How to Style and Stock a Bar Cart
Who doesn't love a bar cart? They are functional, beautiful and if it has wheels, like mine, mobile. Add a lamp, a flower filled vase or a bowl filled with citrus fruits. You can find crystal decanters at charity shops by the bucket load! I found my cart, a marble and brass beauty, at a charity shop. You can really find nice vintage ones with really clean modern lines. I entertain weekly so mine is always in use, but even when it's not, it just elevates the room. I have had it in the dining room and more recently it has been moved to the living room. Today's liquor manufacturers understand that we want beautiful packaging. Just like a luxurious lipstick or perfume bottle. This works out well from a design and decor point of view. You can seek out a bottle of any colour, shape, or size that your heart desires. In styling my cart I love using mirrored trays. Small pretty trinket trays, and gold rimmed bowls, all hold the essentials. I also love some fresh flowers in a small vase instead of the fruit bowl if I won't be entertaining. A lamp is always a nice touch especially if your bar cart is beside an armchair, as mine is below.
And don't get me started on bar accessories. Novelty bottle openers, beautiful jiggers in different metal finishes other than stainless. I could go on and on. I have also included some pictures of my dining room side board that was recently turned into a bar station. so if you don't have a bar cart don't worry.
Now on to the bar cart stocking and styling.
This list is of course non exhaustive. For cocktails that never go out of style you'll want to stock your bar cart with classic spirits.
I do stock a few flavoured favourites. I love a good Cosmopolitan, so I always have orange flavoured spirits like Cointreu or Triple Sec. I also like flavoured Vodkas. Again, this is all down to personal taste. If you are just building your cart, start with the classics and go from there. There is no right or wrong. So here is a list of the classics. Also if money is an object, you can buy smaller bottles of ones you don't use as often.
Sweet and Dry Vermouth
Crystal decanter retails for over £200 a steal at £5!
Here I have a beautiful gold jigger and muddler. The gold pineapple bottle is my favourite :) The coral tray is Sicilian, again a used find. The insulated white and gold ice bucket is from John Lewis. Although it was bought a few years ago.
Of course to make cocktails you need proper tools. These too could be beautiful and functional. I have my eye on these rose gold ones although I wish they made them in just gold tone.
Crosbys Copper Cocktail Set | 12 Pieces
Find it here plus many more
So here again is a non exhautive list of the basic bar tools you need. If you're like me, I own several cocktail shakers, strainers, jiggers and bottle openers. I may need an intervention,lol.
Start with the basics and invest in the highest quality you can afford.
Insulated ice bucket with lid and tongs
Bottle opener, corkscrew or both with a foil cutter
Long bar spoon for stirring or swirling drinks that aren't shaken
A small paring knife
Cocktail picks to skewar olives or other garnishes
Glassware is another area that I will address but honestly with today's trends pushing an eclectic envelope, it is safe to say anything goes. Mismatched cups, different height stemware, vessels and objects meant for other uses can all serve to hold a cocktail. If you are more of a traditionalist as I am, then here is a list of classic barware.
Red and white wine glasses
Champagne flutes or coupes, I prefer coupes as I also use them to make cocktails, they are super glamorous.
Double old fashioned
These are just a few, again I personally own hundreds of cups, I can't help it!
Totally not essential but so much fun! These super cute animal glass markers were purchased from John Lewis. Bonus they are gold. Never loose your drink again.
Buy John Lewis Safari Animal Wine Charms, Pack of 6 | John Lewis https://www.johnlewis.com/john-lewis-safari-animal-wine-charms-pack-of-6/p2887176
Soda and tonic bottles are usually not very attractive. Opening and transferring the contents proves useless, as once opened the carbonation is gone. Since these are needed cold anyway, I usually keep these in my fridge. Olives for martinis if serving.
Citrus fruits like lemons, limes and oranges are essential. Fresh berries are usually needed for more specialty cocktails. Fine sugar and salt for rimming glasses.
In my house the are always available, as I use them for cooking.
Rosemary and mint grow abundantly in my garden, but remember, these are hardy herbs and grow fabulously in a container.
Here is a list of cocktail mixers and garnishes
Fresh Juices such as orange and cranberry
Sugar (Muscovado and white) and salt for rimming glasses
Brown sugar cubes
Berries assorted (only if you are making a specific cocktail)
Last week I came across the most gorgeous drinks dispenser I have ever laid my eyes on. Big , bold and gold as I like to call it! It is glorious in it's own right and divine filled with a Sangria or Negroni on a hot summer's day.
I found mine at Home Sense but a quick internet search will get you similar ones. I also like the one from Pier One Imports.
Impromptu drinks station on my dining room sideboard. Always a hit at parties.
Here is another ice bucket or wine cooler. Silver and brass with faux horn handles, it is one of my favourites. It looks especially good with my safari inspired table setting.
Please feel free to comment below. Do you have a favourite bar cart item? How do you style yours? Please share your pics with me. I hope you enjoyed this week's blog post. Happy Decorating and Cheers! XOXO