I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Hostessing is my Happy Place! Having said that, any experienced Host will admit that you can never have too much preparation or help. That's why I'm in the market for a fabulous Bar Cart.
A well-stocked Bar Cart (or Drinks Trolly) is like a silent butler, dutifully bringing the bar wherever you need it, allowing your guests to help themselves, freeing you up to circulate and keep the party going.
A good bar cart is two parts utility, one-part décor, and an essential piece of party equipment. These days, there are plenty of good-looking carts on the market to suit every style and budget. Whichever style you choose, remember it is a functional piece of furniture. Don't be tempted to favour form over function!
My friend, Jordan Catapano, half of the Los Angeles based, mobile Bartending service, This Girl Walks into a Bar, offers the following advice: “Your bar cart should reflect your personality, whether you'd describe yourself as serious, playful, artistic, a bargain-hunter, a brand snob, etc. I love a bar cart that is thematically organized and textured. My favourite bar arrangements have a unifying theme. The same colour scheme, unusual bottle designs, Art Deco, or just wine or clear spirits...you get the idea.”
“To keep your bar cart style fresh, rotate your collection for special occasions like Valentine's Day, July 4th, Halloween, and all through the Holidays, of course!"
Make sure your cart has room for the basics:
- Ice bucket and tongs
- Lowball glasses and at least two bottles, plus mixers
- A crystal decanter is a must on every bar cart (there are so many styles to choose from!)
- A few essential mixology tools.
- Paper straws (monogrammed is a nice touch).
- Proper cocktail napkins
- Wheels that work (and also lock)! You can always use a media console or small table as a bar, but a proper drinks trolly should be portable.
How to Stock Your Cart:
Clear The Lot
If you want to do this right (and trust us, you do), then you should start by clearing off the entire cart and wiping it down with a natural cleaner that won't leave any residue. If your cart is wood, use an All-Purpose cleaner. If your cart has a metal surface, use a leather cleaner (or glass cleaner for a mirror finish).
When it comes to stocking alcohol for your bar cart, this is one area you can afford to be a little aspirational. There's no need to spend hundreds per bottle on celebrity alcohol (which we've found isn't usually that great anyways) get a decent bottle of Gin, Vodka, Whiskey, and Tequila, and then use a funnel to easily decant them! I love these personalized nickel liquor tags to identify your bottles.
You’ll Need a Measuring Tool
To pour drinks like a pro, you'll need a measuring cup to dose your liquors, cordials, and mixers. While some might opt for a double jigger, we quite like the look of this ceramic measuring cup. We made this ceramic cup for measuring our laundry soap—but it also happens to be the perfect size for dosing out gin for the perfect martini. You'll wonder how you ever lived without one.
Use Organizing Helpers
You'll need something to keep your tools together. The thin profile of this ceramic vanity tray means it fits neatly inside on even the tiniest bar cart. Use a larger tray to hold garnishes, and a minimalist soapstone jar is a chic way to keep straws or bar tools at the ready, and I love this vintage pedestal bowl to hold cocktail napkins without eating up too much real estate on your cart.