If you are like my hubs and me, you love a good cocktail. We used to have cravings for certain cocktails all the time and never had the ingredients to make them ready to go. This is when we decided that 1. we needed a bar cart of some sort and 2. we needed to stock it with all the goods.
Our "bar cart" isn't really a cart, it's actually a dresser that Will already had and I just painted the drawer pulls gold. Yours doesn't need to be fancy either - it's the yummy things on the bar that matter, right?
Let's start out by talking about tools. You guys. As if I didn't love all kinds of tools and supplies already, bar tools are just the prettiest these days and I can't get enough. I snagged the tools above from Kettle & Brine and I'm totally obsessed. Here is a little list of things I keep in our bar:
- Double Jigger - This is the weird looking tool that has the ounce measurements on the end. It's so important when making the perfect cocktail!
- Bottle Opener - For opening all the yummy things, of course.
- Corkscrew - For opening even more yummy things.
- Tongs - For picking up fruit or ice or anything else
- Muddler - Great for squashing (or muddling!) goodies into your drink. The one above is from Kettle & Brine and made locally by frvrlnd. It feels amazing in your hand and has two different ends that are each super helpful. Beauty meets practicality - I'm sold.
- Stirrer - For mixing and stirring
- Shaker - Not pictured below, but we use this to shake ingredients together. Like this sweet gold one from West Elm.
- Strainer - Helps strain the liquid as you pour into your glass. Also not pictured, but you can find one in this super cool set also from West Elm.
- Cool Glasses - because presentation is everything, right? I'm kind of obsessed with these recycled glass tumblers from Kettle & Brine.
BOOZE + BITTERS + SYRUPS
The hubs and I fully restock our bar a few times a year. We both know what we love and choose booze (that rhymed) that we know we can make a lot of different drinks with. Our staple alcohol choices are below, but feel free to create your own list!
- Gin - I'm definitely a gin lady. Give me a gin and tonic and I'm a happy gal. Gin is in so many different cocktails (I even make Moscow Mules with gin these days), and it's also easy to throw with some tonic and lime and call it a day. Hendrick's gin is my go-to and it never disappoints.
- Whiskey - Rye or bourbon is totally up to you. Rye is a bit spicier and has a more peppery flavor while bourbon is sweeter. Will loves bourbon so that's what we like to keep around. He loves sipping on it all by its lonesome or in an Old Fashioned. Bulleit is a great basic bourbon at a super reasonable price and it's one of our go-tos.
- Tequila - I mean, there's really no way we can live in Texas, love Mexican food, and not have tequila for margaritas and Mexican martinis. We currently have a bottle of Don Julio 1942 Tequila and it's so. stinking. good.
- Light Rum - I'm all about a good mojito. It's such a yummy summer drink and can't be done without a good rum. Papa's Pilar is delicious and sweet and just yum.
Bitters bring a really great balance and depth to your drinks. They are also essential in making many classic cocktails (and they are just super fun to play around with!). I got Will this set of Fee Brothers Bitters for Christmas and he uses them all the time. The main ones you want to have around are orange bitters and Old Fashioned Aromatic Bitters since they are used in a lot of different cocktails.
"Simple Syrup" is used in too many cocktails to count and it's so easy to make. You can make it plain by using one part water, one part sugar. Or you can get fancy and infuse it with different flavors. In fact, it's your lucky day because I have included a simple little recipe to some rosemary infused simple syrup at the bottom of this post. You can add this to some gin with lemon juice, or even add it to lemonade (which is what I have done below!).
We also like to keep a few other things handy like vermouth (we love Martini vermouth), limes, lemons, and tonic water. What you have on your bar cart is totally up to you and what you like to drink. Make a little adventure out of it as you try different types of drinks and figure out what you like best!
ROSEMARY SIMPLE SYRUP
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 7-8 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Simmer until the sugar has dissolved - about 3 minutes
- Remove from heat and let cool completely. I leave the rosemary in until it has completely cooled. This allows the rosemary to really infuse into the syrup.
- I like to store mine in a jar in the fridge. If you add a couple drops of vodka to it, it will last longer.
- Add to your drink and enjoy!*
*In the image above, I added about 1/2 oz of rosemary simple syrup to a glass of lemonade.