If we’ve learned one thing from Lockdown Part 1, Lockdown The Sequel and Lockdown: This Time It’s Personal, it’s that the nation is refusing to let their love for pubs go. And rightfully so.
But since we can’t go to the pub quite yet, our research shows that the indefatigable British public have decided to bring the pub to them, making garden bars 2021’s biggest trend.
In fact, since March 2020, search volume for ‘home bar’ has skyrocketed 106%, with an average of 14,000 monthly searches - more than double the 6,800 monthly searches at the start of 2020.
On top of that, search interest for ‘home bar ideas UK’ is up by 5,000%. Plus, brand new searches such as ‘how to make a garden bar out of pallets’ and ‘how to build a garden bar’ have both emerged as people get ready to socialise with six people or two households come 29th March.
In classic 2021 style, we aren’t doing this privately. We’re boasting our designs all over social media. Instagram is now home to 77,000 posts for #gardenbar and 617,000 posts for #homebar.
Want to make that 617,001? Well, our in-house expert and NOVELTEA co-founder Vincent Efferoth offers his advice on how to get started:
Choose your dream design
“If garden bars are one thing, they’re versatile,” explains Vincent. “You can design your own according to your exact requirements. While you might want to incorporate your personal style or favourite trends, practicality needs to be a primary consideration.”
For rainy locations
“Let’s face it; British weather is unpredictable.” Vincent offers, “To get the most use from your garden bar, it’s wise to choose a covered option, whether that’s a converted shed with a serving hatch or a gazebo-bar hybrid.”
Credit: @therangeuk on Instagram
For sunny locations
“If you live somewhere that sees a lot of sun, bring your favourite holiday location to you with an exotic tiki bar.” Vincent adds: “Stock up on carved out pineapples and serve up a menu of tropical cocktails.”
“Ice is a staple for keeping drinks cool in the sun too,” explains Vincent. “Make sure to keep your stocks high to prevent running out at your garden party.”
For north and east-facing gardens
“If you’ve got a north or east-facing garden, you might find it lacks sunshine in the afternoon. If that’s the case, try opting for a cover-free garden bar to take advantage of as much sunlight as you can.”
“As things cool down, be prepared with a patio heater, fire pit or chiminea. How about adding a basket of blankets too? As well proving a powerful companion when you get cold, the soft furnishings will also add a lovely, modern touch to your garden.”
“Another great tip,” Vincent adds, “have friends over for brunch to get the most of the morning sun!”
For south and west-facing gardens
“Typically seen as the dream gardens for the amount of afternoon sunlight they get, south and west-facing gardens are the perfect setting for maintaining direct-sun plants. In which case, furnish your garden bar with beautiful horticulture (just make sure to pick up some citronella candles to keep the wasps away).
Consider a beautiful open setting, with a large parasol you can break out to keep all guests shaded when that midday sun gets a little too hot.”
For smaller gardens
“If you’re worried about how to fit a bar in a smaller garden, fear not. A compact wooden bar fits great into small spaces. Build some shelves on the inside to store your glasses, fit a spirit dispenser to the back wall (great for saving space and giving a real sleek look) and set up a couple of bar stools on the other side.”
Credit: @svtimberlimited on Instagram
Set the mood
With garden parties often going on late into the evening, Vincent insists that, “Good lighting can take the design and feel of your garden bar to the next level. LED strips that sync with music, rope lights tucked under the shelves, or under-cabinet lighting, can all enhance the overall aesthetic and add a unique character and vibe to your garden bar.”
Get the right equipment
“Do not underestimate the importance of using accurate proportions, as they can make or break a cocktail,” claims Vincent. “A dual measure cup jigger (25cl/50cl) is a versatile solution to help you eliminate any guesswork and ensure that you are consistently nailing the perfect serve.”
Brits are clearly in the market for garden bar supplies too. Since last March, search interest has climbed 269% for ‘bar stools’ while ‘garden bar furniture’ is up 400% and ‘home bar accessories’ is up 136%.
Establish a signature cocktail
“The sheer number of cocktails available and their unique complexities can be intimidating to anyone thinking of setting up a garden bar,” explains Vincent. “Mastering a signature cocktail will help you simplify things, from the stocking of mixers and ingredients to eliminating the pressure of having to play bartender”
You can never go wrong with a classic crowd pleaser, so to help get you started here’s a few ideas… (to stay in the spirit, each recipe serves six)
300ml White rum
Soda water, to top
Few handfuls of fresh mint leaves, torn
6 fresh lime
6 tsp white sugar
- To six tall, ice-filled glasses add your mint, sugar, the juice of your lime and mix
- Stir in your rum
- Top with soda water and serve
360ml Silver tequila
180ml Orange liqueur
6 fresh lime plus 6 lime wedges
- In a cocktail shaker, add your tequila, orange liqueur and the juice of your lime then shake
- Run your lime wedges around the rim of your margarita glasses
- Dip the glasses into your coarse salt and fill the glasses with ice
- Transfer your mix to your glasses and serve
150ml Orange liqueur
210ml Cranberry juice
6 fresh limes
6 orange peels
- Fill your cocktail shaker with ice and add in all the liquid ingredients, plus the juice of the limes
- Shake and strain into six martini glasses
- Serve with your orange peel
75ml fresh lemon juice
6 teaspoons of apricot jam
6 lemon slices
- In a cocktail shaker, shake all the ingredients with ice
- Double strain into six martini glasses
- Garnish the glasses with a lemon slice
Stock up on fresh fruit
A versatile addition to any cocktail connoisseur’s collection, Vincent advises stocking up on fresh fruit such as oranges and lemons (preferably unwaxed).
He says: “Extracting juice from fresh fruit to use as an ingredient for your home-made cocktails can make a huge difference in taste. You can also use the fresh fruit for a range of garnishes”.
Don’t forget the vegans
Alcohol can act as an unexpected enemy of the vegan community. Vincent’s pro tip is to “have a vegan option to avoid the risk of any of your guests feeling left out due to their dietary requirements”.
Need some vegan inspiration? How about a Moroccan Mint Fizz - a zingy tipple that’s made with our very own NOVELTEA Tale of Moroccan Mint?
50ml Tale of Moroccan Mint
12.5ml Elderflower liqueur
12.5ml Fresh lime juice
Prosecco, to top
- Shake with ice
- Double strain into a chilled glass
- Top with Prosecco
- Garnish with lime
Have we given you a taste for mixology? Explore some more of our vegan cocktail recipes.
Whether you’re inspired to do a full room transformation, or simply Googling what a ‘jigger’ is, we hope our tips help you make lockdown a little more exciting. Once your home bar is ready to go, take a look at our delicious range of beverages to help you serve up a storm.