Cocktail Hour is Back!

How to create the perfect drinks trolly at home

Chin chin, darlings – cocktail hour is back. Not since the F Scott Fitzgerald years has “cocktailing” (a term coined by The Great Gatsby writer) been so popular. Across the country, mixologists are experimenting with exotic ingredients and ambitious new techniques to create potent masterpieces.

But you don’t need to leave the house to enjoy a decent Tom Collins. Discerning boozers are adopting a DIY approach, in part, due to the revival of the drinks trolly and bar cabinet. Our latest obsession with all things mid century, these retro pieces introduce an extra-special touch to parties and make a great focal point in a room.

Of course, there’s no point having a bar without the essentials to go with it.

“The most important thing when you're bartending at home is to keep an eye on your ice – you're going to need a ton of it, so it's best to get well stocked up and create plenty of space for it. You don't want to be running back and forth to the freezer, especially when you've got guests,” advises JJ Goodman, owner and founder of the London Cocktail Club.

“Next, make sure you've got a cracking set of spirits. The basics are vodka, rum, gin and whisky, then you can build it up from there. I'd go with Finlandia Vodka and Jack Daniel’s – these are strong base staples that you can't go wrong with. Lastly, the perfect home bar should include great equipment; Cocktail Kingdom, has some fantastic Japanese-inspired spoons and shakers that are practical as well as beautiful.  When it comes to glassware, go with your personal style preference – you'll need highballs, coupettes and martinis at the very least, but you don't have to spend a fortune if you shop around wisely.”

Here’s TOAST's pick of the best homes bars and equipment…

The Trolly

Luxe bar table

Part console; part storage, this sleek table comes with two marble shelves and three racks for wine or champagne glasses.

Price: H77 x Dia 54cm, £295, Oliver Bonas

Riley drinks trolly

Made from nickel-plated iron with two toughened glass shelves, the Art Deco design of the Riley will add a glamorous touch to a celebration. H75 x W63 x D46cm, £298, Atkin & Thyme

Gin Trollys

Trolly 901

This birch design was originally created for the 1937 Paris World Fair. H56 x W90 x D50cm, £1,471, Artek for Skandium.

Liquor cabinet

Handmade to order, this retro design is ideal for lovers of all things vintage. An upcycled steam trunk becomes a stylish bar, with ample space for glassware, cocktail paraphernalia and favourite tipples. £350, Am Florence at Etsy 

Portia drinks cabinet

Make a bold statement with a freestanding cabinet in frosted glass and dark stained wood. H85 x W85 xD44cm, £399, made.com,.

Cocktail Cab Edited 1

The Equipment

Cocktail muddler

A bartender’s essential. £6.50, Kitchen Craft at Harvey Nichols, harveynichols.com

Trombone cocktail shaker

Made from polished stainless steel with a mirrored finish, this is a must in any drinks cabinet. H22cm, capacity 450ml, £65, Nick Munro

Cocktail Jigger & Spoon Set

Add this playful tropical Cocktail Jigger & Spoon Set with a pineapple and palm tree to make your cocktail bar feel like summer. The jigger is equivalent to a shot, or 1.5 fl oz  so perfect for measuring your cocktail base spirit. Price £23 Oliver Bonas 

Cocktail Strainer

Keep a cocktail strainer like this Premium julep Strainer close buy for straining your mixed cocktail from your shaker. This cocktail strainer is £8.95 Cocktail Kingdom.


Tom Dixon Plum Cocktail set

If you really want to impress, serve your guests their Martinis in these striking hand-cut copper-plated glasses with cocktail shaker, ice bucket, tray and pourer to match.

Martini Glasses :£75 for two, Copper Tray: £130.00, Cocktail Shaker: £95.00, Pourer: £65.00, Ice Bucket: £200, Tongues £35 all available from Tom Dixon. 

Tom Dixon Plum


Designed by Benjamin Hubert for Menu, this visually dramatic carafe enables wine to be easily served whilst enabling the breathing process to obtain the maximum aeration. As the wine is poured from the bottle into the carafe, the design allows for an increase in the surface area of the wine by eight times a normal pour from the bottle thus providing 800% aeration and improving the wines flavor, £47.00 from Trouva.

Caraf Menu

The Extras

A corkscrew although a lot of bottles of wine are now screw top, a corkscrew and bottle opener is a home bar essential. This Sommelier Corkscrew - with a Compressed Fabric Handle available in a number of colours is the perfect, stylish addition. Price: £104.00 from Amara. 

Bar spoon, The silver plated Teardrop Barspoon is a beautiful accessory at £19.95, from the Cocktail Kingdom. Keep a bar towel handy and a small bin close by.

The Spirits: A Guide to Modern Cocktailing

Journalist Richard Godwin’s witty book attempts to demystify the process of cocktail making and is packed with modern and classic recipes for every occasion. £16.09, Square Peg

Bump & Grind

This drink is a real crowd-pleaser. The blend of rich salted caramel vodka and coffee create a moreish and indulgent twist on everybody's favourite, the Espresso Martini. We prefer to use instant freeze-dried coffee, which makes it easy to make at home, too.

JJ Goodman, founder and owner, London Cocktail Club


25ml Stoli salted caramel vodka

25ml Tia Maria

15ml sugar syrup (1:1)

25ml coffee mix (1:1)


Add all the ingredients to the shaker with cubed ice. Shake. Strain into chilled coupette glass and garnish with a chocolate bourbon biscuit.

Bump Grind 1 Copy

(Picture Credit Sean Ware)


Posted in Inspire Me

by Alix O'Neill
on on 23 August 2016


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