I've had my West Elm Butlers Tray Table for over five years. First it functioned as a bedside table then it migrated into my living area as an additional surface for books, frames, etc. It wasn't until I moved from Dallas to Houston this past May that I decided to use it as a bar cart situation. There was just one problem...I had no idea how to make it look good. The wine bottles and random decor pieces it held really weren't looking right. It took me a few months of giving the tray table the side eye before I realized what it needed: bottles of booze and bar tools.
So alcohol was the major missing piece of the puzzle. But I wasn’t about to spend money on a bunch of bottles that I would never use/drink just for the sake of getting the right “look.” Before making any purchases I started to take note of what cocktails I actually liked…one of the ways I got there was from mixing drinks with friends from the recipes in Shake: A New Perspective on Cocktails. Biscuit got this book at the beginning of summer and it became a favorite for all of us at the store. It’s also become popular with shoppers and we’ve had a hard time keeping it stocked on the shelves. What makes the small book so great? Its recipes are simple (in terms of ingredients and directions) but also aspirational and delicious. My favorite part is the “Cocktail Crafting 101” portion in the front pages. The authors put together an assortment of essential spirits that are used in their recipes – a list I greatly appreciated given how I panicked I get when having to pick out wine or liquor.
I didn’t pick up everything on the “stock your bar” list – just because I know I don’t have a palate for bourbon rum or rye – and I deviated from a few of their suggestions to get labels I preferred, but overall it was a super helpful guide and exactly what I needed to go shopping with confidence. Yes, it was an investment to do the stocking…but I spread the purchases out over a few trips to the liquor store to make it a little easier on my wallet.
Getting the bottles was just part of the fun…I also ordered some necessary bar tools:
- CB2 Marta Light Pink Double Old Fashioned Glasses, $2.95 each (perfect size for a full cocktail and made with the thinnest glass)
- CB2 Duke Stainless Steel Cocktail Shaker, $20
- CB2 Stainless Steel Jigger, $5
- Williams Sonoma Marble Wine Coaster, $20 (great for holding garnish ingredients that rim glasses!)
- Williams Sonoma Open Kitchen Stainless Steel Juicer, $25 (dishwasher safe and pretty enough to have sitting on the bar at all times – very important)
- Williams Sonoma Open Kitchen Cocktail Muddler, $5 (back ordered but on its way to me)
I think I might need a jumbo ice mold and some more cocktail napkins but I’m not in a huge rush to get those. I’m sure I could add a lot more to the overall cocktail station situation but simple and functional makes me happy and very inspired to mix cocktails on the reg.