Browsing Tag



Bar Carts for Serious Summer Entertaining at Pottery Barn

wagon party bucket

If your home or your cabin by the lake is the party central for you and your friends, you need great beverage station options. The latest summer collection at Pottery Barn gave you something to think about. See how you could do it.

Wagon Party Buckets

Having a wagon is awesome to keep the cart close to the action. The removable galvanized bucket and tray provides convenience. If you are driving a car with a large trunk, you could easily bring this bar on wheel to a large picnic at the park or the beach. Continue Reading


Cocktail Party Essentials

glamorous drink station


Holiday party season is in full swing. Whether you’re hosting family and friends for dinner, neighbours during an afternoon open house or a glamorous New Year’s Eve gathering, consider upgrading your existing bar accessories or invest in these essentials pre-party. A well-appointed bar with all the tools of the trade will help you quench all of your guest’s drink requests.

Stylish Glassware

Even if you’re well-stocked with a variety of glassware styles, these fun and festive options will have your guests lining up to claim their cup. Check department stores for other seasonal options that are likely already on sale.

Cocktail Shaker

Cocktail shakers

A cocktail shaker is essential for creating martinis and other mixed drinks. You can find inexpensive, basic shakers at most kitchen and department stores. Personalize this vintage-inspired shaker from Pottery Barn with a frosted glass monogram. For a statement shaker you’ll want to leave on display, consider this gorgeous, but pricey, stainless steel Bauhaus design by Alessi.

Large Tray or Bar Cart

glamorous drink station

Use a tray, or bar cart to create a serving station and keep bar tools and glassware corralled. You can also re-purpose an existing console table or your dining table for the occasion.

airy modern drink station in white and blue

Style at Home proposed an airy, modern take on the drink station that would be perfect for New Year’s Eve.

Sticks and Picks

Cocktail picks and coasters

Cocktail picks are great for garnishes and do double-duty as stir sticks. My “pick” for a holiday party? This stainless steel set topped with jingle bells from Crate and Barrel.


Coasters are a must to protect furniture and other valuables from glassware. There are sets to fit every party theme and decor, from glass to ceramic to pretty letterpressed paper.

+ Winter Tree Stemless Glassware $25 USD at West Elm
+ Mr. and Mrs. Highball Glasses by Furbish Studio $18 USD (set of 2)
Bauhaus Cocktail Shaker by Alessi $388 USD at Unica Home
+ Hotel Cocktail Shaker $29 USD at Pottery Barn
+ Drink Station by Lulu Powers for Lonny magazine – December 2010 issue – photo by Patrick Cline
Small Space Cocktail Party Planner by Style at Home – photo by Michael Graydon
+ Jingle Bell Picks $10.95 USD (set of 6) at Crate & Barrel
+ Letterpress Coasters by Red Bird Ink $10 USD (set of 4) on Etsy


Mistystix for a Fog-like Effect

mistystix for a fog effect in your drinks

mistystix for a fog effect in your drinks

Although they are targeting bars, hotels and caterers, many will care to know about Mistystix. You could buy a pack if you are planning a milestone birthday party or a wedding. You will be able to reuse them for all your Halloween parties.

Mistystix are dryice swizzle sticks that safely create a misty fog effect in beverages. You insert the dry ice inside a capsule, which means that people will not be able to touch the dry ice. In theory, you only have to worry about who do the service; make sure that the servers know how to handle dry ice.

They also thought about functionality. The sticks have a small hook to sit neatly of the glass rim. It seems like a great idea. Watch this video to see a demonstration. Mistystix is sold in a pack of black and white sticks or in an assorted color kit.

+ Mistystix $200 CAD for pack of 250
+ via Marianik


How the Sweet Cake Tub Comes in Handy

sweetcake tub by beerd van stokkum

sweetcake tub by beerd van stokkum

I like the concept for a party; especially for a garden party, a baby shower or a kid birthday. It makes a festive ice bucket to keep cold the bottles of water, soda, lemonade, beer and wine. The Sweet Cake tub is a little bit pricey but you will be able to reuse it for many tasks. If you are hosting a family-friendly BBQ, use it as a sandbox for toddlers.

Beerd van Stokkum is a Dutch product designer and spatial designer. His products are often cheerful, like many design products from the Netherlands. In 2008, he got the idea to make a blown up cupcake bucket that can be used as a flower pot, a baby bath, a sandbox or a basket for your dog or cat.

multi-purpose sweet cake tub by beerd van stokkum in an array of colors

Sweet Case comes in 11 bright colors. Made of thick polyethylene, it can be used indoor and outdoor. For easier cleaning, I suggest a sponge, soap and hot water. The sponge should cover each groove in one step.

I found the US distributor, who sadly for him (and us) does not publish a list of US retailers.

+ Sweet Case Tub £149 at Beerd van Stokkum
+ List of retailers for the Sweet Cake tub – mostly from Europe


Invite the Vacu Vin Creepy Creatures to Your Halloween Party

for halloween, creepy creatures glass markers by vacu vin

Vacu Vin is launching a new set of glass markers especially for Halloween. These 13 creepy creatures are charming enough to be used at a kids party, if you like. You stick the marker on your glass, cup or beer bottle to identify it. The glass marker stays in place by suction. They work as well as the Party People glass markers that I reviewed last February.

Vacu Vin Party People Glass Markers

Since the Party People markers look like 12 little monsters, you can blended the two sets. Get 2 packs of each set. Put them in a box. Ask each guest to draw their glass marker. This way, you could host a party with 50 guests and run little chances that 2 persons with the same character put their glass next to each other.

+ Vacu Vin Glass Markers Party People $7.98 USD for 12
+ Creepy Creatures Glass Markers by Vacu Vin


Three Cool Hostess or Housewarming Gift Ideas by Sagaform

cool hostess or housewarming gift ideas :: sagaform walnut serving fork and spoons :: bar tools :: serving salad set

Sagaform has a collection that they call Letter. The concept behind Letter is that you can send your housewarming gift using the small parcel postal service. I do not know if the box dimension fits the postal rules of USPS or Canada Post but still, it is a good idea.

Two products of the Letter collection that I would like to have are:

  • #1. The Walnut folk, spoon and serving spoon designed by Transformer. It is so cool that can hang on jars.
  • #3.  A great space saver in your kitchen drawer is the two-piece stainless steel salad server set that lies flat when not in use.

#2 is not from the Letter collection. What special about this Sagaform Club Cocktail is included the modern bar tools: a stainless steel measuring cup, a cherrywood muddler and a cherrywood citrus reamer. Add a shaker and you are all set for making the best cocktails in town.

+ Sagaform
+ Sagaform Letter Serving Set $12 CAD – ships in USA and Canada
+ Sagaform Club Cocktail 3 Piece Set $29.95 USD
Sagaform Cocktail Shaker $39.95 USD


Classic Margarita Recipe and More for Cinco de Mayo

The classic margarita recipe is hard to beat. No frozen margarita and no mix for me. The margarita recipe is so simple to make that you must rely on the real ingredients.

Before I gave you my classic recipe, it is important to talk about the do and don’t of the margarita. It is necessary because this drink has been damaged over the years.

  • The original recipe called for Cointreau, which is a premium Triple Sec. And yes, you will taste the difference in the margarita since there is only 3 ingredients in a real margarita.
  • The sweetness comes from the premium orange liquor, typically Cointreau. Try to avoid the basic Triple Sec. I ordered mine with Grand Marnier. Therefore, there is no need to add simple syrup in the original recipe.
  • Go for a sliver agave tequila. A classic margarita is not made with aged tequila, so avoid the Reposado.  I prefer the taste of the Patrón silver
  • Do not pour ice from the shaker into the glass, put fresh ice cubes in the glass.
  • The classic recipe uses ice cubes; leave the crushed ice to the frozen margarita.

Making the Classic Margarita


  • 1 1/2 oz 100% agave silver tequila
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau
  • Juice of 1/2 lime, freshly squeezed
  • Kosher salt on the rim – I recommend Kosher because it is less salty

Pour the liquids in a shaker with lots of ice. Shake until he ingredients are well blended. Strain into a lightly salt rimmed old-fashioned glass on the rock. You can also serve your margarita on a margarita glass or a cocktail glass.

If you wish to see my reactions when I taste an incredible margarita, watch this video we took at Taqueria Canonita in Las Vegas last year.

masters margarita recipe

Three twists on the Margarita recipes developed by Patrón:

Masters Margarita


  • 1/2 oz. (15ml) Patrón Citrónge
  • 1 1/2 oz. (35ml) Patrón Silver
  • Fresh ginger
  • 1 lime
  • Dash of bitters
  • 2 tpsb. honey

In a mixing glass, muddle the juice of one lime with a slice of fresh ginger; add the remaining ingredients, fill with ice, and double-strain into a chilled coupette/margarita glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

See also:

For Cinco de Mayo, try to rediscover the original Mexican recipes. Forget the Tex-Mex and serve instead a tasty ceviche with cilantro.

+ More tequila-based cocktails, see Patron
+ Rosle Fruit Muddle/ Caipirinha Pestle $19.95 USD at
+ Top image: 4 cocktails from
Taqueria Canonita


Vacu Vin Created the Cutest Party People Glass Markers

Vacu Vin Glass Markers

Wine glass markers have been around for a while. Although they are previous attempts to identify any type of glass at parties, Vacu Vin is the first that targets kids and adults with their Party People Glass Markers.

The Dutch creativity emerges with 12 cute characters that they referred as party people. Each figure attaches with a suction cup to any smooth surface. I got a sample from Cadosphere, an online gift store.  They work very well.

These colorful markers are dishwasher safe. It is a fun product that will cheer up any party. One thing for sure, it will entertain the kids for a while. For all these reasons, it makes a wonderful hostess gift.

3 characters from vacu vin party people glass markers

The Tests I made

I did not encounter any problems. In fact, my husband commented on how secure the character stuck to our drinkware.

I wanted to test it further. I left one glass marker on a hot tea served in a cup and another on a water glass filled with ice to see how long they would stick. In these extreme scenarios, the suction eventually gave up. My husband drank his tea at a normal speed and as I recalled, he had no problems.

I give the Vacu Vin Party People Glass Markers the AHWKV’s seal of approval.

Other uses

For a kid birthday party, ever kid could bring home the figure he/she got. Or wrap them in cute bags as an affordable surprise party favor. Each figure costs 66 cents.

Whenever you wish to randomly pick someone name or assign something to people, you could use the characters as identifiers. Simply make in advance 12 tags with a picture and name of each character. Make your tags durable to reuse them at other events.

+ Vacu Vin Party People Glass Markers $7.95 CAD for pack of 12
+ images from Vacu Vin


Jumbo Bar by Jorge Najera Makes a Cool Home Bar

jumbo bar and drink light by Jorge Najera

If you are looking for a modern bar that works for both an indoors or outdoors installation, check out the Jumbo Bar designed by Jorge Najera.

Made of rotationally molded polyethylene, the Jumbo Bar incorporates light sources beneath the surface.

You can easily vary the eye-catching glow by using colored light bulbs. It is a great way to change the mood of your party.

Jumbo Bar Accessories

From one angle, Drink Light is a luminous stool that matches the look and feel of the Jumbo Bar. Turn it upside-down and Drink Light becomes a fabulously trendy ice or wine bucket. The light comes handy to read the labels of wine or beer bottles at a night party.

+ Jumbo Bar by Jorge Najera at Generate Design – price: $1499 USD
+ Drink Light by Jorge Najera – price: $379 USD


Autumn 2008 Entertaining Products from Fred

fingerfood :: peace of cake :: toothpick :: gin and titonic by fred autumn 2008

We can always find unexpected creative products from the design team at Fred. This time, they outshine themselves with their latest collection.

My favorite new products from the Autumn 2008 collection are:

FINGERFOOD is an imaginative concept. The charming little plates with rings fit right on your finger to let you carry around hors d’oeuvres.

Fred is contributing a portion of the proceeds from the PEACE of CAKE mould to organizations dedicated to peaceful resolution of conflict, justice for all, and respect for human rights.

This little truck made from satiny porcelain rolls on real rubber wheels. I love the slogan for TOOTHPICKUP: it’s where to park your picks.

Your martini will never look the same with a GIN & TITONIC ice sculpture inside your glass. You can create 4 ocean liners and 4 icebergs each time from this silicone ice cube maker.

At this point, no clues on price. But we all know that Fred’s products are a very affordable indulgence.

>>> Sourcing:
Learn more: News products from Fred


Built + French Bull: A Killer Combination

french bull patterns on built totes :: icebu

When two companies that you like collaborate, you can be happier. Built and French Bull are creating something joyful.

Three patterns from French Bull – Multidot, Rainbow Flower, and Vine – will be decorating four of Built’s best selling items. The color palette of the rainbow pattern looks amazing.

The One Bottle Tote, the Two Bottle Totes, the Gourmet Getaway Lunch Totes, and 13″-15″ Laptop Sleeves will look happier than ever. The new series will be available in August 2008.

Polyurethane Foam Ice Bucket

The same month, Built will launch an Ice Bucket made from polyurethane foam, just like your freezer. The advantage is a lightweight, condensation free ice bucket. It would be available in red and black. It is easy to take care. Simply hand wash with mild detergent and towel dry.

The One Bottle Tote and the Two Bottle Tote have a new lower retail price. Their price is now $12 and $15 USD respectively. At this price, Built’s Bottle Totes make the perfect hostess gift when you bring the wine.

>>> Sourcing:
Learn more: Press releases from French Bull
Buy online: Ice Bucket 3qt by Built – price: $30 USD – available August 25, 2008