Top Tips for Styling Your Home Bar for the New Years (or any party!)
I know we’re looking for any excuse to make our home more festive for the new year, especially because of the smaller gatherings we're experiencing. And since we’re not driving anywhere, we might be spending a few nights imbibing as part of our celebrations! I plan to get creative with our home bar (which currently moonlights as our kitchen island, frying pan storage, cutting board, and a catch-all for potholders and oven mitts) and want to give you six tips for spicing up your bar for your at home New Year's celebration (and any other party), too!
1. Custom Signage
Creating a customized sign will add a focal point to your bar and creates a personalized touch you and your guests will appreciate. The sign can be a festive or themed quote, such as “Eat, Drink and Be Merry” for the holidays or “Call Me Old Fashioned” for a “create your own old fashioned” themed bar. You can also use the sign to list the different drinks, alcohols, and mixers you’ve chosen for the bar. This could include the title and ingredients for a signature cocktail chosen for your event, or just a list of drink options you're serving. Whatever you choose for the sign, be sure to add details like illustrated flowers, shapes, or characters that go along with your event’s style and design.
I plan on using my letter board with a sassy holiday quote for this year’s New Years bar.
2. More than 3 Drink Options
It’s important to have options for your bar cart because people have serious preferences for their alcoholic beverages. I recommend having at least three drink options available for your guests (four if there are underage guests).
There are many formulas for having at least three drinks and it really depends on how much work you plan on putting into your bar. You can have three different alcohols and one mixer that goes with all three (or vice versa); three completely different mixed drinks; a combination of liquors, malt beverages, and wine… Whatever formula you choose, I recommend you stock one type of beer, spritzer, or wine; one themed drink (details on that later); two types of liquor (one dark, one light); and (if you have kids present) one non-alcoholic drink.
Ideas for the themed drink are including flavors that are attached to the holiday you’re celebrating (Cranberry Margaritas, Apple-Cider Mimosa’s, Hot Chocolate + Peppermint Schnapps, etc. for Christmas/New Years), the guest of honor’s favorite drink, or a realistic recreation of a fantastical drink (the Wizarding World’s Polyjuice Potion, Star Wars Blue Bantha Milk, the Mother of Dragons cocktail inspired by Game of Thrones, etc.). Having a themed drink adds a fun and memorable detail for guests that they’ll remember (and it makes for great photos!)
3. Styled Pitchers + Glassware
You can leave your liquors, wines, beers and mixers in their original containers, but using beautiful glassware to display your drinks adds another level of style! Glass pitchers or decanters really make your drink stand out and can add to the style and design of your bar. For instance, if you’re throwing a 1920’s themed event, use cut glass crystal decanters and vintage glassware to contain your drinks. Or, for your holiday bar, green or red glass pitchers can add a festive touch.
If you have room, displaying the glassware you plan to use for guests also adds a beautiful element to your bar and can increase the elegance and theming! If you are serving malt beverages those can be displayed in their containers since they’re single-serve. I recommend displaying them so they have some type of order (i.e. in straight lines, in a pyramid, etc.) so they look intentional to the full “barscape”.
4. Coordinating Servingware
To follow Tip #3, coordinating servingware including utensils, bowls, themed stir sticks or toothpicks, and other containers should match your event theme and barscape design. This could be as simple as having your ice tongs, spoons for garnishes and shaker glasses all be silver metal, or as detailed as using all matching candy cane striped bowls and plates for your holiday display.
I think the biggest take away from this tip is that “coordinating” doesn’t necessarily mean “matching,” so not all of your servingware has to be the same color or design. It’s possible to have different colors and styles as long as they all go together with your theme or design vision.
5. Drink Add-ins + Garnishes
To spice up your drinks, include various garnishes and add-ins for your cocktails. Garnishes should accentuate the flavors of your drinks, but don’t have to be super complicated. Orange peel, chocolate shavings, and maraschino cherries are very popular garnishes that are easy to obtain and add to your bar.
Drink add-ins are more like additions to the drink that alter the flavor or aesthetic and are placed into the drink, instead of on top. Examples of add-ins are specially shaped snowflake ice cubes with pomegranate seeds frozen inside or caramel drizzled inside a glass before pouring in a drink.
Display your garnishes and add-ins in coordinating serving bowls, plates, or already in the glassware.
6.Themed and Coordinating Details
The final tip to creating a gorgeous home bar is the details! These should match your event’s theme and accentuate (not overpower) the servingware, glassware, and drink options. Examples of details include candles and matching candlesticks, floral/greenery, coasters, confetti/glitter, and themed details such as candy canes or red plaid ribbon for your holiday bar.
This is truly where you can get creative. These details don’t have to cost a lot and can be repurposed for other parties or decorations at times throughout the year.
I hope these tips will help you all make your home a little more festive this year. Wishing you all a healthy, safe, and happy holiday season! See you in 2021!