12.07.2016

The Art of Display | The Perfect Bar Cart

I love hosting guests for any and every reason throughout the year but it seems during the holidays the number of people we entertain doubles. Sometimes you're expecting them but sometimes you're not. In the event that I have surprise visitors drop by I've always kept a properly stocked bar cart so that I'm prepared. There's something so dignified about being able to offer a well mixed cocktail in front of guests at a beautifully curated drink station. The ceremonious mixing and presentation of a signature beverage creates such an experience for your guest as well.

Here's what you will need to put your own cart together, or to fill any gaps in an existing cart:
  1. A bar cart or cabinet.
  2. Staple liquors based on drinks you'll make. A good start is bourbon (or whiskey), gin, rum, tequila, vodka, vermouth.
  3. Wine. Depending on preference. It's nice to have champagne on hand for special occasions.
  4. Mix. Soda, tonic, bitters, sugar cubes, simple syrup.
  5. Glassware. Highballs, lowballs. Stemware. 
  6. Mixing tools. Mixing pitcher and strainer, shaker, shot glasses, ice bucket, stir spoon, jigger. corkscrew, citrus press or ream, pairing knife, muddler,
  7. Small trays to organize and divide items based on purpose or use. 
  8. Quintessential cocktail recipe book like these here and here.
  9. Extras. cocktail napkins, straws, coasters.

Tips to setting up:
  1. Splurge on bottles with pretty packaging.
  2. Work decor elements, like fresh flowers or a candle and additional matches into the display.
  3. Don't be tempted to go bananas buying obscure liquors. Stick to the basics you'll actually use.
  4. Freeze raspberries in cranberry juice to serve brunch guests a more thoughtful mimosa.
  5. Be creative but stick to themes that will honour the rest of the room the cart resides in.
  6. Keep a lucite tray or two on the top shelf of your cart as your main prep surface and to keep bottles in. It will be easier to take away and pop in the dishwasher to clean up sticky rings and drips. A sticky bottle in my own home actually removed the lacquer surface of my side board and left a ring exposing the bar wood below.
  7. If there's a particular drink that's your favourite stock items for it first and indulge in the right tools to make it. For example if you love dirty martinis invest in some pretty olive picksmartini glasses and appropriate ingredients.

Of note, one of my sweet LDS friends made an amazing refreshment cart. She keeps it stocked with sparkling apple cider, san pellegrino fruit seltzers and whatever else suits the occasion.
Shop my top picks for bar carts and all other accessories broken down by column:











3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amazing! I never knew the name of bar tools. I ordered the gold you linked and all on sale. I'll give it to my hubby for Christmas and its a gift for me too..Thanks! xx Angie

Anonymous said...

Hi Erika, will it look ok if I mix metal looks. I ordered the white paint One kings lane barcart and I have some stainless tools but I want to buy the rosegold set. Would that work? Thanks Debra M (I met you at Chinook in the pottery barn)

Erica Cook said...

Aw I love that Angie! I hope our paths cross again soon. xo


Hi Debra, It was lovely to meet you the other day. And yes you can absolutely mix metals. The next post I'm working on (the reason I was at PB) is a mix of nickel and rosegold/copper. Best of luck with it! xo

Happy holidays to you both!

 
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