Modern bar carts are no longer just about drinks. They’ve quickly evolved into a chic interior design trend that reflects a growing preference for entertaining at home. And why not entertain in the comfort of your own living room?
Think of a bar cart as a standalone style statement in your home. You can either place it below a focal art piece or spruce up an empty space with tasteful bar cart accessories.
Here, we help you answer one of the most pressing interior décor questions, “How to style a bar cart?”
What Every Bar Cart Needs
It helps if your bar cart is a double-shelf cart just for stocking more items. But of course, it can be a single-shelf bar cart too. You’ll just have to choose your most important things for the best functional bar cart.
Bar cart styling typically comes down to following a few basic rules. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you craft a well-rounded and stylish bar cart:
How To Stock A Bar Cart?
Liquors & Spirits
Some bottles of liquor are one of the most important bar cart essentials. So, naturally, your bar cart should have a selection of spirits. A few of the best tipples and your spirit of choice.
Now, not everyone follows a specific “alcohol code” for their best bar cart. It can be non-alcoholic as well.
For those looking for ultra-versatile liquor options, here are some base spirits to start with for your home bar cart:
- Dark rum
- Light rum
- Sweet vermouth
- Dry vermouth
It’s wise to keep some bottles of wine on the bottom shelf too. While you don’t have to invest in top-shelf liquor every single time, keep in mind that quality alcohol really does make a difference.
The local liquor store is the obvious place to get them. But keep in mind when you’re traveling to pick up some bottles too.
I recently picked up a Spanish strawberry-flavored gin for my bestie in Barcelona. (She’s a gin lover, I’m more of a rum girl, dark and stormy Moscow mules).
But what about beer and wine, you ask? We recommend placing them on the kitchen platform instead. Why? Because you get to save all that space for garnishes, accessories, tools, and other ingredients to craft world-class drinks!
Mixtures form the heart of every delicious drink. These non-alcoholic liquids add a solid pop of flavor to your cocktails. Most of them can (probably) be found in your kitchen.
If not, you can always grab them from the nearest store. Here are some of the many mixers that should make an entrance on your bar cart.
- Ice – You’ll be using ice in a lot of drinks. Make sure you have an ice bucket on hand when entertaining.
- Juices – These could either be fresh juice or juice that’s ready to pour. Some of the most versatile juices for cocktails include orange juice, lime juice (or lemon), cranberry, pineapple, tomato, and grapefruit juices.
- Sodas – Sodas are vital to upgrading every drink you’re serving out of your bar cart. Some of the best soda choices include club soda, ginger beer or ginger ale, tonic water, cola and diet cola, and lemon-lime soda.
Other varieties of mixers include simple syrup, angostura bitters, sour mix, coffee, grenadine, tea, and even milk!
Every drink, regardless of how “divine” it may taste requires a few finishing touches. For the classic cocktails, this is where garnishes come in to add a nice dash of visual appeal.
A twist of lemon, lime or orange always looks good! Olives, mint, cocktail onions, coarse salt and granulated sugar are great cocktail complement.
Also pickles, cinnamon, cherries and whipped cream are a few of the many garnishes you can keep handy to make the perfect cocktail.
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bar cart Decor
Aside from crafting delicious drinks, bar cart styling also involves adding other finishing decor touches that lend to its visual appeal.
Start with understanding the theme surrounding your cart design. Gold bar carts have a feel of glamour about them. Do you envision a rustic décor or did you invest in a sleek, minimalistic bar cart?
Once you have a theme in mind, it’s time to add custom accents and accessories to boost its visual appeal. Remember, aside from entertaining your guests in style, a bar is also a great statement décor piece.
Invest in a couple of decorative elements such as a small stack of books, (cocktail recipes would be ideal!) Or maybe an art poster, a neon sign along with a pretty little plant! Adding some fresh flowers is always a good idea for a pop of color.
Bar Cart Essentials
The three main types of bar cart essentials worth investing in include:
Glassware will occupy a good amount of space on your bar trolley so make sure you pick your glasses wisely.
Pay attention to elements such as fineness, rim, and weight of your chosen items. Think about the drinks you’d like to serve and work from there.
For instance, if Martinis are what your intimate little group prefers, go for some fine and small glassware. If you’re serving neat spirits, invest in nosing glasses. Always invest in basics such as rocks glass, cocktail glasses, highball glasses, wine glasses, and flutes.
You might want to add a few shot glasses and a crystal decanter to your collection a little bit later too. For a more casual style mason jars are a great alternative.
Bar Cart Tools
Your bar cart is also going to need the right tools to get your hosting night started. A few basic cocktail tools you might want to invest in include:
- A Boston-style shaker – No cocktail bartender is ever without a cocktail shaker. As a pro-bartender of your own little bar cart, why shouldn’t you show off one (or maybe more) Cocktail shakers also make serving time much easier and less messy. You can also use your Boston shaker as a mixing glass as well.
- Muddler – Aside from making cocktail creation a breeze, to mash and mix fruit and herbs together. A muddler is the best way to “class up” your cocktail-making experience.
- Strainer – A strainer is vital to remove the pulp from cocktails with muddled ingredients. They also ensure you pour drinks with zero mess.
- Jigger – The best cocktails require jiggers to ensure just the right measurements of alcohol in each glass.
Aside from these tools, your arsenal is also going to need a cocktail bar spoon, a citrus press and peeler, a cutting board, and a paring knife. Don’t forget a bottle opener as well! It might be an idea to keep a tea towel on the bar cart too for cleanup.
Bar Cart Accessories
With all your bar cart essentials now sorted, it’s time to focus on the final touches. To lend your cart a stunning, put-together look, you’re going to need a few basic bar cart accessories such as bespoke cocktail napkins, coasters and swizzle sticks are a great way to jazz up your cart.
Bar Cart Styling & tools
1. Cocktail Bitters | 2. Diamond Cut Cocktail Glasses | 3. Wood Board | 4. Antique Brass and Glass Cocktail Shaker | 5. Zwilling Paring Knife | 6. Wine Opener | 7. Citrus Press | 8. Alchemy Wine Decanter | 9. Matte Stoneware Bowl | 10. Gold Napkins | 11. Bumble Bee Cocktail Swizzle Sticks | 12. Muddler | 13. Classic Cocktail Recipe Book | 14. Bleecker Ice Bucket | 15. Hex Coasters | 16. Bleecker 5-Piece Bar Tool Set
Creating the bar cart of your dreams doesn’t have to cost much money and can be built up over time.
You don’t have to buy a new bar cart either. Have a look in your local thrift stores and the flea markets. A bar cart or bar cabinet is a great focal feature for your dining room or living room. Have fun styling your bar cart and trying your hand at new drinks!
What Every Bar Cart Needs FAQs
What Should Be in a Bar Cart?
A well-rounded bar cart typically includes the following items:
- Liquors and spirits
- Bar cart tools
- Bar cart accessories
Aside from helping you host like a pro, a bar cart also serves as a statement interior décor piece. So, when designing its setup, make sure you consider the style of the cart itself and the spirits you’re serving to your guests.
From there, pick functional glassware, tools, and accessories that blend with the overall cart design.
What are the Basics to Keep on Your Bar Cart to Make the Most Cocktails?
Classic liquors like vodka, gin, bourbon, and tequila are often the safest bet. Go for basic mixers like fresh fruit juices, soda water, and tonic. For garnishes, simply pop in a few freshly cut lemons.
Pick the best-looking bottles to put on display and put the rest away in the pantry.