Easily entertain at home with a stocked bar cart! At a moment’s notice, you’ll be able to host friends and provide them with a relaxing environment and a nice cold cocktail. Putting together a bar cart is easier than you might think! Here are my tips for stocking your mobile bar.
If you are not much of a drinker and want to build a basic bar setup, you can’t go wrong with these spirits:
Tequila (a nice enough one for shots or sipping on ice)
Add a bottle of bitters, for depth of flavor and finishing off some classic cocktail recipes and you’re all set. With these liquors, you can create a variety of basic drinks like Gin & Tonic, Vodka & Soda, Vodka or Gin Martini, Skinny Margaritas. And if you are looking for a little tipple to sip while waiting for your guests to arrive, try out Bitters and Soda. It’s just what the doctor ordered.
I always like to make sure to have the basic mixers on hand. Not only are they perfect for mixing classic cocktails, but also they are also non-alcoholic in case not everyone wants to drink. Tonic water, club soda and ginger ale are a must for any bar cart. I prefer to buy the single serving size bottles, since they will keep for quite a while, if you don’t end up using all of them during your get together.
Never sip on an empty stomach! Keep easy, delicious and, sometimes, nostalgic snacks on hand to give your guests something to nibble on. Simply grab a small bowl and set out around the bar area in your home.
At the very least, you’ll need fresh citrus juice for the cocktail recipes and garnishes. Don’t forget some savory garnishes for the martinis like olives.
While it can’t really be stocked on the bar in advance, adding a selection of juices, like cranberry and grapefruit, makes the list of cocktails you can make even longer.
While you may not use all of these all the time, they are low in cost and definitely something you should have on hand for a fully functional bar.
(Starting from the jigger and working clockwise):
Jigger: An easy measuring tool that keeps your cocktail recipes accurate and balanced.
Glass pitcher: Perfect for making multiple cocktails at once, holding a premade cocktail for easy serving or for holding any juice you want to have available for your guests.
Cocktail shaker: The perfect way to mix cocktails. A cocktail shaker helps to chill them and, usually, strain them as you pour into a serving glass.
Ice bucket: A small ice bucket is perfect for keeping ice readily available on the bar cart.
Small cutting board: Needed for the fresh citrus that makes your cocktails extra tasty.
Strainer: This more advanced strainer is helpful when you are muddling drinks and end up with large pieces that you don’t want in your final cocktail.
Pairing knife: For cutting citrus and garnishes.
Bar spoon: A long bar spoon is a must for the cocktails that shouldn’t be shaken, only stirred.
Ice tongs: Keep your ice fresh by using ice tongs.
Muddler: A muddler is perfect for releasing flavor from citrus, fruit, and herbs used in cocktail making.
Citrus squeezer: A citrus squeezer juices limes and lemons really fast and efficiently.
If you are just starting out with a bar cart, stick to the basics in terms of glassware. A small set of low-ball glasses, highball glasses and martini glasses (I went with stemless because they are a little bit more modern) are all you need right off the bat.
Add in specialty glasses, like copper mugs, champagne coups and decorative glasses if you have the room!
To round out the bar cart supplies, I like to keep sparkling water (for recipes or drinking straight), iced tea, ginger beer (a bigger kick than ginger ale!) and a bottle of my favorite wine in case my guests would rather enjoy a glass of rose instead of a cocktail.
A decorative towel also keeps things looking great and practical if there are minor spills or you need to dry your hands.
Now that you’ve made the perfect drink, you can dress it up. If you have the room on your bar cart, you should always have a nice selection of cocktail napkins, bright mini straws, regular straws and plastic cocktail stirrers.
Sharon Garofalow of the blog Cupcakes and Cutlery
Based in Southern California, I am the mom to two amazing little boys and married to the raddest man in all the land. Cupcakes and Cutlery is your resource for simple solutions to help you be an awesome wife and mother and not lose yourself in the process.