15 items to help you build a home bar that brings the fun.
If you want to be a pro host at your summer soirees, you’re going to need an excellent bar setup.
Whether you’re going for 1950s Don Draper cocktail hour, or are trying to keep your poolside party going all night long, these important accoutrements will make your parties the height of summer fun.
Start with simply chic glassware, such as the Iittala Kartio 7 oz. Tumblers ($20 for two at DIGS, Ballard). The sleek, versatile cups work for almost all cocktails and will seamlessly fit with any party décor.
If you want to show off your local pride, snag a few of Uncommon Green’s Seattle Street Map Rocks Glasses ($12.50 each at NUBE, Capitol Hill). The etched-glass tumblers are great for any sort of creation you may want to serve your guests, and may even help them find their way home at the end of the party.
Prep your wine for maximum enjoyment with the Iittala Essence Decanter ($90 at DIGS). The dishwasher-safe piece has a classic bar vibe that you’ll love whether you’re pouring your favorite rosé or an exciting new malbec.
Presentation is key to being a great host, and the Urbancase Maple Tray ($175 at urbancase.com) will make any cocktail spread look totally professional. Handmade at Urbancase’s Seattle studio, the sleek maple tray is treated so it will stand up to any spills it may encounter.
An exquisite cart is a must for adding glamour to a bar. Featuring glass surfaces and a metal frame, the American Atelier Small Round Wheeled Bar Cart ($395 at nordstrom.com) will make your guests take your cocktail skills seriously.
Make like Tom Cruise a la “Cocktail” with the WMF Loft Boston Shaker ($60 at DIGS). It’s marked with both milliliter and ounce measurements so you can mix your drinks flawlessly.
The Marquis by Waterford Vim & Vigor Bar Tool Set ($89 at nordstrom.com) will take your home bar to the next level. The beautiful stainless-steel set includes tongs, a shaker, strainer, knife, muddler and bottle opener.
If you are the craft beverage type, you are going to need to make sure your measurements are exact. The Cocktail Kingdom Leopold Banded Jigger ($40 at E. Smith Mercantile, Pioneer Square) is a 1930s-inspired, copper-plated jigger that is as gorgeous as it is useful. You’re not going to want to hide this away in your cabinet.
Catch sweat rings in hunting-lodge style with the Filson Coaster Set ($60 for four at Filson, Sodo). Made at the company’s Seattle factory, these durable leather coasters are a great addition to any host’s tabletop.
Most drinkers agree, the best way to chill your whiskey is with one giant ice cube; it melts more slowly to avoid watering down your delicious spirit. Make perfect spherical cubes at home with The Original Whiskey Ball Ice Mold ($20 for two at nordstrom.com).
Like any good meal, a cocktail is only as good as the ingredients you put in it. Ballard Liquor’s Well Vodka ($17 at Ballard Liquor) is a no-fuss vodka made locally. Go for the classic, or stop by their Ballard tasting room to try a few of their seasonal blends.
If you’re building a comprehensive booze collection, you’re going to want to invest in a bottle of Westland Whiskey ($69 at BevMo and grocery stores). This Seattle-made whiskey is an essential part of any Pacific Northwest bar. Straight up or on the rocks, your guests are not going to be disappointed.
Captive Spirits’ Big Gin ($40 at Total Wine & More) will go a long way at a party. Made in Seattle, it’s smooth, clean and totally drinkable (not to mention award-winning), making it a star staple of your liquor cabinet.
A sweet sipping vermouth, such as Solera Bravo Vermut Del Sol ($25 at compasswines.com), will add a delicious twist to any Manhattan. This locally made vermouth is also excellent on its own as a tasty after-dinner drink.
Bitters are rising as an essential cocktail ingredient, with Scrappy’s Bitters ($20 at grocery stores) leading the charge. These locally made bitters are delicious, and the vast selection of flavor options, including lavender and pumpkin seed, will give your cocktail an unexpected, totally enjoyable pop.