my sitting room drinks table
Well, it's the weekend and I've got a celebratory drink on my mind for surviving another week of craziness.
the casual living area drinks tray
This has lead me to think about the drinks table, and it's super sized cousin, the home bar. I read last year in The Australian newspaper that home bars were again becoming big news. Apparently they are the new Sales Feature demanded by The Market in a luxury house (the home theatre has obviously infiltrated the mass market too much, as have full Miele kitchens...). Used by caterers, and often adjoining casual living and entertaining areas (such as outdoor pools) apparently Designers are being inundated with requests to make the home bar look like an upmarket boutique hotel. Mirror, chrome, marble and every liquor and spirit known to man is required to give the edge over its rather more subdued 70's parent.
Home bars back in the 70s in Australia revolved more around the fantasy of having your own pub at home with you playing the role of the publican. They tended to feature wood panelling, beer mats, bowls of nuts and a miniature keg to pull your own beers from. The new incarnation is a slightly more glossy and sophisticated take on all that, but still (to me) fairly unnecessary unless you entertain constantly or harbour a deep longing to play shop as an adult.
But the drinks table… well, that's another matter. There is nothing that says "welcome" or "relax" (or possibly "alcoholic") to me than a well curated drinks tray.
Bar carts recently become a Thing, and are now easily available in Australia through a variety of suppliers, as well as frequently being available at estate auction (called tray mobiles, and far cheaper than the brand new versions). But to be honest, I've never understood why you need wheels on it. They are generally left in a stationary position somewhere, so I'm more in favour of a decent sized tray with the essentials on it. A few bottles of your favourite tipple, mixers, ice bucket and glasses, some citrus and you have a welcoming drinks tray. If you want to fancy it up with attractive stripey prop straws, then by all means go for it.
I have two drinks trays in my house - one on the side board in our dining area (a part of the casual living zone). This is used fairly frequently as we are generally in this area. The other drinks tray is in the library/ sitting room. It's smaller and is less frequently used. At some point we will have to do away with the permanent drinks tray as our children become teenagers, and we start keeping everything alcoholic in the lockable cellar. Mr AV and I both have vivid memories of sneaking things out of our parent's cellars, either when underaged, or after than in student enforced poverty to take to a party.
Two incidences in my family spring to mind. The first was when my parents decided to have a Gin and Tonic. It was a hot day, so my Father fetched the half full bottle of chilled gin from the cellar fridge rather than using the bottle on the sideboard. He spent some time putting it together and presented one to my mother who sipped it and asked him if he'd remembered to put the Gin in. Yes he had, he assured her. She sipped it again and said she couldn't taste it. So Dad poured some more in. Same result. At this point my younger sister and I, who were sitting on the sofas nearby started whispering to each other "have you been drinking the Gin?" Yes, it turned out we both had (and possibly my older sister too). We used to decant it out of the bottle then top it back up with water to the same level….
The second instance occurred on Christmas Day. As per family tradition the pudding was to be lit up with flaming Brandy. Except that Dad hadn't checked how much Brandy he had. There was only a few drops left. So he improvised. He pulled out the full bottle of Vodka a patient had given him around 10 years before as a substitute. My parents never drank Vodka, so it was full. He poured it liberally all over the pudding, my sisters and I held our breath, he lit a match and we all watched the match fizzle. Another match, still no flame. The pudding would just not light. The extended family was surprised, Dad confused. How could it not flame? Well, unfortunately that was another bottle my sisters and I had gradually diluted with water over the years. Essentially Dad had poured water over the Christmas pudding. It was a soggy, water logged pudding that year.
So for the time being I'll enjoy my drinks tables in all their welcoming glory before the bottles are stashed in the cellar and only brought out with keyed access.
Enjoy the weekend!
more images of drinks trays via Pinterest
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