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Bar Cart 101

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Essentials to shake and stir your favorite drinks at home.

By Silvana Di Ravenna, Bar Cart compilation photo courtesy of

In this day and age, not owning a bar cart is the equivalent of not owning the latest iPhone. Yes, you could get away with packing all your drinking essentials in the kitchen cupboard, the same one that stores those old bottles of whiskey that have been piling up for years. But let’s face it, bar carts scream sophistication and show the world you know exactly what you’re doing (at least when it comes to concocting your own drinks).

But if the idea of having your own bar cart daunts you (Where do you get one and what do you put in it?), don’t despair, for we have selected the perfect items that will not only help you recreate your favorite drinks at home, but will impress that snooty co-worker and maybe even your mother-in-law.

The Cart

1)Bayou Bar Cart

If your worst nightmare is to end up having a bar cart that says, “girly glitter bubbles,” fear no more. This Bayou Classic Stainless Steel Serving Cart is not only sleek and masculine, but it’s also unobtrusive enough to showcase your drinks without cloying your manly decorative style. (, $142.93)

The Drinks

The idea is to have a variety of drinks and mixes on hand so you can always be ready when the mood strikes. Next time you are at the liquor store, bring this list with you and you’ll be all set.

Hard Liquors

3)Hendrick's Gin

These are the staples in any bar cart. We suggest starting with a quality vodka, such as Grey Goose Vodka (, $48.99) and a bottle of gin, such as Hendrick’s Gin (, $48.99). Have spare room? Consider adding a bottle of bourbon (we recommend Angel’s Envy,, $39.99) or a premium tequila. Republic Tequila (, $79) is a must if you’re a true Texan.

Creamy Liqueurs


You can’t go wrong with these thick varieties that are as festive as it gets. We suggest the crowd-pleasing Bailey Irish Cream (, $17.99) or the exotic South African Amarula (, $17.99).

Fortified Wine


Distilled spirits are a sign of a true drink connoisseur. Impress your guests with refined taste. We suggest Croft Fine Ruby Port (, $12.99) to end a stellar night.



As the name suggests, there’s nothing sweet about bitters, making it the perfect addition to your manly bar cart. If you’re not sure what to buy, we recommend the tried-and-trues, Campari (, $28.99) and Angostura bitters (, $55.99).

The Tools

Once you have the drinks, you will need the right tools to shake, stir and serve. These five essentials will have you ready for any impromptu rendezvous.

11)Hoffman Bar Spoon

If you prefer your drinks stirred and not shaken, you will need a spoon. This Hoffman bar spoon has a classic look, and the spiraled neck makes it easy to grip. (, $19.95).


If you like your drinks on the rocks, an ice cube tray is a must. This Onyx stainless steel tray is not only stylish, but also durable and dishwasher safe. (williams-sonoma, $29.95)


If Mint Juleps and Mojitos are your specialty, you will definitely need a good muddler. We especially like this natural wood muddler, as it’s long enough to reach to the bottom of your tallest glass. (, $10.95)


Since most drinks are measured, a jigger is an essential component of any bar cart. We are particularly fond of this Leopold stainless steel jigger, which has measurements marked on the inside for more accurate pouring. (, $18.90)


And what’s a bar cart without a shaker? A sad place, to be sure. So make sure yours is happy with this set of stainless steel Koriko shaking tins, which seal together, preventing cocktail leaks. (, $16.90)

(Tool Suggestions made by Scranton Twohey, the owner of Whisler’s.)

Final Touches


Now that you are stocked and mixed, it’s time to pour and get creative. If your mixology knowledge is rather limited, we suggest you invest in The Ultimate Bar Book, the Comprehensive Guide to Over 1,000 cocktails, the first and only guide to classic and new drink recipes (, $11.57).


And, of course, you will need some glasses to pour your drinks in. Since most drinks require their own special glass, we suggest you begin with a basic shape and size, such as these Greet bar glasses (Crate and Barrel, $9.95 each).


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