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How to Stock a Stylish Summer Bar

July, 2013 · By Coryanne Ettiene

Stocking a stylish summer bar is one of those merriments that makes me think of the changing seasons.  Just like trimming the tree in December or wearing poppies in the spring, stocking a stylish summer bar is a seasonal right of passion that allows you to embrace summer and all of those glorious daylight hours just waiting for a festive occasion to present itself.  Beyond the standard accouterments that you find lining the well of your favorite pub, stocking a stylish summer bar means reaching for a bottle that echos in character, updating your bar tools and giving your mixers a much needed summer revival.

@coryanneettiene summer bar tips

Need a signature cocktail for summer?  Here is one of my favorite Cosmo recipes from the Alexander & James website.  It is excellent paired with scallops and orange celery root confit.  And made all the more magical by adding a teaspoon of egg white in the shaker to  yield a beautiful white mousse on the surface of your cocktail without affecting its flavour.  Simply add 30ml Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, 30ml vodka, 45ml cranberry juice, 15ml freshly squeezed lime juice and a dash angostura orange bitter to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  With a signature cocktail to hand, all you need an is a stylish summer bar to serve it form.

5 Tips for stocking a stylish summer bar

When transitioning your bar into summer, consider lighter ingredients, and layer your liquor supply with heavier accents that blend well with light mixers, wild herbs and fresh produce.  These 5 tips for stocking a summer bar will have you mixing in style:

  1. Focus on a signature cocktail.   Ensure that you always have the supplies on hand to mix a fabulous cocktail, after all, nothing dampens a party like a poorly stocked bar.
  2. Keep your ingredients seasonal, fresh and simple.  Complexity can spoil the mood, when in doubt reach for 2-3 bottles of character driven spirits, like a fabulous bottle of  Grand Marnier  from Alexander & James.    There is truth in the saying that you get what you pay for, and no one likes a host who skimps on spirit. 
  3. Lighten your mixers.  Opt for fizzy waters, tonics, sparking light wines and summer cordials to compliment your drinks whilst leaving the heavy mixers for the autumn festivities.
  4. Ice matters darling.  Don’t let cloudy ice spoil a good cocktail.  If you are making ice at home, opt for bottled water; tap water will only cloud your ice.  Or opt for the easy option by purchasing a block of ice.
  5. Update your bar tools & focus on your stemware.  Save money and embrace style with vintage pieces.  Those fabulous days of having a different glass for each cocktail may be long behind us, but the glasses remain in vintage markets.  Opt for eclectic simple sets that offer both a conversation piece and a stylish nod to your all ready contemporary sets in your home bar. And never tend a bar without the right tools.  Having a full set of bar tools, like those from Alexander & James,  on hand is the quickest way to amp up your style.

A stylish bar does not have to be limited to your home bar.  Be creative with you hostess gifts this summer and give the gift of a stylish bar to your next hostess.  One of my favorite gifts is a a signature bottle with a hand written recipe card attached.  It goes well beyond the much unloved bottle of wine, and is one of the gifts that keeps giving long after the party is over.    After all, the best drinks are those that are given, or shared.

Alexadner & James  has a carefully selected range of gift sets and individual accessories, including branded glassware, ice buckets and cocktail stirrers, to help you create the complete gift package. Connect with them on Facebookand Twitterand browse their mouthwatering collection of cocktail recipes online.  A&J have over half a century of real life craftsmanship and heritage to back them up. Not coincidentally, their name is a tribute to two of the grandest spirits masters ever – Alexander Walker and James Buchanan – and they are proudly backed by Diageo, the world’s leading spirits company.

Disclaimer:  Alexander & James is a client of mine.  All tips and content included in this post are my own. Images courtesy of Alexander & James.

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