Entertaining Notes - featuring Ashley Meyer of The Bar Cartist

The Bar Cartist Founders Pop-Up Shop
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Born and raised in Dallas, Ashley Meyer Garrett lives with her husband, Jordan, and precious pup, Lady, in East Dallas. Ashley works together with Jared to run The Bar Cartist - their online shop for all things home-bar related. The Bar Cartist features a curated selection of bar products made by specialist designers and helps people to have the home-bar cocktail experiences that they've always wanted. Ashley loves all things champagne and travel related…and Tex-Mex cuisine.

My grandmother, Martha Duval, has had the greatest influence on my entertaining style. Martha passed away when I was very young but she was such a gracious hostess and had a gift for entertaining. Her home was impeccable and her tastes were classic. Her love for entertaining was passed down, through my mother, to me. My most treasured Duval heirloom is my ability to throw a lovely soiree, party or dinner for those I love.

The Bar Cartist was born out of necessity - that is, if you consider a great cocktail a necessity. We certainly do! My husband and I got the idea to create the shop during our wedding planning process a few years ago. When registering for our gifts, we couldn't find the home-bar items that we wanted to buy all in one place. At that time, my husband Jordan was trying to figure out how to make his dream of entrepreneurship a reality. When Jordan pitched the idea of The Bar Cartist to me, I was sold; it felt so natural - like an extension of ourselves and our love for well-crafted drinks.

Our business developed to become an online shop stocking just about everything that an aspiring mixologist might need for at-home cocktail making. We carry conventional bar items, like basic jiggers, but our passion is for presenting the products of artisanal designers. Jordan and I scope out the coolest, most-talented artists making bar products and we feature them in our store. These are the sorts of products that can personalize your bar cart.

My work with The Bar Cartist has provided the opportunity to entertain in the way that I’ve always imagined that I could, but hadn't previously been able. Through my work I’m exposed to a bounty of creative ideas and recipes, and I now have the confidence to realize them in exciting new ways. It's a thrill to have access to some killer inventory! I'm never far from the perfect glass for a special occasion.

If I had to give just one tip for hosting a great party I would emphasize quality over quantity. Don't go overboard with crazy details, or a menu so elaborate that you can't enjoy yourself nor leave the kitchen. Parties are made to be enjoyed - enjoy them! Select simple, elegant elements and you can't go wrong. When the hostess is having a good time, everybody’s having a good time.

Although you are most likely to find me with a glass of good champagne, my signature cocktail is the Juliet and Romeo. This lovely gin-based concoction came into my life during a visit to the Cedars Social in Dallas (although it was created by a mixologist at The Violet Hour in Chicago). I loved the drink so much that I taught myself to make it and have impressed guests with it on numerous occasions.

As for essential ingredients, we always make sure that we have everything that we need to make an Old Fashioned, and we always have plenty of chilled champagne. For tools, we make sure that we have a mixing glass, mixing spoon, jigger and some large ice molds. Additionally, I always keep a pair of beautiful crystal rocks glasses on the bar cart. These glasses are so lovely that even a glass of water feels refined when served in them; they elevate the experience every time.

My favorite music for entertaining is from the 60's and 70's, such as our Cocktail Hour playlist; well-loved classics that set the tone for having a great time.

My most interesting parties have been the ones that included the people I love. I loved throwing my sister’s Bridal Sleepover Cocktail Party. Part bachelorette party, part sleep over - it was a super-fun night hanging in our pajamas and drinking cocktails. We played Pin-the-Kiss-on-the-Groom, listened to music, ate way too much food and celebrated one of my favorite people. Eventually, we all fell asleep under a tent that I made from sheets and string-lights in the living room. It was perfect!

My favorite way to enjoy Chopin Vodka is with friends and family - the best way to enjoy any spirit! Although I’ll also take it in a Moscow Mule, if you don't mind!