A fully stocked bar cart is a welcome addition to any party at your home—especially in the summer. A bar cart not only makes get-togethers more accessible (and hosting much easier), but it can also become the focal point for your interior design.
But what makes the perfect bar cart? It can be overwhelming, deciding from the massive array of liquors at the store. Don’t fret; you don’t need everything in the liquor aisle; you only need a few basics.
From glassware and bar tools to the base spirits, explore the practical essentials every summertime bar cart needs!
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When you’re stocking your bar cart, keep in mind—this is a cart, not a full bar. You’ll only need the bare minimum.
For glassware, you’ll want to include both stemmed and non-stemmed. You can use rocks glasses for mixed drinks and liquor served neat. Wine glasses can also pull double duty; don’t be afraid to use them for mixed drinks.
You could also opt for only stemless wine glasses, which are a nice catch-all for any drink. And if your bar cart is cozying up an outdoor space, be sure to use shatter-resistant glassware like acrylic.
There are a few basic tools that every home bar needs:
- Bottle Opener—Be sure to include a wine opener as well.
- Cocktail Shaker—Shake up any mixed drink on a hot summer night.
- Ice Bucket—You can also use reusable ice cubes.
- Pitcher—To serve those cocktails you just shook up!
- Cocktail Book—A cocktail recipe book can give you tons of ideas to try out!
Like any home or professional bar, every bar cart needs the basic spirits and mixers. Even though this will differ based on your preferences, a few staples that live in every bar include:
- Base Spirits—The base spirits of any bar are vodka, gin, tequila, whiskey, and rum. You can also add mezcal for spicy cocktails! Whiskey is a blanket term for anything brown: bourbon, rye, Irish, or Canadian will do.
- Bitters—Many classic cocktails, like the Old Fashioned, Manhattan, and Classic Champagne Cocktail, use Angostura bitters. Another common bitters is Peychaud’s, used in a Sazerac.
- Mixers—These can be fresh fruit juice (or store-bought), tonic and soda waters, and simple syrup.
- Specialty Spirits—Including at least two specialty spirits will give you more options for drinks; try to include a light or dark vermouth, elderflower liquor, Aperol, and especially an orange liqueur for margaritas!
With these practical essentials for every summertime bar cart, you’ll be ready to enjoy the summer to its full potential!