I know outside is in the process of reopening. But it’s still not safe as far as I’m concerned. So you won’t catch me sitting up in nobody’s bar anytime soon. Instead I’ll be enjoying happy hour at home. I made sure that my bar cart is not only well stocked, but styled to fit in with my home decor. I’m going to show you guys how easy it is to create a stylish yet functional bar cart to upgrade your happy hour at home. Don’t feel the need to get everything at once if it’s not in your budget. You can build your bar cart gradually.
Start with a stylish bar cart that fits in with your decor. It doesn’t have to be very big, and you can use any type of rolling cart or small shelving system. I don’t have a lot of extra space. So I chose this Ikea Raskog Utility Cart. This color is no longer available. But if you’d like a similar cart in this color, you can try this cart, this one, or this. Spray paint is also an option if you can’t find a cart in the exact color that you want. You may also choose a cart that has a built in wine rack since wine should be stored horizontally to keep the corks from drying out. Or you can add a wine rack on your cart if it fits. I have a small wine rack on my entryway console since it couldn’t fit on mine.
Stylish Bar Carts Under $100
Home Bar Essential Tools
Now before we get to the alcohol, you want to make sure that you have the tools necessary to whip up your favorite cocktails. First up, you’ll need a shaker and a strainer. I chose a shaker with a strainer built in to make things easier, and the shaker can also double as a mixing glass. If you follow cocktail recipes, then you’ll also want to have a jigger on hand to measure out the alcohol and other ingredients. Last but not least, you’ll need a bar spoon and a muddler. You can get them as a set here. The muddler is necessary for drinks like mojitos where you muddle the mint. You should be able to make any cocktail you want with these tools. You may also get specialty ice trays and an ice bucket if you’d like.
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Now you can be creative when it comes down to the glassware. I have martini glasses with matching cocktail sticks that I received in a set with my shaker at my housewarming 15 years ago. They’re used when I have my girls over for drinks. I also have a couple of short cocktail glasses, shot glasses, wine glasses and champagne glasses. For most cocktails I actually use 16 oz wide mouth mason jars. If you have limited space I’d suggest that you start with the mason jars and wine glasses. Remember that you can store your bar glassware in the cabinet with your other glassware. It doesn’t have to be on the cart.
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Now it’s time for the fun stuff, the alcohol. This is a personal preference so stock your bar according to the cocktails that you like to drink. If you need guidance on where to start, I’d suggest vodka and/or gin, a light rum and a cognac. This is what I have on my bar cart along with a tequila and a couple bottles of whiskey. Hit up your local liquor store as I find that they usually have pretty good deals and give discounts if you buy a couple of bottles. I know mine does. If you’re in NYC, I recommend Drizly for ordering alcohol online for delivery. I utilized them during quarantine and they deliver quick, and late into the night. You can use my code KIPYM for $5 off of your first order and I’ll get $5 off my next order as well. For wine, I pretty much shop exclusively at Trader Joe’s Wine Shop as they have the best deals in the city.
Last but not least, you need a variety of mixers to whip up those cocktails. The mixers you choose also depends on the type of cocktails that you like. For instance, I keep cranberry juice for Cosmos and ginger beer for Moscow Mules in the fridge since those are some of my favorite cocktails. I’d suggest a Triple Sec, regular or Blue Curaçao for color. I have both. Also, sparkling water or club soda for Mojitos. Kahlua for coffee cocktails. An almond liquor because it’s deelish. Oh, and a bitters if that’s your thing. I have Angostura Bitters on my bar cart. Don’t forget the lemons, limes & cherries for the juice and as garnish.