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Happy Friday (also a DIY Gin and Tonic bar)


Listen. It’s a Friday in August. I’ve been traveling and lot and working more than usual. Saying how busy you are is such an annoying conversation, I realize, but maybe this will give you a peek into my brain: Elliot, for one second reached back towards Sylvia when I surprised her at her playdate, after I got back from my trip. I think things were just out of context and she was more confused than rejecting me. Instead of writing the 19 posts I need to, I’m going to make my baby stare, giggle, hug and kiss me all night. I snagged her today and she spent the day strapped to me on set while I styled which she and charlie have always really liked .. so I feel better, certainly, but babies take a little bit of time to make shifts back sometimes. The good news is that because I was gone she is more smitten with Brian than ever – with giggles previously reserved for me or now showered on him. Watching that relationship grow is pretty amazing. but I want them back …. 


To celebrate the fact that I’m taking some time for myself Amanda and Andrea are going to show you how to create a fun Gin and tonic bar. I really, really like the concept of this party but wasn’t going to run this story because it looked too much like a Hendricks Gin ad (and it’s not) but, I think the photos and styling are so pretty so its a real shame to never run this. It’s a summer Friday, so if Gin is your thing then maybe this post will be, too.

Easy Entertaining DIY Bar Emily Henderson Design cocktail-bar1


Keep things simple by choosing a classic base for your drink that your guests can customize from there. Gin & Tonics are always a good choice, especially for summer, plus there are so many ways to change it up with different ingredients.

To make it super easy for your guests, combine the Gin and tonic into a bottle ahead of time. Generally, a 1 to 3 ratio of Gin to tonic is a safe way to go. Then put out a few different juices for them to choose from to customize their own drinks, like blood orange and grapefruit juice (both of which you can buy ahead of time). We used these simple carafes for our display.


Easy Entertaining DIY Bar Emily Henderson Design cocktail-bar2


Provide bowls of garnishes as well so your guests can get really creative. Cucumber is always a good choice for Gin & tonics as well as mint. You could also add some citrus like blood oranges, grapefruits, limes, etc.

Easy Entertaining DIY Bar Emily Henderson Design cocktail-bar3

Setup the glasses with the garnishes already in place for an easy way to make your display look more put together.

You can also provide some recipe ideas in case they need a little help. Try these yummy options:

Easy Entertaining DIY Bar Emily Henderson Design cocktail-bar4

Blood Orange Gin & Tonic:

– Start with some ice in your glass, then pour ¾ of your glass full of the gin & tonic mixture.
– Add a splash (2 ounces) of blood orange juice.
– If you want to get fancy, add just a drop or two of orange bitters.
– Garnish with a slice of blood orange and you’re done!

Easy Entertaining DIY Bar Emily Henderson Design cocktail-bar5

Cucumber Mint Gin & Tonic

– Start with some ice in your glass, then pour the gin & tonic mixture in, leaving just a bit of room at the top.
– Squeeze in just a slice or two of lime juice to fill up the rest of the glass.
– Add 3-4 cucumber slices and a sprig of mint.
– Garnish with a slice of lime or cucumber.

Easy Entertaining DIY Bar Emily Henderson Design cocktail-bar6

Easy Entertaining DIY Bar Emily Henderson Design cocktail-bar7

Well folks, cheers to the weekend! TGIF.

Creative Direction & Photography by: Andrea Posadas,  Styling & Story by: Amanda Holstein

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6 years ago

This looks so nice and refreshing! Happy Friday to you too ♥

6 years ago

Aaaaahhhhh, I want those glasses! I want! I want!

6 years ago

Love those wine glasses! But the link isn’t working, can you resend?

6 years ago
Reply to  Sarah

Cheers, Sarah!

6 years ago

Beautiful pictures and the drink recipes look delicious!

6 years ago

Gin and mint tonight…. but I am there with you on the kids things….I work full time and husband is home during the summers and the primary care giver. The kids call me Dad at times, and they’re 6 and 8.

It was a choice and conscious decision for me to let him be fully responsible and stop trying to be the mom boss I-know-best type. I try to believe that I offer something slightly different than that more traditional role. I think that’s right. Also, it’s how our family works, so I work to embrace it most days.

6 years ago

You literally read my mind with this post. I was just google searching gin cocktail ideas and then came to your blog and found these delicious recipes. Thank you!!! Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

6 years ago

Emily, you are amazing how much you give, I don’t know if you are aware how awesome it is to wake up to your generous posts, your blogs are over the top content and personality rich.

May I make a suggestion and feel free to totally disregard the unsolicited advice. I know I adore you and I suspect the rest of your audience does too. I would vote you give yourself a “peony day” every month or whenever you wake up and just need it, which is code that you are needing to go off and: collapse, having a fully deserved day to yourself or with your love ones. Stick up a picture of a peony for us with some hugs and kisses. I for one would send you pictures of peonies to put up as I am sure the others would too, to encourage you to take a breath now and again, as this blog of yours is a full on magnificent marathon, not a sprint.
Hope you had a wonderful day with Elliot and weekend to come.

6 years ago
Reply to  Gabrielle

Ha. I love that idea. and I see it throughout blog-world. Maybe I will 🙂 its hard because since i have a staff I feel like i have less excuse to just say ‘eh, i’m tired’ or ‘sorry guys, i’m busy’. I think at least someone might like this or that its good for google search … but yes, thank you for the suggestion. I think you are right. xx

6 years ago
Reply to  Gabrielle

What a lovely idea.

I worked full time for a year while my husband stayed at home with our three children. It was for the greater good of our family, it allowed us to secure a home loan and enjoy secure (even if not highly paid) employment. But it was difficult and at times heartbreaking. If you want/need a peony day it would make me happy to see a pretty flower and know what a day off would mean to you.

I heard something yesterday that has stayed with me…”all good without the bad ain’t all that good”. Full disclosure – it was in a Will Ferrel movie! But I still thought it was quite profound 🙂

6 years ago

I am very curious about all of this and want to learn more…
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6 years ago
6 years ago

Great suggestions! There is a Gin and Tonic garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in London that this reminds me of 🙂

As a side note, I find these photos to be lovely but so overexposed and bleached out that I can barely see white or cream colored objects like the cute ice bucket (I’m guess it’s ceramic?). I know this style of photography is an aesthetic choice, but at this point it is somewhat getting in the way of my appreciation or your staging and the objects themselves. I also noticed this in another post where it was difficult to see where the plates, marble platters, cups, and napkins started and left off:

I love the care and attention put into the topics on the blog as well as the styling- I love checking the blog every day to see what’s new! Thank you all for doing what you do 🙂

It is tempting drinks and I really would like to have one of these now

6 years ago

Ohhh, yes, that pang and heart-sink feeling when your child reaches for someone else. I know that feeling!

Thank you for all you do!

6 years ago

DIY Gin and Tonic bar? Um, yes.

Also it was so great meeting you last week at the HGTV blogger block party!

6 years ago

Great one, I bet they taste really satisfying!

Lori S H
6 years ago

We have recently been having gin and tonics inspired by a recipe at Sable Bar in Chicago-we use large grapefruit peel to line the bottom of a large globed glass, fresh mint leaves, Fever Tree Mediterranean water, and Hendricks Gin-muddle the grapefruit and mint leaves add tonic and gin. Voila! Delicious and refreshing.

I appreciate everything you have added to my knowledge base.. great post . Thanks for share with us ..

6 years ago

Very good brief and this post helped me a lot. Say thank you I searching for your facts. Continuous it..

Ankita Sharma
6 years ago

I like that a awesome blog and say thanks for that amazing blog
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