Last month, we explored the fabulous world of vintage drinking glasses - from swanky swigs for your morning juice to tumblers and goblets gracing your dining table. Barware encompasses some very specific and fanciful glassware, as well as other fun accoutrements like shakers, stirrers, measuring jiggers and zesters.
Whether it's the novelty or nostalgia drawing you in, it is hard to resist the allure of a freshly made drink measured and poured by your favorite mixologist. As we ring out the old year and welcome the new one, we're resolving to make 2021 a year filled with more festivities and reasons to celebrate, make great memories, and share more joy and laughter.
This article was originally published by the Busy Bee Trader in their January 2021 issue. We are proud to create articles and advertise in this long-running guide to antiques and boutique stores in the mid-south.
Cocktails have been around for quite some time; in 1862, The Bon Vivant's Companion was published as a bartender's guide to mixing drinks. Cocktails and other beverages have also created an entire subset of glassware shapes and sizes, from coupes to collins glasses, along with copper mule mugs, rocks and tumblers. Wine glasses come in a myriad of shapes and sizes to hold small sips of sherry and port, up to large balloon-shaped glasses that allow wines to breathe.
The basics of barware
1. Glassware. Scour estate sales and thrift stores for sets of fanciful decals or elegant gold-rimmed and etched crystal that will add flair to your next gathering. If the full set isn't intact, take it as a signal to mix-and match patterns and styles. While you're at it, look for great glass or kitschy plastic vintage swizzle sticks to skewer the olives or fruit and help your guests identify their drink from everyone else's.
In addition to glassware, a host or hostess also needs a few essential (and a few non-essential) gadgets to up your bar game.
2. A shaker and long-handled mixing spoon are de rigueur for any serious cocktails - just ask James Bond or Don Draper. Stainless is a good choice, as it's non-reactive and easy to rinse and re-use between drinks.
3. An ice bucket is a must if your bar cart is on the move, along with tongs for handling the cubes or balls of ice. Choose from glass, metal or plastic - there are many great vintage ice buckets to choose from.
4. A jigger is the best way to keep your mixing consistent from drink to drink. Copper or stainless are always good choices.
5. Decanters have stormed back into vogue, and they are a stylish choice for storing and pouring your favorite bourbons and whiskeys.
6. Other tools to nicely round out your bar cart include strainers, muddlers, citrus peelers and juicers, along with a small knife and cutting board for slicing fruit.
7. Last, but not least, is the matter of your bar cart. Whether it's a traditional wood, metal or glass cart with wheels, or a permanent cabinet in your home, having adequate space to prepare drinks and store your barware is essential for serving your guests with style and panache. Just make sure your work surface is protected or is made of a material that can stand up to splashes and dribbles without staining or marring.
When you've served your last drink of the night, be sure to wash and rinse everything, and wipe dry with a lint-free bar towel, so you'll be ready for the next occasion that calls for a well-made drink. Cheers!
WHO WRITES THIS STUFF?
I'm Terry Lea, owner of Re-Invintage Home, a vintage home goods shop just south of Nashville in Murfreesboro, TN. A lifelong passion for vintage picking led me to open a shop with my picking pal, Sherri in 2017. Come see us!