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Bar Carts and What to Stock

A home bar is seeing a resurgence of late, but rather than the fixed built in bar of my parent’s time the newest iteration is in a rolling cart form. Probably because it’s less commitment, likely because it is small and portable. Easy to roll out the good times when friends come over. It seems everywhere you look, an on trend home decor store has some style of bar carts available. Below are some of my favourites, at different price points.

Screen shot 2013-09-29 at 10.44.38 PM

Top Row L to R: Crate & Barrel, Ikea, Anthropologie
Bottom Row L to R: Restoration Hardware, Bombay Company, Target

Now that you have the cart, what should you stock? Since carts have limited space, keeping to the basics that hopefully satisfies everyone is the goal. Here is a list of beverages and barware you should have on hand. For a good basic bar, the rule of thumb should be a variety of 8-12 spirits, a few liqueurs, and some mixers. I will refrain from providing brand suggestions as this will vary vastly between personal preferences and budget.


Light Rum
Scotch Whiskey
Rye Whiskey
Bourbon Whiskey
Brandy or cognac

Triple Sec
Cream liqueur
Coffee liqueur
Whiskey liqueur

Citrus soda
Tonic Water
Club Soda
Orange Juice
Cranberry Juice
Tomato Juice

Space may be a premium so it is your discretion how much of the following garnishes you want to keep on hand.
Olives, limes, lemons, tabasco sauce, mint leaves, maraschino cherries, salt, pepper. And don’t forget the picks.

My recommendation is to select glasses that can handle double or triple duty rather than special glasses for each type of drink. For instance, I would recommend using a high ball for various cocktails. It saves on space and frankly I am not a fan of the silhouette of the curvy cocktail glass anyways.


Tools: Ice bucket, tongs, shaker, jigger, strainer, bottle opener.
Glasses: High ball (tall glass), low ball (short glass), shot glasses, and martini glasses.

There you have it, the essential basic bar. Admittedly, I didn’t think the list would be this long when I started writing this, but again feel free to omit or add items. The home bar is for enjoyment and only you know what you and your guests would imbibe in. There’s no hard and fast rules and never purchase based on what you think a bar should look like to impress guests.


One comment on “Bar Carts and What to Stock

  1. Pingback: Homemade Bars: Barware alternatives | Nerd Meets Food

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This entry was posted on October 2, 2013 by in Decor, Entertaining, Lifestyle and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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