Raising the Bar With Abigail Ahern

'Tis the season of merrymaking -- and more specifically, cocktail making! Like us, celebrated British interior designer Abigail Ahern also has mixology on the brain: the designer wrote yesterday about setting up an at-home bar on her blog, sharing a refreshing perspective on the much-covered subject. "If you want to take it to the next level," Ahern says, "have stuff on the bar like a lamp or a painting." The designer also recommends accessorizing with, "a big bunch of blooms, a lamp, a mirror, a piece of art, or something that makes your bar less functional and softens it."
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Bar carts are all the rage these days, and of course, a built-in bar is always nice, but both can cost a pretty penny. We were relieved by Ahern's low-maintenance advice, "Oh, and by the way, you don't need a bar, per se. A trolley, some old table, or a shelf: anything will do." On the subject of what constitutes a bar, she says, "some people go for the real McCoy, while others like moi turn any old table into one." Now that we've got the styling down, it's time to learn what barware, liquor, and mixers to shop for: head to Ahern's blog for a handy shopping guide. Photograph: Todd SelbyGraham Atkins-Hughes