Editor’s note: Bar Boi is a new series on dapperQ created by our latest contributor, Seattle-based Mellina White Cusack. Bar Boi is a monthly piece that pairs a seasonal dapper outfit with a swag cocktail to match. Salud!
Keeping my look trendy and trying to keep on point is a big hobby of mine. I enjoy browsing fashion articles and magazines looking for the latest style for each season. I strive to be a dapperQ. However, after making this profound fashion decision, I immediately ran into a problem; my wallet. While most of us aspire to have the wardrobe of Brad Pitt, the cost quickly holds as a serious obstacle. Well made suits and blazers can put you back thousands, but there is another way. I’ve decided to keep my wardrobe looking fresh on the daily through accessories. I invested in a few high quality tailored suits and shoes, then put everything else into my accessories. And just like a good wardrobe needs a finished touch, so does your cocktail. A little extra effort to top that drink with a hand made garnish will upgrade any evening. The next time you are hosting a cocktail shindig, don’t forget the accessories.
Get Trendy with Ties
Nothing better sets the tone of your outfit than a tie. While bow ties are still gaining a rebirth in popularity, neck ties are still a mainstay to introduce some fresh looks for spring. Try a fun pattern like a plaid tie from Penguin, a casual chambray fabric from J. Crew, or capture a more vintage look with a woven tie from online store Gents Mode.
Show off your personality with cuff links
I don’t think there is a better cocktail party conversation starter than the cuff link. Not only does it add a little class to any suit, but you can also express whimsy and tell a story about yourself. As someone who enjoys classic games, I have made a collection of cuff links to match. My most recent purchase was a set of cuff links hand made from Scrabble game pieces. While vacationing with friends, I stumbled upon them in a little Bay Area shop called Modern Mouse. It was a delightful and unexpected surprise to find an accessory to add to the game collection. Whether you have a secret passion for super heroes, wild animals, or world travel, say it with a set of cuff links.
Look to family heirlooms for priceless additions
You’d be surprised the treasures sitting in the chest of drawers and closets of grandparents, great uncles and the like. Add a unique accessory by getting your hands on vintage family heirlooms. This gorgeous pocket watch was passed down from my wife’s great-grandfather. To put it simply, you can’t buy this kind of beauty- only inherit it.
Add a seasonal touch
The dapper revival means you can find hat pins, tie clips, lapel pins and more for any subject in the world. So why not use them to express the season or holiday? To celebrate a winter wedding, I scored a lapel pin of the classic stag via Gents Mode. When spring began to bloom, I found colorful hand made flower lapel pins on Amazon. And as summer boating season approaches, I’ll be ready with my nautical tie clip from J. Crew.
Garnish your cocktail
Now that you are ready to walk out the door fully, don’t forget to add the final and equally important accessory: your cocktail garnish. The sad truth is many local bars and house parties miss a simple way to make an excellent cocktail perfect. That’s with house made garnish. One of my home bar staples is the humble brandied cherry. Skip the bright artificially colored maraschino cherries in the jar and make your own. Not only will they taste 10 times better, but your guests will appreciate the little detail immensely.
The Northwest Old Fashioned with House Brandied Cherries
2 Ounces Rye Whiskey (we prefer Washington’s own Woodinville Whiskey Rye)
1 Sugar Cube
3 Dashes of Aromatic Bitters from Seattle’s Scrappy’s
3 Dashes of Orange Bitters from Seattle’s Scrappy’s
House Made Brandied Cherries (recipe Follows)
1- Place sugar cube, bitters in glass and muddle together
2- Fill glass with ice and whiskey. Stir.
3- Squeeze orange zest over glass to release aromatics4- Garnish with cherries
Finding fresh summer cherries in Northwest is an easy task, but for most folks I recommend buying high quality frozen pie cherries.
A mix of your favorite whole spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, cloves and cardamom
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup maraschino liqueur
1/2 cup brandy
1- Heat spices, sugar, liqueur and brandy in a sauce pan on medium until sugar is dissolved
2- Allow to cool completely. Stir in cherries.
3- Place in a mason jar and refrigerate overnight. They will last refrigerated for about a month.