring cup or cocktail shaker, along with a splash of club soda or sparkling water. Strain into a cocktail glass filled with ice. Stir in lemon juice, honey and vanilla, then top with club soda or sparkling water, to taste. Garnish with whole or sliced berries and fresh mint, if desired.

We hope we’ve inspired you to get your cocktail shaker back into action. If you are more of an oenophile (person who appreciates wine), check out this collection of temperature-controlled wine cellars, designed to protect the flavor and integrity of your prized reds, whites and rosés.