How I created a cocktail cabinet

I am not sure why I became obsessed with having a cocktail cabinet. Perhaps it is because they are so stylish and sophisticated and having one would make me feel the same! Hmm! appears I am still waiting!. My dream is to have a beautiful metal and glass cocktail trolley, just like the one below, now that's class that, right there!. 

Picture Credit from

Picture Credit from


Last Christmas my husband and I hosted our family. As Christmas is celebration time and summertime (yes it's Summer in Southern hemisphere at Christmas) I felt this was the perfect opportunity to create my first cocktail trolley. Now my dream was to have a beautiful cocktail trolley, however that will have to wait until the full kitchen renovations. So as with most things at present, I had to do this on a budget, ideally use as many things as possible that I already had at home. You know the old "shopping my home".

As I did not have a gorgeous trolley, I found an alternate, an old shelf that was not being used. So a Cocktail Cabinet it had to be. The shelf really needed a complete repaint and upcycle. However as I was feeling a wee bit lazy and pressed for time I figured that I would just clean it up and use it as is. Any major scratches and dents were going to be easily covered by the bottles and accessories so I ain't bovvered!!!! (you have to be Catherine Tate fans to get that reference)

"Shopping the house" only got me so much. I realised that I actually did not have a lot of other items that would be useful for the cabinet, so this meant that I needed source elsewhere. So I made a list of the items I needed;

  • Cocktail glasses
  • Crystal decanter
  • Wine cooler/ice bucket
  • Silver tray
  • Decorative accessory
  • Something to house the bottles
  • Cocktail shaker 

I did have crystal tumblers that are good for whiskey, GnT's, Rum and cokes however we did need actual cocktail glasses. 

Now, some of my readers would know that I am a keen op shopper/hospice shopper/second hand shopper/thrifter, whatever you call it. I have been for years and never fail to find some real treasures. I gave myself a challenge to get all the items from the local Hospice shops. I am lucky, here on the North Shore in Auckland, we have these great shops run by the North Shore Hospice .Their shops have great selection of goods, fantastic quality and bargain pricing. 

It took me a few months to collect the items, but hey good things take time!. The first item I found was a lovely wee pot holder, I think it was for a teapot. This I planned to use as part the accessories, thinking that I might but a nice flower vase on it or candle. I actually ended up putting this fun gold coloured Pineapple, which I got at the specials bin at The Warehouse for $5, on it. I just thought it made the desk cocktail cabinet accessory.


After much poking around I eventually found the right sized silver tray. I wanted to put the glasses and decanter on to a tray. As a hint, if you are after a specific item for an area always make sure that you know the measurements. It's a complete waste of money getting something that will not work in the area you want.   I also couldn't believe my luck when I came across this gorgeous little decanter, I just love love love it!!!


How gorgeous are these glasses. My super stylely Fashion designer sister Helen Ryan and awesome Mum gave me these glasses for Christmas. Best of all they got them from the local Hospice Shop..boom.  I just adore them, and they are lovely to drink out of, especially when full with a Brandy Alexandra.

Another gem of a find was the ice bucket or wine cooler it was just perfect and sits next to the Cocktail shaker which I have had for a while. Actually I brought that Cocktail shaker sometime ago, knowing that I was going to set up a cabinet at some point. 


The biggest challenge was the housing of the collection of bottles of alcohol and mixers.  I initially just placed them on the shelves in the cabinet, but I never really liked that and to me it was a bit cluttered looking and not very stylish. Any way it just had to do.......until I walked past an old 80's cane wine rack.  It was like, OMG that's perfect, so I nabbed it before anyone else swooped on it, Cane is really really popular at the moment and it does not sit around long any Hospice shop. 

I took out the middle shelf and just placed the cane rack in the could not have been a better fit! And it houses all the bottles, with a few placed on the sides. 


I am so pleased with how all the items came together and nothing cost more than $5 an item. Although from memory the decanter was $8 or something like that. However I have to confess that I did end up buying something new, that being the New Zealand Birds wall hanging, I thought it rounded off the whole look so well.  That's it folks my cocktail cabinet on a budget. 


We have enjoyed many a night enjoying the occasional cocktail and even our son has been handed on the skill of cocktail making by his Dad.  

As spring and summer is slowly making its way around the corner, maybe you could start to create your own drinks cabinet. 

What's your favourite cocktail?

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