When it comes to feeling grown up, there’s nothing quite like a bar cart to do the trick. This has been something I’ve been wanting for a while, but didn’t have the space until recently. Using a dresser without drawers as the base for our credenza and bar, we used items we had on hand to style it out.
Keep reading for the full post, bar cart essentials, and our favorite libations after the jump!
Of course you can purchase any bar cart, but I was looking for something that provided space and storage for entertaining essentials that would no longer fit in our kitchen. I love this idea and thought it would be the perfect addition to the empty space toward the end of our living room. By sanding down the rough spots of paint and giving it a fresh new coat, we were able to breathe new life into this dresser. Getting inexpensive plywood cut down, we placed these sheets of wood where the drawers once were, and gave additional reinforcement where the braces had broken down. It now provides great open shelving for platters, wood serving boards, and bowls we don’t use on the daily. We also added a great set of matte black stoneware from IKEA. We absolutely love it and can’t wait to feature it in some photoshoots for the fall season.
I personally believe every bar cart needs a bit of sparkle, some greenery, and pieces with a little soul. Keeping the palette neutral with pops of green, our bar cart keeps its order with a vintage silver tray for glass wear and a beautiful shaker. (We purchased our shaker on clearance a few seasons ago from the Anthropologie holiday collection and are so happy it finally has the place of honor it deserves.) Our liquor, mortar and pestle, and jigger stays put in a great vintage briefcase we were given a while ago. We love the way it keeps everything organized but adds a great and unexpected touch to the space.
Where to Begin with Liquors, Mixers, and Garnishes?
We slowly started acquiring our liquor collection by purchasing what we needed for specialty cocktails. It has taken a bit of time, but I can now confidently say we have the ability to make almost any drink we desire.
Whiskey/Bourbon- I’m a Kentucky girl so I will always have a Bourbon from my hometown. Currently, Bulleit bourbon is the bourbon of choice.
Gin- Smooth and clean
Tequila- Gold label Cuervo for the win. My margaritas are amazing and this plus some Patron is the trick
Rum- Mojitos anyone? This is a great base for all of those sweet and fruity drinks you like.
Vodka- Great for martinis. I usually do an olive or twist of lemon in my drink rather than consuming straight. Also if you’re looking to make some boosy popsicles, vodka or rum is great base.
TJ Margarita Mix- If I had loads of time, I would squeeze lime juice for hours to make margaritas. This base is great as it has simple ingredients and you can make margaritas in a snap. I love using it as a base for non-traditional margaritas as well. Whether it is peach, watermelon, or blood orange, it’s my go-to.
Patron- I use this orange liqueur in place of Cointreau and Triple Sec. It gives a more lux and full bodied flavor to drinks, keeping things pure and removing any artificial taste.
Vermouth- Smooth and dry. I love putting vermouth in my sangrias to bulk them up and to a classic martini to add a bit of smoothness.
Club soda/sparkling mineral water- Usually always on hand, as many cocktail recipes call for it. Mojito or a tequila collins anyone?
Your garnishes will largely depend on what cocktail you decide to make. We usually always have fresh citrus and olives on hand, in addition to a variety of fruits. I typically shorten bamboo skewers if I want to do a large garnish for a highball, if not everything goes on the rim of the glass or is balanced over the mouth with a toothpick.
We can’t recommend getting a jigger, cocktail shaker, and mortar enough. We use the mortar for muddling items in the glass. It’s super helpful for making things like moscow mules, mojitos, or mint juleps.
Ready to get started? Here are some great cocktail recipes to try.
Winter Citrus Sangria
Cranberry Pomegranate Sangria
The New Fashioned
Blood Orange Margaritas
Basil Gin Lemonade
Rosemary Bourbon Sour
Cranberry Orange Martini