Become a Better Home Bartender | How to Set Up a Pop-Up Bar
Take Friday Happy Hour to your own home! Who says you need to keep hitting up all those the trendy cocktail bars after work (while we do all love those) when you could have the same fun from the convenience of your home?
For as long as I can remember, I've always really loved hosting get-togethers with friends. Part of the fun is prepping for entertaining - and barware and decor are always a major part in just how well the night goes.
For at-home entertaining, it's essential to have not only the liquor and spirits, but the tools, the perfect cocktail book and of course... it needs to look pretty!
Here are my tips to creating a chic pop-up bar fit for a fabulous at-home cocktail hour!
The bar cart: Choose an attractive bar cart. This is one of the bare necessities, especially if you don't already have a built-in bar in your home. I love carts (specifically gold ones, but that's just me) that have 3 levels because it is spacious enough to creatively decorate instead of just piling everything onto one flat surface. Make it look neat and organized!
For my bar cart, I don't put anything in a super specific order, but as long as it has some consistency with some accents, it all pulls together. I like putting my liquor and spirits (two of my favorites being Chambord Liqueur and Absolut Elyx Vodka) on the top level along with some coasters, an ice bucket, a glass, a shaker and a non-alcohol related accessory - like a bouquet of flowers. I always keep in mind that the top level of the bar cart is where guests' eyes will be drawn to the most, so it's important to make it look clean, crisp and inviting.
The second level holds shot glasses, a chic decanter, tonic water, olives (these can be switched out with just about anything - but keep in mind that you should definitely have a mixer or 2 available) and 2 other cute accents: a candle and a drink bell! If you didn't know, these actually exist. Just ring the bell when you want a drink. If you're lucky, you may actually have someone attending to all your drink needs!
If you couldn't already tell, I have a thing with gold so I love all of my barware to be just that. Make sure when you're choosing a bar cart to match it with your shaker, ice bucket, glasses, etc. for consistency.
Close by, I always keep a few key garnishes: cinnamon, dried ginger, star anise and jasmine. You never know what kind of drink you or your company will be in the mood for, so it's a good idea to keep them handy.
The third level is solely for any other decorative accessories you may have - for me, I love stacking beautiful books and magazines. They don't necessarily have to be alcohol related, but it is the perfect home for your favorite cocktail books!
Speaking of cocktail books... my new favorite is a one that just launched called The Complete Cocktail Manual by Lou Bustamante! It has 235 tips, tricks and recipes for you to create the perfect cocktail. The book is packed with expert tips from bartenders around the globe and show you how to correctly stock your at-home bar!
One of my go-to pages of the book is the one on bar tools. They really can get confusing sometimes, and it is helpful to have one place to resort back to to find all that you need.
My favorite recipe in the book? The Bellini! Okay, maybe I'm biased, but I can't help but come across a bellini and not see it through "Gilded" eyes!
You can really embellish your bar cart with just about anything that you love to create your go-to cocktails. Whether you're having your own happy hour or just casual drinks with friends, keep all your essentials in one place. Become a better home bartender by having the perfect pop-up bar in your home!
Photography by: Elijah Saldana