Ingredients: coconut rum + banana liqueur + blended frozen pineapple + coconut cream + ice
I decided to keep all of my citrus and ginger bags this year mainly because I couldn’t bear to toss them in the trash. I like to recycle, reuse, and repurpose as much as possible; so I decided to utilize all of my little mesh bags as Christmas wrapping this year.
I inherited the most interesting matchbook collection from my grandmother (my father’s mother). I had so much fun letting my fingers get stained with phosphorous while rifling through all of her matchbooks. It brought a smile to my face to put together in my mind a kind of travel journal, if you will, of many of the places my grandparents traveled together during the 40s and 50s in their youth. New York City, Virginia, Miami, New Orleans, and more… The Waldorf Astoria, The Peabody, The Biltmore… I know my grandparents couldn’t have afforded to stay any of these places, but they must have visited their bars and lobbies just for the thrill of it. What a rich story these modest matchbook covers told. There were also lots of local and regional examples from places of business long since gone. The Floridian Hotel, Luten’s (Quincy), The High Hat, Ben’s Black Cat Soda Fountain…
I also picked out a few of the vintage wine, beer, and liquor covers and put them in a separate small shadow box I picked up while thrifting.
Combined with my “When Life…” graphic poster, apothecary cabinet, and various vintage bar accessories, my little bar corner is just about complete.
In the details:
Thrifted: collapsible rolling bar cart, graphic placemats, vintage cut-glass liquor/soda dispenser, milk-glass ice dish, glass candy dish, cocktail spear set and holder
Gifted: unicorn wine opener, vintage “occupied Japan” ceramic devil-costumed children, black and white enamelware tray
Inherited: jigger, plastic party picks set (in glass candy dish), red bull (this was my husband’s grandmother’s; I love it because when my ma-in-law offered it to me, I already had a larger version in black that lives on the adjacent mantel that I inherited from my same grandmother that collected the matchbooks)
DIY: personal apothecary, “When Life Gives You…” graphic poster (I saw something similar online that I liked, but it was for a vodka tonic, and whisky is my poison of choice; so I created this one and had it printed. I put it in a vintage frame that I picked up at an estate sale.)
I put a bunch more of the remaining interesting matchbooks in an oversized brandy sniffer that I thrifted, but I still have half a box that I’m not even displaying! More fun to be had later, I suppose…
I’ve found myself fascinated by mixology, medicinal herbs and botanicals, and general alchemy for some time now and have been known to delve into such hippy-dippy leanings as to throw some angelica or ashwagandha root in my coffee, brew an herbal tea concoction with dandelion leaves, and make my own bitters. So, over the course of time I’ve managed to amass quite a few baggies of various herbs, leaves, and roots from our local herbalist depots. I decided it was high time that I made my very own apothecary! The word itself just gets me excited. Like there are endless possibilities in the medleys to be made and had from its keepings…
I began by saving small glass and plastic jars after their contents were spent, and instead of throwing them in the recycling bin I removed their labels (my favorite technique is to submerge and soak the jars in warm, soapy water for about 10-15 minutes, then rub the labels right off. Any labels that prove to be extra sticky, I take a metal scrubber to.) After allowing to dry thoroughly, I put uniform labels on each jar to inject some consistency. I used some Brides chalkboard stickers that I purchased at Michael’s.
I chose these stickers/labels so that I could interchange the contents of the jars. In some cases the labels wouldn’t remain “stuck”, so I used non-permanent adhesive glue dots to add a little extra stick’em.
Next, it was a matter of choosing where to place these beautiful bottles. We (my family) found a mini curio when cleaning out my grandparents’ backyard barn a few years ago. It has been sitting in my attic waiting patiently for a project such as this. So I pulled it out and gave it a look over. It had a lot of wear-and-tear on it, but I knew it would be absolutely perfect for my apothecary!
It also needed new glass for the door. I took the door off the hinges and took it to a local glassworks to have it fitted for new glass.
My mother also suggested having a piece cut for the top, which I thought was brilliant. So I cobbled together some watercolor paper (since it was the closest thing I had to tracing paper), and did my best to trace and cut out the shape of the glass I wanted cut. Both pieces only set me back about $30!
Next it was time to give the old, dusty piece a little TLC. I wasn’t interested in “restoring” this piece, but I did want to give it a little confidence. So I started with a full wipedown using a soft cloth lightly dampened with soapy water and then followed that with a detailing using Old English Scratch Cover for Dark Woods. It really made the piece shine and bought out the rich tones in the wood and embellishments.
Here she is styled with a few of my favorite vintage bar accessories: a milk glass ice dish in a Greek key-style metal stand (which I can now set atop it since it has a glass top), a candy dish with an unusual hand-holding-a-baton topper that I found in an antique store in Calvary, GA, and filled with a set of vintage plastic garnish spears, and a set of coordinated cocktail skewers and glass designation rings.