With summer here and the chance to socialize back on the table, the time has come to upgrade your barware — or start from scratch if you’re finally ready to play host. Not that we are judging your stash of Solo Cups or the fact that you still open beers off of the edge of your kitchen counter. But the right equipment can be both useful and eye-catching.
If you have done the work of getting a bar cart or are thinking about getting one, you may need to stock up on the best bar cart accessories. And we’re not just talking about bottles of scotch, vodka or the rum you grabbed at duty-free on your way back from your last Caribbean vacation. Maybe you want some stirrers, a shaker or those nice and pricey-looking diamond-cut glasses. Glassware in particular is important, depending on the drink you are making (martini vs. old-fashioned, for example).
SPY brings you a list of essential bar cart accessories to take you from amateur to pro home bartender. And note: no whiskey stones included here, because they are completely useless!
1. Highball & Chaser Gunmetal Plated Premium Bartender Kit
The secret to making great drinks is to have the right tools. For those who like their martinis shaken or stirred, the Highball & Chaser Bartender Kit has you covered. If a mojito is your drink of choice, there is a muddler in the set to release the mint leaves’ flavor. It also comes with a mesh strainer, bar knife for cutting fruit, a lemon zester, can and wine opener and a scoop. They all fit nicely on the bamboo stand that is included. It is available in five colors, but we are partial to gunmetal black.
2. Le Chateau Wine Decanter
If you are a wine drinker, you know the importance of having a good decanter. It should be hand-blown and lead-free so that you can use it to aerate your merlot, cabernet, pinot noir or even port. The Le Chateau Wine Decanter works well with your favorite wine by really opening up the palate for maximum enjoyment.
3. The Pioneer Woman Adeline 1.59-Liter Glass Pitcher
If you prefer to use your wine to create sangria instead of drinking it straight, or you want to have premixed drinks available for your guests, then The Pioneer Woman Adeline Glass Pitcher is a good option. It also proves that you don’t have to spend a fortune on your bar cart accessories. It is available in different hues, but we say get the turquoise and add a splash of color to your bar.
4. Williams Sonoma Specialty Barware Collection
Having an assortment of different styles of glasses is really helpful when making drinks. Sometimes you need a coupe, other drinks call for a tall highball glass and an old-fashioned should be served in a tumbler. This complete set of the Williams Sonoma specialty barware collection will keep you covered, from martinis to champagne, cognacs and a simple dram of whisky.
5. Sphere & Cube Ice Cube Molds
Ice cubes shaped like spheres and large cubes don’t just feel more sophisticated, they can also enhance the cocktail experience. With the $13 ROTTAY ice cube trays, you get silicone molds for making both spherical and cubic ice for your cocktail creations.
The VoChill wine cooler is one of those things that you never realized you needed, but once you know that it exists you can’t get it in your hands soon enough. It helps your white wines stay chilled, and if you believe in adding a touch of cool to your reds, it can do that too.
7. Steel Cocktail Picks
Cocktail picks are an often overlooked home bar item, but they are crucial to making certain drinks. Fortunately, there are some stylish and inexpensive options. Use these simple stainless steel picks to garnish your martini with an olive, your gibson with a pickled onion or your gin and tonic with a slice of cucumber or lime.
8. Project 62 Stainless Steel Ice Bucket with Tongs, Gold
Add some style and pizzazz to your bar cart with Project 62 Stainless Steel Ice Bucket in gold. It comes with tongs so that you can easily pluck the required amount of ice for sipping on a Manhattan, a gin and tonic or a refreshing mai tai.
9. Godinger Pineapple Beverage Dispenser
If a punch bowl seems too posh, try this chic take on it that minimizes splashes. You can mix up drinks for a group, and people can serve themselves while you mingle. Plus they make just about any beverage look really pretty. Even better, there’s no reason why this can’t be in use every day of the summer, offering up water infused with your favorite fruits.
10. Threshold Marble and Wood Coaster Set
Threshold Marble and Wood Coaster Set is a chic and modern way of keeping water rings off of your furniture. They are made from gray marble and wood in equal proportions to create an edgy yet practical item. And while they are unique, they are also versatile enough to add a little something extra to any decor.
11. Travel Bartender Kit
Sometimes you want to bring your home bar with you on the go. Perhaps you are making drinks for friends at a party, or going away for the weekend, or maybe just mixing up some drinks at someone else’s backyard barbecue. This travel bartender kit is perfect for those situations, with all the equipment you need (aside from the booze) wrapped up in a tote bag.
12. Cocktail Smoking Kit
Some might argue that smoking cocktails is a little dated. But it’s still a fun experiment to add a layer of smoke to your old fashioned, Manhattan or negroni. This compact kit gives you four flavor options: maple, oak, cherry and hickory. Each will bring a different smoky flavor profile to your drink, and visually it’s pretty impressive if you’re doing it in front of guests.
13. Glencairn Whisky Glasses
When it comes to sipping whiskey, any type at all, there’s no better glass than the Glencairn. This classic vessel is shaped to perfectly allow you to nose and sip whisky, particularly single malt scotch, and is an essential part of any home bar. This set of four glasses allows you to sip and enjoy with friends and compare tasting notes at home.
14. Luxardo Maraschino Cherries
When it comes to garnishing your Manhattan, there’s really only one option worth your money: Luxardo. These cherries strike the perfect balance between sweet and tart, and are a far cry from the bright red, artificially colored sugar bombs you remember from your childhood ice cream sundaes. These are a little on the pricy side, but well worth it.
15. Riedel Nick & Nora Glasses
Martini glasses can feel a little dated. While coupe glasses are a great alternative, consider the Nick & Nora as well. Named after characters from the classic book The Thin Man, and brought to life by famed bartender Dale DeGroff, these glasses from Riedel are elegant and attractive, and the perfect vessel for your Martini, Manhattan or even a classic Daiquiri.
16. Waterford Tumblers
There are many options for old-fashioned tumblers, but Waterford’s is worth checking out. These glasses are beautifully made from lead-free crystal, and have a weight and heft that lets you know the quality is high. These are the perfect glasses to whip up some old fashioneds with, whether you are choosing bourbon, rye, rum or even anejo tequila.
17. Threshold Stainless Steel Hammered Mug Copper
Moscow mules are always popular, and it probably isn’t only the refreshing combination of ginger beer, lime and vodka. We suspect it could also have something to do with the copper-colored mugs that they are typically served in. These Threshold Stainless Steel Hammered Mugs are shaped a little different from the typical mug, but that is what makes them among some of the best bar cart accessories.
18. Wooden Cocktail Muddler
These elegant cocktail muddlers come in sizes for both cocktail shakers and pitchers. Whip up the perfect batch of sangria for friends or enjoy an old-fashioned after a long day at work — dealer’s choice.