It’s no secret that retro cocktail recipes are all the rage. So when shopping vintage shops, one thing I always have my eye out for is vintage barware. Usually, it can be picked it up at a fair price, and of course, it will elevate your hostess status to an eleven. So let’s time-travel and take your kitchen liquor cabinet to a speakeasy-style cocktail bar. I’m here to help you find affordable pieces for a collection that would have Don Draper green with envy.
While at a flea market or estate sale, looking at vintage barware can be a bit overwhelming. So many colors and patterns to choose from. Where should we begin? Let’s start with the bar cart. It’s pretty much the foundation. Now, I like to change mine around a bit. Throughout summer and during the holidays, my bar cart is stocked with liquor bottles of all sorts. I can wheel it around and guests just help themselves. This beauty was a lucky flea score, but here is one in black. Cuz sometimes you just don’t have the time to hunt yourself. Don’t worry, I always gotcha covered.
Styling A Modern Bar Cart With Vintage Barware
During our winter hibernation and busy back-to-school months, I like to repurpose my bar cart into something more functional like a small shelfie or side table. Plus, it’s fun just to change it up.
So you’ve got your bar cart, now what? Glasses of course. Nothing adds glamour to cocktail hour than sipping a Brandy Old Fashioned from a gold-rimmed rocks glass. My favorite is Mid-Century Modern barware…it’s like the costume jewelry of glassware. And it should go without saying, you don’t have to use these gems for special occasions or alcohol only. Wanna glass of water? Why not drink it in style? But, word of warning, always handwash or that gold will just fade away in the dishwasher.
A few of my favorite vintage barware designers are Dorothy Thorpe, Culver, and Georges Briard. Although I have yet to score a set of Shoji Trellis glasses at an affordable price. They are the vintage unicorns that allude me. Mark my words, one day I will have a set to call my very own, and I will use them on the daily.
And for the maraschino cherry on top, let’s add red lipstick to deck out our bar, shall we? These accessories will set it apart from the neighbors. I’m talking a slick ice bucket, a cocktail shaker, tool set — with lucite or bakelite handles, and swizzle sticks…maybe I’m weird…well, we all know I’m weird, but I get a good giggle from a naughty swizzle stick. Nothing says “bottoms up” like a nekked lady bum! Talk about a conversation piece. Eeeep!
Now all you need to make your vintage modern cocktail bar cart complete is a fancy drink recipe, and you’re all set. Past cocktails recipes can be found here, but fasten your seatbelt because I am working on a boozy beverage that’ll knock your socks off. At least that’s what it did to my neighbor Jamie. Coming soon!