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To all in­tents and pur­poses, the cock­tail cab­i­net is a hid­den bar; you might not even know its pur­pose un­til 6pm comes around. This dis­cre­tion is not ac­ci­den­tal: a cock­tail cab­i­net has its ori­gins in a sturdy piece of fur­ni­ture in which well-heeled Vic­to­ri­ans could lock their pre­cious booze away, some with a spe­cial com­part­ment for a block of ice to chill cham­pagne.

Art-deco cab­i­nets were sim­i­larly for the wealthy, but af­ter the Sec­ond World War the look changed to Scan­di­na­vian de­signs with clean lines in bare wood, glass, me­tal and plas­tic. Prices for the top de­signs have in­creased dra­mat­i­cally in re­cent years, but you can still find bar­gains. And of course, any side­board or cab­i­net tall enough to hold bot­tles can be re­pur­posed.

If you lack space for a home bar or cab­i­net, there is al­ways the drinks tray, but if you want a bit of the­atre, you re­ally need a drinks trol­ley. Ask your­self if you need it to hold all your liquor, or if you will just be us­ing it to en­ter­tain. Fin­nish de­signer Al­var Aalto’s, in stripped wood and lam­i­nate, is per­fect for mod­ernists; and Ar­te­ri­ors sells glam­orous me­tal­lic ver­sions.

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