top of page

Trend of the Season: Vintage Cocktail- & Barware

Well, let's be honest - any barware will do, but vintage and antique barware is just so darn delightful.

Because, who doesn't love a good cocktail or mocktail? Especially when making it and drinking it becomes an entire experience in itself.

- Hang on 'till the end for a Rolighed Scandinavian Antiques-favorite cocktail recipe!

Bringing back old customs

F. Scott Fitzgerald, the father of The Great Gatsby, put it so eloquently, when he romanticized cocktails in the words:

"Here’s to alcohol, the rose colored glasses of life."

And maybe the gist of that quote is the reason, the cocktail, and mocktail trend is on its way back - our tumultuous world could use a little rosiness.

What most people need are some covid-19 appropriate activities. Private parties for the family while lockdown is still happening, and post-corona gatherings when the restrictions are lifted slightly, all perfect for some home cocktail-making.

The experience of making and serving cocktails, with the right ingredients and the right tools, can make any evening a little more enchanting - dare we say, even magical?

Bar carts are once again an essential in any stylish livingroom corner, adorned with a lavish selection of liquors side by side with ice buckets, cocktail shakers, and beautiful accessories. A setting just waiting to set the stage for fun memories.

Whatever the reason, cocktails and barware are making a great comeback in modern interior design, and thanks to all the decades and centuries that have passed, there are so many styles to choose from. There is certainly something for everyone!

Some of the most popular styles for cocktailware right now, are Art Deco and Art Nouveau pieces, Mid-Century Modern items, and Bohemian glassware. Many brands make reproductions, so original, vintage and antique pieces are in high demand.

A little history

Through the ages the way drinks and cocktails have been consumed has changed greatly - and with it, the barware used for the occasions. Marked by the times in which it was produced, the barware of the 1900s and its stories are both dramatic, fun and magical.

The Roaring 1920s & Art Deco Cocktails

For a lot of people the Great Gatsby is an instant association when thinking of fabulous parties and cocktails - with good reason.

Due to the prohibition's (1920-1933) backfire, parties and speakeasies took place in a manor and amount that no one had anticipated.

They got very good at keeping spirits high in spite of the ban, which is no doubt why some of the most impressive vintage, soon to be antique pieces of barware around are from the 1920s.

Some magnificent pieces were created, and some styles are easily compatible with modern designs of clean lines.

Many designs were made to disguise their true purpose, so as to avoid detection from the authorities.

The auction house Sotheby's recently held a rare auction on exactly such items, to 'celebrate' the 100 year anniversary of the prohibition, and the pieces in the auction were breathtaking.

Adoring Art Nouveau

Beautiful Art Nouveau Cocktail Shaker/Jug

Before the time of Art Deco, was the beautiful, romantic time of the Art Nouveau movement from the early 1900s to about the 1920s, and sometimes seen a little later also.

The barware was largely similar to the later Deco, but in the beginning, more pitcher-like shakers were popular. As the Art Deco times began, classic shakers became more of the standard tool.

Therefore the handled and spouted cocktail shakers are rarer to find today, and when you do, they are usually very beautiful and special.

Cocktail glasses of the Art Nouveau and Art Deco eras were mainly frail and dainty, as the ones on the right, but as the 1950s and 1960s brought a trend in drinking more straight vodka and scotch, low-ball tumblers with heavy glass bottoms became highly popular.

The Minimalistic Mid Century

The production of beautiful pieces continued in the 1950s and 1960s, though the style changed quite a lot. At this time, cocktails were no longer for only the highest social classes, but for everyone. This meant a surge of 'bar sets' for the home, making it easy for everyone to get in on the wave.

The materials for the designs changed as well - From mainly silver and silver plate, to just as much dark wood, brass and stainless steel with accents of leather and other more durable materials.

Naturally, though it became available to everyone, some designers still created highly luxurious, and more expensive Mid-Century Modern designs that are iconic and very collectible today.

Designers like Jens Harald Quistgaard, Carl Auböck, and Arne Jacobsen are very sought after today for their MCM designs.

Our Modern Style Invites Heritage Inside

It is inspiring how items made 50 to 150 years from today are just as relevant as they were the day they were first designed.

Just one piece can be the center of attention for any home bar, and it's certainly the time to seek out that one thing (or those things) that will elevate the cocktail-magic in your home.

Above: Bohemian Glass Decanter and Glasses available in the shop. Bohemian glassware is very en vogue right now, and a lot of new glass is produced in the style - so the original vintage pieces are sought after.

And something very important: If you have it, don't be afraid to use it! At Rolighed Scandinavian Antiques, we are firm believers in incorporating antique and vintage items into our daily routines - don't leave them on the shelf, use them and love them! #useyourantiques

If you don't already have some bits, we luckily have a very wonderful selection - ice buckets, cocktail shakers-mixers-pourers, and all the accessories you could want - No matter which era makes you dream.

We recommend: a good cocktail starter-set includes some type of shaker or mixer, a long cocktail spoon, a good corkscrew/bottle opener, and a classic jigger. Then you can achieve most classic cocktails.

The rest are just delightful accessories that make it even more enchanting.

Shop our entire selection of vintage and antique barware in the shop, here

A cocktail we love: Tom Collins, with a twist

We love making cocktails too, and in our family gin has been a favorite for a while.

The Tom Collins in a wonderful cocktail for anyone who loves a fresh drink in the summer heat - and it keeps the Art Deco vibe very alive, as you're sipping it.

Something great about the Tom Collins is that you can dress it up anyway you like - or have it just as the classic. Here's a suggestion for what we think is just delicious (not quite your regular Tom Collins):

  • 2 parts Gin (any kind will do, we like Bombay Sapphire or Chase Gin)

  • Mint leaves on the bottom for flavor (save a sprig for garnish)

  • 2-3 parts Sparking Water

  • 1/2 part Lemon juice or cordial/syrup TIP: if you're using lemon soda instead of sparkling water, you can skip the syrup.

  • 1/2 part Elderflower cordial/syrup.

    • if you're using lemon and sparking water: 1 teaspoon sugar (powdered dissolves faster)

  • Garnish with a lemon and some mint!

Mix/shake point 1+2+4 with ice cubes (+ the sugar if you're using it). Then add the rest afterwards, and give it all a nice stir. Pour - sip - enjoy.

Lest we forget the mocktailers - the fun does not have to include alcohol. Anything is shakeable (almost).

A fun non-alcoholic suggestion, which stands tall alongside the Tom Collins is this:

  • 2 parts Sparkling Water

  • 2 parts Apple juice (cloudy looks and tastes really nice)

  • 1 part Elderflower juice/cordial

  • 1 part Lemon juice

  • Mint leaves for flavor and garnish TIP: 'clap' the leaves to release the aroma

    • If you have cloudy/sparkly lemonade you can use that in place of lemon juice + sparkling water.

Mix it all together nicely, and add the sparkly things last. Then pour - sip - enjoy.

27 views0 comments


bottom of page