Bar Cart Essentials

How to Stock Your Bar Cart the Right Way

When it comes to stocking your bar cart, there are a few essentials that you don’t want to be caught without. From accessories, glassware, mixers and garnishes, this list will help you have the basics on hand so next time you’re entertaining, every one of your guests will drink happy. Keep in mind, this is a pretty comprehensive list so you may not actually need every item to fit your guests tastes. This is just a good starting point in case you don't know exactly what your guests will want to drink. 

The Right Glassware for Your Bar Cart

There are a few different types of cocktail glasses that will help complete your bar cart style. If you want to be fully stocked, you'll need a few of each: 

Wine Glasses: This is a basic bar staple that you probably already have a few of. Depending on your tastes, you can get the proper glasses for red and white wine, or you can get the all-purpose glass shape that fits both.

Pint Glasses: These standard beverage glasses work for serving beer, tall drinks and other non-alcoholic beverages. 

Martini Glasses: These cocktail glasses can serve martinis, but also cosmos and many other drinks that are shaken or stirred. 

High Ball Glasses: When serving tall drinks and ones with a lot of mixer, these large glasses work great. There is plenty of room for ice and they look great with a little bit of garnishing. 

Old Fashioned Glasses: This is also a pretty standard bar glass whether you are serving liquor on the rocks or drinks like a Manhattan. These can also be called rocks glasses or low ball glasses. 

Optional Specialty Glasses: Champagne Glasses, Shot Glasses, Margarita Glasses, Moscow Mules Glasses & Snifters  

Must Have Liquor for Your Bar Cart 

You may think that a comprehensive selection of liquors mean that you must have a huge variety of options, but that’s not necessarily true. To be able to make a majority of the most requested drinks, you’re going to need these eight staples: 

Whiskey: This will help you make an old fashioned and the classic whiskey & coke. 

Bourbon: This will help you make a Manhattan and a whiskey sour. 

Gin: This will help you make a martini, a gin & tonic, and a Tom Collins.

Vodka: This will help you make vodka soda, vodka cranberry and a cosmopolitan.

Tequila: This will help you make a margarita, tequila sunrise, and a paloma.

Rum: This will help you make a pina colada, a mojito, and a daiquiri. 

Scotch: This will help you make a rob roy, a scotch sour and a rusty nail. 

Red & White Wine:  For the non-liquor drinking bunch. 


Mixers Make the Drink + Garnishes 

While some people like their liquor just on the rocks, most people think the mixers make the drink. They enhance flavors and add new layers of taste that you can't get otherwise. There is an endless number of mixers that you can add to your bar cart, but there are a few staples that will help make a wide varieties of beverages. A great place to start: tonic, soda, ginger ale, bitters, simple syrup, triple sec & vermouth. 

As far as garnishes go, these can be as elaborate or simple as you please. Some staples to consider: lemons, limes, olives, sugar cubes, mint leaves, and cherries. Don't forget the food picks!


Bar Tools & Accessories  

Having a few specialty bar tools and accessories on hand will make crafting cocktails easier and quicker. A few that you should consider: 

Cocktail Shaker & Strainer

Why use a cocktail shaker? To serve perfectly chilled beverages without ice watering it down.


Bottle Opener/Corkscrew

A multi functional bottle opener will ensure quick and efficient drink service.


Bar Jiggers

A jigger shot makes for quick measuring and a clean pour of liquor.


Bar Spoon & Muddler

Mash and mix herbs, fruit and spices into drinks to reach maximum flavor potential.


The Extras: How To Style Your Bar Cart

Having the right liquor and supplies on hand is important, but the real fun comes in when you get to make it your own. Adding personalized details will help the cart blend into the room and add that extra "wow" factor. A vase with flowers or greenery is a common addition that adds a touch of fresh life. A small framed canvas can add a pop of color and can be changed frequently to fit the season or occasion. If the cart is going to be a permanent staple in the room, you can also add a large piece of artwork or a mirror above it to help it look more intentional. You could also add a stylish lamp or a tray stand of desserts. The opportunities are as vast as your imagination!


Photo by: Kim Wilson | Sand & Sisal

Photo by: Carole King | Dear Designer's Blog

When it comes to stocking and styling your bar cart, it's entirely up to your personal preference. Bar carts are fun because, when designed thoughtfully, they can add a lot of personality and character to a room without looking tacky. It doesn't have to be a huge investment either. There are ways you can save money without having to buy only bottom shelf liquor. You can score some high quality glassware at discount prices to get a little extra wiggle room when you're ready to shop at the liquor store (Dean Supply is your go-to for clearance glassware and high quality bar supplies for less!). You don't have to sacrifice style for your budget. 

Do you have a bar cart in your home that you'd love to show off? Snap a pic and tag @DeanSupplyCompany on social media to let us see! 


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