Bar carts have a bit of old-school glam that will work in any home. It’s a fun piece you can constantly restyle, whether you’re adding flowers or rearranging favorite items. We love how design duo Caitlin & Caitlin styled this bar cart with a large objet de décor on the bottom shelf and matching silver barware on top- including a vintage seltzer maker! You should think of a bar cart as a constantly changing display. But how should you stock a bar car for everyday use?
First up is the glassware. Professor Rue covered the history of cocktail glasses, which will acquaint you with the most common glasses. We recommend stocking the basics- wine glasses, lowball or rocks glasses, highball glasses, and coupes. Coupes will work for any cocktail served “up,” including martinis, and will also work for champagne. Don’t keep all of you glassware on the bar cart, but decorate it with the most commonly used- or the cutest!
Next, you’ll want to get the tools to make a drink properly. Martinis should be stirred, not shaken (shaking ‘bruises’ the gin), but a martini shaker is a necessity for many other drinks when you want to chill the cocktail before serving. You can select either a traditional shaker, which has a strainer in the top, or a Boston shaker, which has a metal top over a pint glass. If you select a Boston shaker, commonly used by bartenders, pick up a strainer as well. For martinis or drinks on the rocks, you’ll want a bar spoon to stir. As you learn how to make drinks, a jigger will help you measure the correct amount. If you enjoy a mojito, julep, or an old-fashioned, a muddler is required. We recommend a heavy wood option. These make up the core bar equipment, but we’d also add in a citrus juicer and peeler. And for a party, it’s helpful to have an ice bucket so you don’t have to run to the kitchen in the middle of making a drink.
When it comes to liquor, keep it simple. Don’t spend an entire paycheck stocking every type, just start with your preference and slowly add to it. If you’re having guests over, have at least one clear liquor (vodka or gin) and one brown liquor (pick among the whiskies- whiskey, bourbon, or scotch). Pick 2-3 classic cocktails and get the bitters or other ingredients necessary.
Now that you have the basics, take inspiration from Caitlin & Caitlin and think beyond the bar to find the perfect additions to your cart.