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Well-Stocked: Simple Home Bar-Cart Rules

Updated: Sep 19, 2018

You may be thinking to yourself what does curating a well-stocked bar have to do with Interior Design? Everything! Because I think owning, both, a functional and fashionable bar-cart is the ultimate symbol of design style.


And I believe the social phenomenon "Cocktail Culture" and the new breed of "Mixologists" are partly to blame for my feelings on this topic.


This immensely popular trend has seen a rise in varieties of craft beers, single malts, small-batch bourbons, super-premium vodkas, 100% agave tequilas and much more. This cocktail culture is compelling (wanna-be) mixologists to raise the stakes by learning more about the products and consequently developing imaginative cocktails that showcase the enhanced quality of the products they are using. Knowing this, can you picture yourself mixing & fixing some fancy drinks while happily standing at your own equally and impressive bar-cart?


That said, there’s a bar-cart (or bar-cabinet) to fit every taste, what you need to consider is the space’s vibe. Want a sophisticated look? Then go with a shiny silver or gold metal one. Are you a traditionalist? Maybe opt for wood options or bamboo. If you fancy the minimalist or industrial vibe, choose steel or iron materials. You're in luck, this year’s trends range from classic wood finishes to stylish metallic designs, so you're bound to find one that suits your space.


Side note: opt for a bar-cart design with wheels. And I might also suggest getting one with at least two or three tiers. This design will provide adequate space to showcase glasses and bar paraphernalia. Can't afford a bar-cart or cabinet just yet, you can always put a simple shelf or two up and use some decorative lighting to showcase the spirits. Check out "Pinterest" for inspiration, that's what I do.

So now that you have your bar-cart placed in that ideal spot, how do you get those shelves perfectly stocked?

Make Mine a Martini by Kay Plunkett-Hogge

Home Bar Rule #1: Buy a Good Cocktail Book. I realize this is subjective - ask five friends, and they'll all suggest their favorite cocktail book is the best. Do a little research until you find the one that works for you. Start with a how-to-guide to help you with the fundamentals of mixing spirits and creating yummy cocktails. (I like "Make Mine a Martini" by Kay Plunkett-Hogge. The recipes are fabulous, and the artwork is adorable too.)


Home Bar Rule #2: Picking spirits, liqueurs and tools . I can only suggest you stock your bar with the ones you love to drink because the bar’s primary customer is you. And as long as you’re using the right techniques and ingredients, you will be able to make great cocktails for you and your guests.


If you plan to have a fully stocked bar, here’s a list of the essential spirits, liqueurs, and mixers to buy (again this boils down to individual tastes, so I will not name names, PM me if you'd like my honest opinion. Plus, we have a handy print-out "Well Stocked - Amazing Home Bar Rules Checklist" to help you with your shopping.):


Spirits

Bourbon whiskey

Scotch whisky (both blended and single malt)

Tequila (100% blue agave)

Rum (both light and dark)

Vodka

Gin


Liqueurs

Vermouth (both dry and sweet)

Cointreau

Disaronno

Campari


Other

Red & White wine

Sparkling wine

Craft Beers


Mixers

Club soda

Tonic water

Cola

Sprite or 7-up

Ginger Ale

Simple syrup (Make by dissolving equal parts water and sugar over heat - it keeps for several weeks in the refrigerator.)

Orange juice

Cranberry juice

Tomato juice

Pineapple juice

Angostura bitters (technically you don’t use bitters as a mixer - they’re to be used as a splash flavour in your drinks)

Artisanal mixers (like Fever Tree)


Garnishes

Cocktail Olives

Cocktail onions

Horseradish

Limes

Lemons

Tabasco sauce

Salt

Pepper

Sugar

Ice


Tools

Good quality corkscrew

Martini shaker

Jigger (I recommend a 1 oz. and 3/4 oz. combo)

Muddler

Bar Spoon

Hawthorne strainer

Citrus peeler

Handheld citrus press

Ice Bucket

Toothpicks for the olives and onions

Napkins

I cannot get over the selection of bar paraphernalia that is available on the internet. check out these other jiggers. Just beautiful!!

Glassware (again, this is very subjective stuff, the examples I have shown on this page are merely suggestions of the basics. You can go as fancy or get as specific with your glassware as you want.)

Martini glasses

Rocks glasses

Highball glasses or tall glasses

Red and white wine glasses

Beer mugs and pint glasses

Shooter glasses

There you have it, a few simple tips + plus a handy cheat sheet to get you thinking about setting up that home bar, get shaking!


Need a copy of that cheat sheet? Having trouble finding that elusive cocktail recipe? Or need advice on wine & food pairings? Want help with styling your bar cart? PM me and I will send you the cheat sheet and address your questions as soon as humanly possible. And please stay connected for more designer tips + tricks, resources and insider info.


Happy mixing & sipping! Cheers Cora

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