I’ll be the first to admit that a bar cart is not even big enough to house our stash of whiskey, so when I was asked to style a bar cart for Spring House, my immediate thought was: Party! In the spring our get-togethers usually involve lawn games and lemonade, in which case a bar cart on the front porch is a perfect solution or in my case a “faux bar cart.” You see, the idea behind a bar cart is to have all cocktail items in one consolidated space, which means if you don’t have a “bar cart” you can easily just pick a side table and use the same small-space techniques. Here’s what I did to style our casual “faux bar cart”:
Define the space.
First things first. To define this “faux bar cart” space, I pulled out my favorite side table. Because carts usually have two levels, one for the main cocktail mixings and another to hold extra bottles and such, I got this metal bucket to put underneath and stow bottled beverages. Finally, to define the space, I bought tissue paper in spring colors and made a garland to call out the space for guests. (Learn how to make your own tissue paper tassel garland.)
Organize the space.
When the weather warms and we move outside, I like to keep things casual so guests feel comfortable enough to serve themselves and then get back to the party. In my opinion, the easiest way to do that is to organize the space with products that look warm and inviting, and Target’s Threshold products worked perfectly. I used a serving tray to contain all the bottles and a serving board for the citrus. Then, only the essential barware: an ice bucket and a cocktail shaker.
Set the “bar”.
In the spirit of spring cleaning, I tend to pair down for gatherings this time of year. When it comes to liquor, stick to basics: bourbon, gin, vodka and rum. People usually know what they like to drink, so if you have limited space offering the basics with a couple of twists is a perfect option. In addition to the liquor, soda tonic are both musts when it comes to warm-weather cocktails. A few small-batch bitters and citrus options can make a variety of mixed drinks.
Pick the right mixers.
We always keep at least two options on hand that can be mixers but are still a yummy beverage choice for children and non-drinkers. For this particular gathering, I chose the warm-weather staple: lemonade. To step up the presentation, I like to put lemonades (or juices or tea — whatever the case may be) and water in their own carafes. I also added these cute K&Company chalkboard labels to label everything.
Add some color.
It’s cheaper to change the extras from party to party than it is to change all your serving ware. So, keep the tray, the bucket, etc. the same and for about $20, add color with colorful paper straws, napkins and even glasses. Bonus: These blue ball jars I picked up have measurements on the side that can help guests make their own cocktails.
Post a few recipes.
As I’ve mentioned, the secondary point of the bar cart (aside from consolidation) is that people can serve themselves. Husband and I always like to offer at least a couple of suggestions so the choices don’t seem overwhelming. For this party, we posted two of our favorite spring drinks.
How can you make your next party sizzle? Shop Target‘s newest spring decor and entertaining products (available in-store and online now) to bring coastal inspiration and create a summer beach house look with a little French Riviera.