With August right around the corner, summer is in full swing, which means an abundance of barbecues to attend and soirees to host! Cocktail hour has been transformed into an all day event and nothing is quite as refreshing as an ice cold drink to relieve you from the blistering heat. Guest, host, or even the one-and-done party planner, everyone needs to know how to style the perfect bar cart. Make sure to pick up all of our must-haves and jot down some notes to ensure for the hassle free, never dry, summer gathering!
1. THE Bar Cart- It’s not difficult to realize that at a party, people like to drink, and it is your job to supply them with said beverages. What many people do not register is how the presentation of drinks can set the tone for the party and is a distant reflection of themselves. The actual cart is the base for the rest of the supplies, and without a solid base the latter can crumble around it. While looking for the cart keep in mind the look you want to achieve. If you consider yourself to be a creative person, try an acrylic cart! The clear acrylic allows for everything else to come to the center of attention, so it takes someone with vision and a creative outlook to style it with colorful and festive offerings. If you err towards a more casual look that is versatile enough to remain in your kitchen, look for a wooden cart. Wood finishes can vary so pick something that speaks to you and run with it! For the classic host, look for a metal finish. The slight shine adds just the right amount of flare to your otherwise, simple but understated, arrangement.
2. Glassware- Once the foundation is set, the next purchase should be glassware. Aside from liquor, this will take up a large portion of your cart, so you want to make sure it’s something you can work with and like to look at! Stick with a clear pitcher in order to let the guests fully appreciate the homemade cocktail you have made for the night! Glasses are something that can be based off of personal preference. At Clayton Gray Home, we recommend investing in one nice set to always have on hand and then for a themed/ pop of party, you can search for a cost appropriate set, since you most likely will not be using them again. As far as materials, think practicality. While glass will lock in the coolness, it is also fragile, so think about your venue and crowd before leaving out the “good stuff”. Don’t forget an ice bucket!
3. Extras- The fun part! Incorporating extras is the perfect place to add your personal touch to the cart. Funny towelettes, patterned napkins, slightly tacky (but in a tasteful way) stir straws, the options are endless! Although they seem irrelevant, these are the things that can make or break your cart. It is the perfect way to show people you are suppling their needs but you still have a sense of humor and a festive side. Extras are also the things that pop out in pictures, so when guests are snapping a quick shot out of jealousy (and so they know exactly how to rearrange their’s when they get home) you want them to see them!
4. The Cocktail- A.K.A: The thing that lures people in, The seasonally appropriate beverage, The item that will appear in all candid pictures of guests “cheering”, The drink that you want to embody the evening. When highlighting a specific cocktail at your party think of something that can be tailored (somewhat) to each guest. For example, it’s taco tuesday and you throw an impromptu gathering for tapas and margaritas. Create two to three different bases for the margaritas and then from there, guests can add the rest! Offer various types of tequila, salt and sugar dip for the perfect rim, and lime wedges for topping. Having a cocktail that people can customize keeps everyone happy, allowing them to control what they’re drinking while still enjoying new twist on classic drink. Remember to provide other alternative as well. Leave out a couple bottles of beer, one other liquor for simple drinks, and something non-alcoholic.
One last tip before you are ready to impress people with your perfectly styled and well stocked bar cart, don’t stress! Being the host of a party can be a stressful job trying to please all of your guests, but it shouldn’t be. Having a basis for your bar cart at all times allows you to only need to run out for the extras as your party draws near. Be the envy of your friends and remember to let yourself enjoy a drink!