Bar carts give a nod to Old Hollywood glamour.
Bar carts, once a staple fixture in American homes, offices and restaurants, have been resurrected from the past and are making a trendy comeback. Whether inspired by nostalgia for simpler times or the need to mix your own drinks (when restaurants and bars were closed due to the pandemic), it’s clear: The bar cart is back.
Used for entertaining, bar carts allow guests to participate in an approachable manner, instead of having their drink poured. And, bar carts bring a dash of glitz and glamour into a space. There’s truly no end to the number of roles a bar cart plays, holding equal parts style and function. Create your bar cart with these essentials.
Cocktails and Mixers
A selection of versatile liquors is the key to pleasing every palate. Whether top shelf or the basics, every bar cart should have the following liquors: vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whiskey and scotch. Bonus points for orange liqueur, vermouth and Campari!
Seeing that we can’t all be like Mark Twain or Ernest Hemingway and drink unescorted whiskey, juices, sodas, tonic water, simple syrups and bitters (even better if homemade!) should all be in attendance. Throw in edible flowers for an even more dazzling display.
Gadgets and Gizmos
The secret language of mixology may be a tricky one, but here are the cocktail gadgets to have on hand.
• Boston shaker: Seen in most bars, a Boston shaker uses a large glass and metal tumbler to shake the ice among the cocktail ingredients, fully mixing the cocktail and deeply chilling the drink with the ice. (The standard shaker is one piece with a built-in strainer and is efficient enough for
• Jigger: Sometimes referred to as a measurer, a jigger is an essential part to mixed drinks. Whether measuring ounces or ml, this little metal piece measures perfectly and creates a tastier drink.
• Muddler: Used with a shaker, a muddler (think: a pestle) is used to muddle or mash fruits, herbs in spices to release flavor. Cocktails that require a muddler include a mojito, mint julep and old fashioned.
• Whiskey stone: Used to chill whiskey and other spirits, a whiskey stone—a natural, clean cut soapstone—chills a drink without diluting it. Whiskey stones are nonporous, odorless and tasteless, and retains a colder temperature longer than ice.
Other gizmos to have on hand include a bottle opener (for obvious reasons), decanter, and an ice bucket and tongs to chill the wine.
Bits and Pieces
No bar cart would be complete without serveware.
• Highball and Collins (slightly taller than a highball) glasses are good for gin and tonics, vodka and club soda, and tiki drinks.
• Coupe glasses have replaced the better-known martini glass as the go-to for cocktails; less spillage and generally smaller, coupe glasses are more forgiving than the latter.
• Single rocks glasses are best served for anything neat. Typically between eight and 10 ounces, a single rocks glass is large enough for the drink (whiskey, scotch, bourbon, brandy) and a whiskey stone.
Editor tip: Toss drink cups into the freezer an hour before serving to serve up better chilled drinks.
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