Let’s be honest, it’s always a good time to invest in an at-home bar cart. Whether you’re the entertainer in your group of friends or want to be up to par at your virtual parties, this essential list will make you look both knowledgeable and sophisticated. What’s great with bar carts is that you can start small and slowly grow and adapt your collection of alcohols and tools to your liking. They are the cherry on top in any interior and a big eye-catcher for renters.
Pick the right cart
Bar carts come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Rustic, industrial, vintage, made out of rattan, glass, gold, with or without ice trays, with or without handles. The list is long. All we can say is invest in something sturdy that matches your interior and your lifestyle. If you’re the hostess with the mostest, investing in a bar cart with more storage is a good shout. If you’re more of a wine connoisseur rather than a cocktail drinker, a wine cart is a good idea too. The only prerequisite we can think of is wheels. Not only do you want to have the flexibility to move your bar cart wherever the party is but they also make great towels or nightstands if you repurpose them later.
The right tools
Keep it simple at first but make sure you get the must-have tools. Our essential list includes a bottle opener, a mixing glass, a Boston shaker, and a strainer, or a cobbler shaker (a shaker with a built-in strainer), a bar spoon, and a jigger. If you wish for an upgrade, add a muddler, tongs, an ice bucket, and a bar knife (the key is to find a sharp knife with a small handle). Chicagoans’ go-to cookware and bakeware expert, the pampered chef has a premium cocktail set which is a good deal for beginners. You want all your tools to look aesthetically similar so purchasing them from one place is ideal. If you’re unsure where to start, I would simply ask your local cocktail bars, they’ll have the best recommendations.
Basic alcohols but extensive bitters and garnishes
Can’t make a cocktail without the ingredients! Regarding your hard alcohol collection, always aim for quality rather than quantity. You’ll have fewer hangovers and better gut health. Stock the basic vodka, gin, rum, tequila whiskey, and vermouth and you’re already ahead of the game. The fun really begins with your collection of bitters and garnishes. To reduce cost, go for variety packs instead of larger individual bottles. Hella Cocktail Co has great bitter and soda options. As for your garnishes, the fresher the better. Grab some rosemary and mint from your at-home potted herbs (hyperlink to previous how to pot herbs blog), showcase your citrus fruit bowl, and purchase your olives from your local Italian grocer.
A diverse glassware collection
Every drink has its own glass and that’s an international rule. Serving a Negroni in a collins glass is social suicide. Do your research and invest in glassware that fits your favorite cocktails and lifestyle best. The essential list of wine and cocktail glasses is red and white wine glasses, champagne flutes, coupe glasses, lowball glasses (old fashioned, rocks), highball glasses (collins, sling), and the martini glass. Investing in good quality, aesthetically pleasing glassware is definitely one of the most enjoyable parts of creating your at-home bar cart.
With the restaurant industry taking a big hit during this pandemic, make sure you support your local bars by having them be a part of your at-home bar cart creation. Whether that be asking them for advice, promoting their business, or buying locally sourced alcohol, every little bit helps.
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