Mad Men may be over, but that doesn't mean the nostalgia for all things retro and 1960's inspired by the show is going away any time soon. Don Draper made drinking, even in the middle of the work day, look classy and elegant. Part of the charm of drinking on the show was how cool those retro bar carts looked. Luckily, you can create the same effect at home by following these five tips:
Buy an Authentic Mid-Century Modern Cart
The most important thing is the bar cart itself. Look for an elegant, but minimalist mid-century modern bar cart at your local antique furniture store or mid-century modern furniture dealer. Seek out a cart with elegant retro details like brass handles and wheels, as well as glass or teak shelves. Make sure the cart is in good condition for its age and that the wheels are functioning, since you may want to move it from room to room as the mood strikes you. Of course, a few small cosmetic flaws will only make your cart even more charming.
Snag High Quality Glasses
Rocks glasses, highball glasses, and martini glasses are must haves for any retro bar cart. Rather than buy a bunch of cheap, new glasses all at once, why not go authentic and look for vintage glasses? Cocktail glasses from the 1960's were typically made from high-quality, heavy, weighted glass and came with cool details like gold-plated rims. Mix and match different styles for an eclectic look.
Don't Skimp on the Bar Cart Accessories
If you're going to the trouble of putting together an authentic mid-century modern bar cart, don't skimp when it comes to the bar accessories. Cocktail shakers, stirrers, and pitchers should enhance the overall look of your bar cart rather than detract from it. If you really want to go all out, invest in a vintage crystal decanter for your cart.
Stock up on Booze and Mixers
Now that your bar cart is looking sufficiently sophisticated, it's time to stock it. Many retro-inspired cocktails involve whiskey, gin, or vodka, so this is a great place to start. It's better to slowly stock your bar with high shelf liquor, rather than buying a large quantity of cheap spirits all at once. Don't forget the extras, like soda, Vermouth, cherries, and bitters.
Try Cocktail Recipes that Match the Era
Here comes the truly fun part -- impressing your friends and family with authentic, Mad Men-era cocktails, like Sidecars, Tom Collins, and Manhattans. Memorizing and perfecting a few of these classic drink recipes will win you points with any aficionados who come to your cocktail parties, but you can always cheat by quickly consulting this guide to retro cocktails. If any non-drinkers come over, you can always charm them by making a classic Shirley Temple in one of your fancy new glasses.
Keep It Organized
Be sure to keep your cool new bar cart neatly organized and uncluttered. A few simple trays will come in handy for separating your bar items, but can also serve double duty as a way to serve drinks to your guests. Metal stirrers and decorative straws look great inside a cocktail glass.
Be sure to wipe the dust away from your bar cart, glassware, and other items on a regular basis, and rinse out the glasses before each use. Being out on an open bar cart instead of inside a closed cupboard can cause things to get dusty more quickly.
Once you have your retro, Mad Men inspired bar cart all set up, you should feel free to make yourself a Manhattan and sit back and enjoy your handiwork.
If you're ready to start your search for the perfect mid-century items, visit local retailers or sites like http://buckscountyestatetraders.com/.