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Cheers to the Perfect Cocktail Center!

Creating the perfect cocktail center

By Tobi Fairley

There was a time not that long ago when everyone gathered before dinner for the cocktail hour. Neighbors visited each other's homes, people invited their officemates over, or parties were planned for weekend evenings. In modern day interiors, cocktail centers are anywhere and everywhere, like this pretty one in the master suite design I created for the Hamptons Designer Showhouse.

I love to host friends for drinks and dinner, and I think the idea of bringing back the cocktail hour is definitely one that needs to be revived! We are all so busy that unless we plan time with friends, we just never slow down enough to stay connected. So in my new home, I renovated an existing wet bar to fit a more modern lifestyle, while still giving us a functional space for entertaining.

And what does that perfect cocktail center need? As you can see above, a small beverage center/wine cooler is perfect in a wet bar, and can hold beer, wine or champagne, mixers, garnishes—anything involved with cocktails that needs refrigeration.

You also need plenty of storage for mixers and bottles, as well as room for glassware, cutlery, small plates for snacks, and even serving trays. And the best thing you could add, bar none (pardon the pun), is an ice maker! You can never have enough ice when you’re hosting a drinks party.

In my bar, I also added a Kohler Poise sink with a coordinating cutting board that fits right in the top of it so the sink becomes a cutting surface that just lifts right out for storage and cleaning. It’s the perfect place for cutting limes and garnishes for our favorite drinks. 

But what if you don’t have a dedicated space in your home for a full wet bar? Cocktail carts are still all the rage. Just stock them with mixers, glassware, garnishes, stirring utensils, and a shaker or two, and you have the perfect entertaining set-up! And if you use a rolling cart, you can easily move the party outdoors, too.

You can even use a sideboard or other serving area to set up a bar, like this fun non-alcoholic sweets station that I designed for my space in the Energy House green showhouse from a few years back.

Use these ideas to get creative for your next soiree! Meanwhile, I’m off to whip up one of my favorite Moscow Mules – cheers!