The revival of the drinks trolley happened somewhere in the last couple of years and whilst I always imagined it as a bit of a fussy piece of tacky furniture gathering dust living in a badly lit room in the 50’s, I now love the way in which it has been reinvented. A stat just to show how popular it has become: The number of bar cart ideas (if you don’t mind an Americanism) saved on Pinterest in the UK jumped 40 per cent in six months. Sales of bar carts were up 173 per cent from January to June 2016.
Some Drinks Trolley Trivia
(taken from http://www.thebarcartist.com/bar-cart-history/)
The bar cart actually got its start during the Victorian Era (1837-1901). However, at that time it was not associated with alcoholic beverages. The bar carts of the Victorian Era were actually tea trolleys! It seems we have the Interbellum and Greatest Generations to thank for taking us from Tea Time to Party Time when they started using bar carts for cocktail parties during the end of Prohibition (1933). Though bar carts started being associated with cocktails after the repeal of prohibition, they did not become well known cocktail entertaining items until the 1950’s.
If your’e thinking of including a drinks cart/trolley as part of your decor at home here are a few do’s and don’ts.
Retro-style carts are particularly popular – think gold and glitzy with glass or marble shelving. Marble with a very dark brassy metal would be my choice. But look for contemporary details, such as oversized wheels and sleek lines, to stop things feeling too fussy. Two shelves is way better than one and three shelves is probably too many. Purchasing the cart is probably the easiest part however.
Its not about a purchase and then stocking it with a couple bottles of hardtack and some crystal glasses. Of course not, in 2017 everything has to be styled! The styling also includes the brand of alcohol you have on display. I would personally pick two or three bottles of spirits, I think an over stocked trolley will look messy and cluttered. Perhaps add a soft drink like an Elderflower cordial, a bottle of bitters and lots of sparkling water (San Pelligrino). This is for the everyday display and then when you have guests you can add your wines, champagne etc. When you are picking your display bottles of spirits I can’t speak for Bourbon’s or Whiskey’s but a bottle of Gordins isn’t going to cut it on the Gin front, Hendricks, Bombay Sapphire or something on that level. If residing in SA you may be up to speed with the gin re-awakening (well that’s a whole other topic altogether). Cape Town is one of the leaders of this world wide trend. Talented and passionate locals are distilling gin using indigenous flora such as fynbos and rooibos to create gin that you’ll find nowhere else in the world. A few of the local names to look out for that would sit very prettily (and go down very happily) are Inverroche http://www.inverroche.co.za Hope on Hopkins http://hopeonhopkins.co.za Musgrave http://www.musgravegin.co.za Woodstock Gin Company http://www.woodstockginco.co.za to name a few.
Bringing in some artwork, plants, a lamp, jugs, candles, good crystal pieces or books are a few of the many different objects to look for. Fruit is also a great idea, I would go with a bowl of lemons, limes or both and a pineapple or three. Recently we have been drinking our gin with slices of pineapple and I can honestly say that Pineapple in gin should be part of the gin revolution. Basically any of the above objects would add interest, texture, colour and style to your cart. Again for me personally I would choose a few items and not make it too busy, ensuring every item has the ability to shine and be seen.
I have picked out what I believe to be beautifully styled trolleys.
I’m still looking for my perfect drinks trolley, I imagine its living in an antiques market somewhere. I look forward to sharing it with you here when its found.