How To Stock Your Bar Cart
Design editor Lauren Petroff shares the essentials for a well-stocked and stylish home bar.
I’m a firm believer that being prepared to entertain always pays off, particularly in the heart of the holiday season when parties, casual gatherings and surprise drop-ins are the norm. And what better way to welcome guests than with a festive cocktail? Whether you like to keep it simple or experiment with the latest trends, here are a few essentials you’ll need to create a functional and good looking home bar this season. (Remember, if you invest time putting together a great set-up now, you’ll be able to enjoy it all year long — a thoughtful gift to yourself!)
The first step in creating a great home bar is to think of it like a well-curated vignette: you’ll need to find the perfect surface to corral all the essentials in an organized and visually pleasing way. One popular option is going with a beautiful bar cart — a dedicated spot for mixing that’s easy to set up in a living or dining area. An alternative to this is to transform an entire console or sideboard into a drink station.
Once you’ve selected your surface, start thinking about serving vessels. It’s handy to have a combination of decanters, pitchers and punch bowls on hand to house different cocktail components, plus they look gorgeous left out on display.
A good cocktail tastes even better when sipped from a beautiful glass! Space permitting, group a collection of pretty tumblers, coupes and flutes in with your other bar elements.
I’d also recommend setting out some stylish bar tools. The process of mixing and creating is all part of the fun, and guests appreciate a little extra thought and effort put into their cocktail. From simple to professional-grade, there are a variety of tools out there to play with.
An array of interesting tonics, bitters and syrups is another thing that will elevate your set-up. Their apothecary-esque bottles add visual interest, while their unique flavors tempt guests to break free of the same-old G&T. (Never experimented with bitters before? Give them a try. Just a splash of these highly concentrated natural extracts is often all that’s needed to spice up a cocktail!)