The 6 Things You Need To Style A Bar Cart
Arguably the most important part of the bar cart, more important than the bar cart itself, even, is the booze. Whatever tipple titillates your heart, this is it’s time to shine. Whether you’re a single malt on a single rock kind, or the deliciously dirty martini kind, your bar cart is your shrine to this drink. You may even wish to use it as a champagne or wine cart when you have guests over.
Your bar cart can go one of two ways – it can be your home bar on wheels, or it can act as a showcase for one or two drinks. If you go with the former option, you’ll need a big bar cart, or even a sideboard or console table to do the job. Organise your drinks thematically. White spirits together, dark spirits together, and then go with what looks good. Whilst there is a loose formula for putting together a bar cart,
Chances are when you’re 4 cocktails in you’ll forget where you originally put everything anyway.
If you have more limited space, and have chosen a theme, arrange the bottles in a little cluster on the top shelf. Tall at the back, short at the front. Group them like a much better looking family Christmas photo. This is your time to show your worldly cocktail and liquor knowledge.
Time to show off that you know what vermouth is.
Choose your most beautiful bottles and don’t look back. Maybe you’re more of a jack and coke kind of guy? No reason you can’t have a beautifully put together bar cart, but perhaps you’d like to make use of a decanter? Not only do crystal decanters look chic as, they’re an excellent way of hiding the fact you prefer Bundy to Belvedere. Not that there’s any shame in that. ~cough~
Whilst chugging straight out of the bottle is indeed satisfying, especially around stressful Christmas periods, you’ll want some glassware for your guests. If you’ve gone with the whole hog, choose 2 of a few classic glass categories. Maybe two highballs, two martini glasses and two rocks glasses? Think about what you make most often and arrange accordingly.
If you’ve got a theme, obviously stick with the glassware you’ll need for those cocktails. Filled your cart with Malibu and Rum? You’ll want a tiki glass and some highballs. Always carry at least two of each, because whilst there’s nothing wrong with drinking alone, you’re more likely to be doing that out of the bottle or a mug aren’t you?
3. Garnishes and Mixers
Without mixers and garnishes, a cocktail is just a shot, so these are very important. They’re also an excellent chance to add some variety and color to your cart. Martini gal? Have some preserved olives, lemons and toothpicks. Old fashioned? Sugar cubes in a glass box and bitters. Mohito maven? Maybe even a pot of live mint.
The most common garnishes are citrus, sugar, bitters, salt, maraschino cherries and cinnamon sticks, but you can dress up your cart with whatever your heart desires. Try going to your local foreign grocer to stack up on exotic cans with beautiful labels (we love Mount Elephant tinned lychees). A little more sexy than SPC.
Ice is an extremely important cocktail ingredients, as
No-one likes warm drinks except university students and the strange people that enjoy mulled wine.
It does however go without saying that this should be stored in the freezer where it belongs. If you will be making a lot of drinks, or are inviting guests to help themselves, you may wish to place an ice bucket on your cart, replete with tongs. However we recommend keeping the ice frozen otherwise.
Another excellent way to show off you know what you’re doing is to wield a boston shaker with finesse.
Nothing is more satisfying than shaking a cocktail to the gasps and sighs of admiration from your guests (note if this is because they’re wiping espresso martini from their eyes it might not be your time to shine yet).
It is well worth investing in a quality cocktail kit, including a cocktail shaker, stirring rod, strainer, muddling stick, shot measurer (aka a jigger) and tongs.
Many cocktails call for citrus zest or juice, so it’s also worth having a good quality paring knife and small chopping board in your kit. If your house is filled with little paws (human or not) that like to stick thinks in their mouth, maybe leave these in the kitchen.
“Mixology is an art” is not only something handle-bar-moustached hipsters have on their instagram accounts, but it is also a fact. Pair art with art and hang a favourite piece above your cart. Choose something that speaks to your drinking style. If you love a Negroni, try an erudite abstract print in warm tones. Are you a cosmo fan? Maybe some pink and purple geometry. Like a dry martini? Try a black and white photograph.
6. Something living
This shows that your bar cart is not relegated to the back corner of your sitting room, only to be dusted off when heavy drinking relatives arrive. Show that you tend to your drinking habit by placing fresh flowers, a pot plant or hey, even a pet fish on your cart. It will remind you that a bar cart needs as much love and attention as a plant. It may even help remind you to water your plant as you water yourself.
Maybe some orchids if you have a tropical theme, or a monstera if you have liquor on your cart 90% of people won’t recognize. If you choose a bunch of flowers, choose an appropriate vase to go with the rest of your cart.
7. Knick Knacks
Just as cocktail drinking is an utterly unnecessary but scintillating part of life, so are knick knacks. Assemble your favourite quirky odds and ends on your cart. This may be a stack of art books, that weird antique doll you found at an auction, or an inherited heirloom you wish to celebrate.
Think of them as the garnish for your cart.
And there you have it, a beautifully styled, personalized bar cart. Happy Drinking!
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