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Everything You Need for a Bar Cart Built to Impress

Maybe you love to entertain, maybe you and your honey like mixing fancy little cocktails for cozy date nights at home, or maybe you just like to unwind at the end of the day with a nice stiff drink. No matter how you imbibe, do it in style. And that means having a bar cart and all the requisite accouterments. 

The world of drinking accessories—especially those geared toward men—is saturated with trendy and, frankly, cringe-worthy crap: whiskey stones, cocktail books that look more like props, glassware for guys still idolizing Don Draper. But the year is 2023, it’s time to build the modern drinker’s bar cart. 

What the Experts Say

Award-winning food writer Jeremy Schneider has imbibed with the best of the best, and his list of must-haves is a coveted one. At the top of that list is a good Boston Shaker. “James Bond takes his martinis shaken, never stirred,” he says. “I might not like martinis, but I sure love shaking a cocktail in one of these things. It’s fun and makes me feel like I’m a fancy bartender at a pretentious cocktail bar! But honestly, many of the best drinks require a shaker. Get one.”

Next on his list is a jigger to make sure you’re measuring things properly. “You could just measure out your liquor in a shot glass. That’s what we did in college, right? This isn’t a frat party, this is your personal bar cart. Let’s keep it classy, and keep it precise as we craft our cocktails, shall we?”

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Finally, he says a muddler is an absolute must. “You could use the back of a spoon to crush herbs, fruit and other cocktail ingredients. A muddler does it much more effectively, and looks much more impressive.”

Roberto Cibrian, the General Manager of Drink, an award winning craft cocktail bar in Boston, has a similar list of essentials. According to Cibrian, a jigger is the most important of them all. “Don’t get anything with a handle,” he says. “You want something long and narrow (more precise overall) and preferably non-plated metal. The plating will wear off over time and you’ll get metal flecks in your drinks! We use 1oz / 2oz japanese style jiggers at Drink, but for the home, I recommend having two styles: 1oz/2oz and .5oz/.75oz.  This gives you plenty of options for making drinks of different proportions.”

Courtesy of Anthropologie


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It’s hard to keep all your bar essentials together without, well, a bar cart. The market is saturated with gold-toned options with glass uppers and trendy gimmicks. The latest chic take though is rattan, like this one from Anthropologie, a timeless option making a comeback. 

Courtesy of Williams Sonoma


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There are a bunch of trendy places one can buy bar gear like shakers and tongs, but for durable, well-made, and classic essentials, look no further than this kit from Williams Sonoma, which includes pretty much everything needed for most classic cocktail preparation.  

Courtesy of Cocktail Kingdom


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Cibrian also has some pro-tips when it comes to purchasing a shaker as well. “We use standard Boston shakers made by Koriko,” he says. “You’ll see cobbler shakers everywhere online (the kind with the built in strainer cap), don’t get these. The strainer cap gets stuck all the time and is not as useful as you would think. For a stirring tin, I prefer to use a stainless steel non-plated style tin with pour spout. The glass ones are lovely and work perfectly well, but they will eventually break and it is hard to tell when your drink is properly chilled without over diluting the beverage when you use one.”

Courtesy of Drizly

$20.00 – $2,500

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Bar carts have to be stocked with alcohol at some point. Each drinker knows what he or she likes and how to keep those ingredients on-hand. For those looking to entertain though, having some base liquor staples around—whiskey, tequila, vodka, gin, etc.—is always going to be handy. You could stop by your local liquor store for these, or have them delivered through Drizly. 

Courtesy of Total Wine


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Another recommendation courtesy of Mr. Schneider; this critical ingredient is a versatile and welcomed addition to your mixed drinks. “Good luck making an old-fashioned, martini, Manhattan or Negroni without them,” he says. “Plus? Bitters and soda is a vastly underrated non-alcoholic drink, and it settles your tummy.”

Courtesy of Schoolhouse


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To clean up spills with, to set a drink down on, to wipe condensation off a glass or pitcher—it’s always helpful to have one handy. This red and white checked option has a picnic-y vibe that makes it perfect for a summer bar party.

Courtesy of Anthropologie

$29.95 $42.00

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No bar cart is complete without an ice bucket. Whether its warm from the weather outside or so many people crammed into an apartment, having a place where people can freshen up and cool down drinks is key. Skip the metal ones that look like they’ve been stolen from a B+ hotel, or any bulky ceramic ones, and opt for this Murano glass one that will make you feel like you’re drinking your cocktail on an Italian balcony all year round.