The bar cart in our home served a couple of purposes: a decorative piece and a fully functional bar. The vintage brass detailing is a great touch to modern meets vintage aesthetic and because we entertain a lot, our bar cart is stocked to capacity to keep our parties flowing. Stocking a bar cart does not happen overnight, but it’s good to know what are the essentials so you can slowly work through the list. As every couple and household is different, these are my essentials and tips on how to stock a bar cart. Feel free to buy up the list, or use my recommendations to sample something new and build your bar based on your palate and needs.
I like to have at least one bottle of the most popular alcoholic beverages on hand. I generally keep several stored in our credenza since we entertain often. The standard six, as I like to call them, can be served on their own or the base for a mixed cocktail. I’ve included Alan and my favorite brands from the standard six. We got to our favorites by experimenting at restaurants, specialty bars, and our friends’ parties. Luckily for me, my best friend Meri is a scotch and whiskey connoisseur and loves to treat us to tastings whenever the opportunity arises.
If you’ve ever visited a larger distributor such as BevMo then you’ve seen the endless rows of mixers. There may be hundreds, but the essentials are what I’ve included here. Sure you can drink Campari on the rocks, but I find that it’s the perfect add-on to a glass of champagne, while ginger beer is great for moscow mules and a mocktails (you have to remember to have options for the designated driver).
To be a great bartender, you need some basic tools to help you craft speciality cocktails. Most stores such as Crate & Barrel offer a bar kit, which is great starting point. However, the long spoon/mixer and muddler are generally not included so you will need to get those separately. Alan and I also prefer to mix drinks in a tin shaker and glass as opposed to the traditional martini shaker.
Finally, you need some stellar glassware. I recommend 6 of each: old-fashioned, highballer, and coupes that double for martinis and champagne.