A Girl’s Guide to Bar Cart Essentials

Let's face it, most of us enjoy getting a drink or two with friends at happy hours or at brunch on the weekends, but at times we may not be able to afford it or find the time to go out. With the busy schedules of us femmes, that glass of red vino can usually be the cure to a hectic day. So how do we balance your wallets and time while still enjoying a fun cocktail? It's time to invest in a bar cart! Whether you want to have a relaxed night at home with girlfriends/significant other or have a drink before you hit the town, here are a few necessary bar cart essentials to make your apartment the next hotspot in town!

The Acohol - Bar Cart Essentials

Because many cocktails require some main spirits, it’s good to have your basics of vodka, gin, whiskey, scotch and tequila for your bar cart. Don't be afraid to mix top shelf quality bottles with cheaper brands, depending on your budget. Aim for unique looking bottles and different shapes and sizes to add some personality and color to your cart, as well. Here are a few other essentials to add for extra special occasions:

  • Wines: Add a white or red wine onto your bar cart, depending on your preference. For the sophisticated drinker, a good wine will always be welcome (especially on Thursday nights while watching Scandal!).
  • Bubbly: Keep a bottle of champagne on hand for celebratory occasions! These too come dry, extra-dry, sweet, pretty sweet or sickly sweet. It’s all a matter of your taste. 
  • Liqueurs: Liqueurs like Pama Liqueur or St. Germain (French liqueur flavored with elderflowers) are also good to have on hand to add some truly unique flavor to say a margarita, martini or champagne cocktail.

The Tools - Bar Cart Essentials

The right tools, props, and glassware will make your bar cart much more pleasing to the eye. Your guests will also be excited to make their own drinks in the process, as everyone's inner bartender tends to come out in front of a beautiful supply of booze! You can find most of these essentials at stores like Marshalls, Home Goods, Wal Mart, and even at your local thrift store if you're looking for some vintage finds. Here are a few starter tools to add to your collection:

  • Glasses: V-shaped or rounded coupe glasses are ideal for serving up your martinis. Depending on what style you prefer, either shape is suitable! For your classic cocktails like gin and tonics, or a dark and stormy, stemless glasses and tumblers will do the trick. Make sure you also have champagne chutes for toasting and celebrating your special occasions.
  • Shaker: To make those fabulous martinis, you should invest in a shaker. These mix your ingredients seamlessly and keep the mix cool as it hits the glass.
  • Bottle Opener + Bottle Stopper: The worst situation to be in when it comes to drinking wine is well, not being able to open it! Make sure you always have a bottle opener and a bottle stopper. If you can’t finish that delicious wine you bought, extend its shelf life with a stopper. Enjoy it for about 2-3 days after.
  • Glass/Plastic Whiskey Stones & Muddler: For your classic cocktails like an Old Fashioned, chilled stones keep your cocktail cold and don't run the risk of a watery cocktail. A muddler allows you to mash or muddle ingredients like fruits and herbs to release extra flavor into the cocktail.
  • Cocktail Recipe Book: Ever need some inspiration instead of drinking the typical Rum and Coke? Grab yourself a good cocktail recipe book and try something new! We suggest Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition (2012) for some whimsical cocktails to curate a charming night.
  • Coasters: Protect your surfaces with handy dandy coasters. No need for a big stain on your coffee table or countertops.
  • Ice bucket: Chilling your champagne or white wine is standard, so make sure an ice bucket is part of your supply. Fill it with ice, stick your alcohol in, let it chill and enjoy!

The Garnishes - Bar Cart Essentials

To add a finishing touch to your cocktails, utilize garnishes like lemons, limes, oranges, and olives. These add both a decorative element and some added flavor. Keep your supply fresh and display them in beautiful bowls before guests come over! Also, have a small cutting board ready along with a paring knife so you can quickly slice your garnishes to complete the cocktail.

The Mixers - Bar Cart Essentials

Some of us like our cocktails on the rocks, but some of us would prefer a mixed drink instead. It's always a good idea to have a supply of mixers for guests who aren't ready to drink straight out of the bottle just yet. Now that summer is coming, we sense some fruit-flavored cocktails on the horizon! Here are some ideas for mixers and flavors to add to your bar cart:

  • Mixers & Juice: Mixes like margarita mix can be a good flavor base for a margarita.  Tonic water, sodas (ginger ale) and fruit juices are also good ingredients to add to your drinks.
  • Bitters: Bitters is often a popular ingredient in many cocktails and are a type of high-proof infused alcohol derived from plants, herbs or barks. They add a definite flavor to cocktails, and Angostura bitters is a classic go-to.

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We hope that this guide serves as a good starting place for your cocktail experiments and future soirees. With your cocktail prowess, you can certainly be the ultimate hostess in no time!

If you’ve got any alcohol, tools or mixers you love to make drinks with let us know! Are there any secret tools, techniques or flavors you add that makes your cocktails delicious?

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