Wade Cothran | Nov 24, 2021

How to Stock a Bar Cart: 6 Simple Tips

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Hey bartender! If you’re ready to trade in the shot glasses for a more sophisticated selection of your favorite liquors, building your own home bar is the way to go. 

Bar carts have quickly become one of the most popular trends circulating in home design. They’re sleek, functional, and an absolute necessity for hosting nights out on the patio or your next at-home soireè. 

Whether you’re new to mixing spirits or you’re basically the maître d’ of alcohol, we’ve curated a list to help get your bar cart rolling - keep reading for tips and tricks on how to style your bar cart.

Use these links to navigate the guide: 

tumbler with bar cart.


1. Set Your Budget

Alcohol can get pretty pricey, but keeping your cart stocked doesn’t have to break the bank. Decide how much you want to invest in your bar cart, considering a few different factors such as how often you’ll use it, what extra mix-ins you might want to keep on hand, or whether you’re going for practicality or aesthetics. 


If you're starting from scratch, setting a budget around $50 might be a good place to start. It’ll allow for at least 3 of your favorite bases and a couple mixers to make it on the shelves, plus you’ll get a solid foundation to keep you buzzed for a cozy night in! For the more adventitious party hosters, somewhere in the $100 - $150 range will keep you stocked and ready for a get-together any hour of the day.


2. Buy Base Spirits 

Vodka, Gin, Tequila, Whiskey, Rum. Pick your poison and stock up your cart with a few base spirits to start off. These will be the essential first ingredients in creating a variety of cocktails. 


Think of what your go-to drinks are made of and select about 2-3 of those spirits to start out for a $50 budget. From there, you can keep adding to your stock as your taste and creativity grows, or invest in higher-shelf novelty bottles if you’re willing to splurge!


While flavors can be a fun way to dress up liquor, we recommend avoiding them to start. You’ll be pretty limited on what you can make and may end up with clashing flavors - not to mention flavored drinks tend to hold a lower alcohol level than unflavored!

two cocktail glasses.


3. Know Your Favorite Cocktails

Time to start recipe building! Keep a list of the go-to drinks you’ll want to keep your bar cart stocked with for easy access. Make sure to include all your classic favorites, but if you’re in the market for new discoveries, check out these delicious whiskey cocktails.


 Additionally, make sure to shop around for new recipes to add to your collection when you're scanning the cocktail menu at your favorite restaurants so you can recreate them exactly how you like them at home.

Person pouring cocktails in tumblers.


4. Branch Out When You’re Ready

There’s nothing like a good Gin and Tonic or Margarita for happy hour - we all have our comfort cocktails and that’s okay! The basics are there for a reason, but why not try something new? There are many fun, flirty, and dirty cocktails waiting to become your new favorite creation.


Try different brands of spirits until you find one you like. Buying smaller bottles to start will save you a lot of time and money in sampling new brands. You can find almost any brand in a cute mini travel size bottle!


5. Gather Your Tools 

Tools can be a great way to make your cocktails feel more professional and can be a lot of fun to use in garnishing your drink experience. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Citrus juicer: This will be your best friend in the fruity drink world. What could be better than freshly squeezed lime juice to top off your Gimlet, Mojito, or Margarita?
  • Julep strainer: A classic go-to strainer for getting your drink to taste just how you ordered it. It’s designed to be held easily over your mixing glass and prevents any unwanted solids from flowing into your drink.
  • Fine-mesh strainer: Take your drink to the next level with a little extra filtration with a fine-mesh strainer. Hold it beneath a julep strainer to catch any excess particles. Often used for straining tea, these strainers are generally inexpensive, and you may even already have one in your kitchen!
  • Muddler: If you’ve got one of these, you really take your cocktails seriously. Why use miscellaneous kitchenware when you can use this fancy bartending tool to mash up spices, herbs, and fruits at the bottom of your glass to release their flavor. 
  • Jigger: A jigger acts as a dual sided measuring cup that’ll help you pour out just the right amount of alcohol for your drink - consistency is key!
  • Shaker Pint: Elevate your drink by shakin’ it up a bit with one of BrüMate’s shaker pints. Chill and mix your drinks in style!


While these are just a few of the many options out there to choose from, building your toolbox doesn’t have to be pricey. There are many inexpensive tools that get the job done if you’re favoring convenience. Of course you can always hit up the thrift store for a more cost (and eco!) friendly option.


6. Choose Your Drinkware

A solid foundation is essential in building any masterpiece, but so are the finishing touches! Which type of glasses you choose to stock your bar cart with are arguably just as important as choosing your liquor. Whether your style is classy and glassy, deco-designed, or just some of your favorite flea market finds, the type of drinkware you choose can really elevate that aesthetic you’re going for.

We recommend starting out with a selection of cocktail, rocks, and highball glasses. Lucky for you, BrüMate’s got a large variety of versatile glasses and tumblers to keep your drink ice cold for hours. We even offer the Fifth, a less expensive alternative to a decanter and the bottle of liquid it comes in. The Fifth is a 25 oz stainless steel liquor canteen designed to keep your liquor fresh. For those who like a coordinating set, check out the Fifth + Rocks or Shaker Pint + Martini sets! Featuring a wide variety of colors for different types of sipping, this drinkware you’ll definitely want to show off on your bar cart.

shaker pint with glass.


7. Entertain Your Guests! 


And voilà! Your bar cart is party-ready, indoors and out. Press send on those invites and make sure to keep your home bar well stocked and continuously growing for an envious collection of cocktail fixings. 


Who knows where the party might take you? Don’t forget to serve in a stylish and versatile BrüMate tumbler that's ready to keep your drink cold wherever you go. BrüMate’s got your back for all your boozy needs to keep you refreshed all day and night long -- in style, of course!