Bar carts are an entertaining essential and, these days, one of the most fun trends to accessorize.
Originating as tea trolleys in the Victorian era, beverage carts became a home for alcoholic elixirs after Prohibition ended. Bar carts gained popularity in the 1950s, when entertaining and cocktail hours became a cultural norm.
When home architecture began to include built-in wet bars and spaces for entertaining in the 1970s, the bar cart became an image of the past. But, with the resurgence of trends of bygone eras, bar carts have become a staple in interior design once more.
Bar carts are a versatile way to not only display your aperitifs but can also be used as side tables, nightstands and more.
Want one in your own home? All it takes is a little creativity and a few must-have items.
A variety of classic cocktails can be made with just these items: vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whiskey and bitters. Vermouth should also be at the top of your list: dry is a must for martini fans, while sweet allows you to make other drinks, like Manhattans. If you still want more variety, brandy and Aperol are great additions, as well as any flavored liqueur you enjoy (i.e., Cointreau, Frangelico, St. Germain).
Must-have mixers for your bar cart include tonic water, club soda, ginger beer and cola. In colder months, you may consider adding apple cider to the mix. These mixers give you the ability to create a drink for virtually any taste preference.
A few lemons, limes and oranges in a bowl are functional and decorative additions to a bar cart. Use them to make drinks, garnish, and add a pop of color to your cart.
A bar cart is nothing without the tools. You’ll need a cocktail shaker, measuring unit (like a jigger), stirring spoon, strainer, bar board, pairing knife, corkscrew and a variety of glasses. Additional options are an ice bucket, muddler, zester and cocktail picks. Bar tools come in a variety of styles, so you can easily find something that fits the aesthetic you’re aiming for.
Adding a plant or flower is another way to bring vibrancy to a bar cart. A simple clear or white vase never fails, but you can also pick something colorful or quirky.
If your cart isn’t too crammed by now, it’s time for the fun stuff. Adding a random object that speaks to you is the best way to complete your bar cart. Books, clocks, candlesticks and artwork are all great pieces to add that finishing touch.