EVERY YEAR—AND WE MEAN, Every Year—we anticipate the festive period with unbridled excitement. For us, it’s the calendar’s most joyous time, one that finds us gathered en famille—and with trusted friends—around indulgently dressed tables that groan with imaginatively prepared gastronomy. Laughter and tears, typically speaking, drench the scene as we reflect on what has been, and what (we hope) is still to come as a new year prepares to dawn. Ah, that glorious anticipation.
But our party-planning prowess doesn’t stop at food and table-scapes. Dinner at Ryan McAllister Towers, you see, amounts to much more than the summonsing of Bacchanalian spirit: it’s an observation in the masterful art of cocktail making, each tincture deftly composed with skills akin to John Hamm on the set of Mad Men.
Indeed, a mixed drink crafted at—or a Champagne coupe poured from—our heavily laden drinks station affords the opportunity to step back in time, each libation poured to conjure the essence of days gone by. And, of course we love our accoutrements: you know, all those gadgets and gizmos that transform the theatre of mixology into a veritable art form. Here are some festive gems to kick things off…
BLUSHING FOR BUBBLY
Ensure every sip of Champagne is a celebration by serving up bubbles in this beautiful set of six flutes with matching ice bucket. Mouth-blown by skilled artisans, weighty stems and thick bases feel good in the hand, whilst the blush pink tint of the glass—inspired by rosé Champagne—will ensure your guests remain well and truly in the pink. Moya Serving Set in blush by LSA International, $408; amara.com
Bar carts are all very well, but seriously stylish imbibers, this year, are taking liquor storage to the next level by specifying bar furniture. We like our cocktails to boast a decadent, heady scent of the past, and this incredible piece conjures images of Singapore slings at Raffles, or an old fashioned muddled at the Waldorf Astoria. Avalon rattan bar, $1,399 from CB2; cb2.ca
Designer Jonathan Adler is an undisputed master when it comes to creating whimsical home accessories, so his smart barware set is sure to raise a smile whenever ‘flexed’. Fashioned from cast brass with a marble base, it includes everything you need to serve the perfect drink: from ice tongs to a jigger, each piece is literally a grabbing hand reaching for the barbell. Hey, dare you beat your personal best this holiday season? Barbell Barware Set, $385 by Jonathan Adler at Amara; amara.com
These blood red glasses aren’t only generous drinking vessels, they’re fistfuls of Versace glamour, courtesy of bold colour notes and embellished bases that feature a 3D Medusa, ‘locked’ under two layers of crystal, which allude to the Gorgon’s petrifying gaze. If you see yourself as a bourbon swilling Lady Gaga, these are the glasses for you… Medusa Lumière whisky glasses by Versace Home, $310; versace.com
A PERFECT PRESENT
Get your ‘rewind’ on (and embrace the ’80s) with this limited edition Veuve Clicquot Brut presentation bottle. Housed in a chic, retro cassette style box, it’d make the perfect gift. And the fun continues: as you’re enjoying the fragrant, creamy Champagne, scan the QR code (at the back of the pack) to access Veuve Clicquot Spotify playlists, including the “So Retro” option. Come on now: isn’t it time to release your inner Rick Astley? Veuve Clicquot Gift Retro Tape Metal Box, $77.50 from LCBO; lcbo.com
Inspired by the classic Leopold Jigger from the 1930s, this golden-hued instrument sparkles like an indulgent jewel. What’s more, it’s super practical thanks to interior markings that denote proportional measures. A perfect mix, as we see it, of useful and beautiful, it’d serve as an ideal addition to any self-respecting home bar. Leopold jigger gold, $56.95 from The Modern Bartender; themodernbartender.com
REACH FOR A RECIPE
Featuring 50 signature cocktails from the world’s most iconic hotel bars, the recipes herein are sure to appeal to avid martini lovers and pioneering taste explorers alike. Boasting tried and tested old favourites and new ‘rock star’ variants (backed with anecdotes supplied by bar tenders) the stories of each concoction are as potent as the drinks they accompany. Behind The Bar: 50 Cocktail Recipes From The World’s Most Iconic Hotels by Alia Akkam, $28.99 from Cocktail Emporium; cocktailemporium.com
COCKTAIL CLUB STYLE
Create the perfect gathering place with this effortlessly cool dining set up. The striking table boasts a discreet leaf section that allows it to transform, as required, from round bar style to oval dining, depending upon guest quotient. The combo of brown leather and black oak suffuse the set with undeniable perceived pedigree. Granada table, $5,649 and Lausanne brown leather chairs, $1,529, both from Bo Concept; boconcept.com
SERIOUS ABOUT CHAMPAGNE
This modern interpretation of a sabre, designed in Denmark by Karina Mencke and Marcus Vagnby, merges blade, grip and guard into a perfect sequence of bright, stainless steel. To successfully sabre, follow the bottle’s molding seam, and let the ergonomically balanced tool slide to render your favourite fizz open and ready to pour. Just think: with one strike (bottle) heads will roll… Champagne Sabre by Vagnbys, $220, available at Holt Renfrew; holtrenfrew.com
Interior designers, style commentators, celebrity interviewers and lifestyle gurus COLIN MCALLISTER and JUSTIN RYAN split their time between Toronto, Haliburton and Glasgow. You may know them as hosts of Cabin Pressure (Cottage Life) judges on Game of Homes (W Network and Discovery Family) or experts on Cityline (City TV). Their eponymous decor line C+J Home is available at Homesense and Marshalls. Catch their latest program Great Canadian Cottages on Cottage Life.