Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, aka The Home Edit, are known for turning forgotten parts of houses, like crammed closets and overstuff pantries into dreamy organized spaces (that are usually color coded). So imagine what they can do for a place that’s pretty great to start with: your home bar.
Now we get it, you probably don’t have the kind of space that some of the Home Edit’s celebrity clients do (one of the best parts of their Netflix series “Get Organized With The Home Edit” is when Reese Witherspoon, Retta and Joanna Brewster tell Shearer and Teplin what big fans they are). But even if you don’t have space for a full home bar, you do have space for a bar cart, which can be brought out for get togethers and tucked away when not in use.
And this year, when many of us are eschewing large holiday parties and bars during the pandemic, creating a special space at home — even if it’s a small one — becomes even more important.
“Obliviously the holidays are going to be tremendously different for all of us, so there’s no better time to start new traditions and create new cozy memories,” Shearer said. “There are going to be smaller gatherings that are going to be more intimate but meaningful.”
Teplin said it’s definitely the season for “any new sparkly traditions you can create.”
“I think everyone needs a little something special,” Teplin said. “By designing a bar cart, and having a specialty cocktail or a Cosmo station, even if it’s just three of you at home, it’s something special to look forward to.”
The duo partnered with Cointreau to create a free downloadable guide full of holiday hosting tips, festive cocktail recipes, and bar cart styling ideas.
To celebrate the launch of the guide, I caught up with Shearer and Teplin for a few tips on creating your first bar cart or getting your overstuffed liquor cabinet trimmed down to size.
Pick a theme
The two joke that Teplin is sponsored by carts, and the bar cart is the original cart.
“It feels like on vacation, or at a friend’s house, because you can let your worries go and can focus on one little center at a time and be immersed,” Teplin said. “They are like a tiny perfect island.”
That means picking a cart, glass wear and bar wear that can be used in multiple situations and accenting it with accessories you can swap out depending on what holiday you are celebrating.
“One of the most common mistakes is people hang on to too many glasses they do not use,” Shearer said. “Glasses can create a lot of clutter. Think about what you use and what you like to look at. Otherwise, donate it or give it to a friend.”
Make sure your mixers haven’t expired, and don’t let near-empty bottles sit around for too long.
“Go ahead and make yourself a drink that night!” Shearer said.
This all depends on your inventory of items and what you like to drink. But generally you want to take into account what you use the most and keep it easily accessible, and then it’s up to you. You could organize by height, rainbow order by labels, or do a gradient of clear to opaque spirits (and turn to the very popular The Home Edit Instagram page for inspiration).
Turn the cart into a cocktail station
For a small gathering, you can make the bar cart an interactive cocktail station. If you pick a cocktail like a Cosmopolitan, you can match the blush color to holiday greens and deeper reds. Create small cards that walk guests through the steps of making the drink, and then provide a variety of fruit (or candy if you’re Teplin) garnishes that let guests customize their drink, but also create visually attractive additions to the cart.
And for inspiration, here are two holiday twists on some of the most famous Cointreau cocktails, well, ever: The Cosmo and The Margarita that the ladies help develop. There are more recipes available online in the holiday guide.
Clea’s Color Coded Cosmo
0.75 ounce Cointreau
2 ounces vodka
0.75 ounce fresh lime Juice
0.5 ounce Chai Hibiscus Syrup*
2 ounces Sparkling Rosé
Add all ingredients to shaker except for rosé. Add ice, shake and strain. Finish with bubbles.
*Chai Hibiscus Syrup
1:1 sugar to water bring to boil. Turn off and let chai and hibiscus tea bags (or loose tea) steep for 5 minutes. Strain and serve when cool.
Joanna’s Organize, Maintain, Margarita
1 ounce Cointreau
2 ounces tequila
1 ounce lime juice
Tablespoon of finely chopped ginger
Bar spoon of fig jam
Add all ingredients to shaker.
Add ice, shake and fine strain. Garnish with candied ginger and/or lime.