14 Items to Stock Your Bar Cart Like a Pro
From strainers to bottles to glasses, this is the best way to stock your bar cart
Nota bene: If you buy through the links in this article, we may earn a small share of the profits.
After you’ve found the ideal bar cart, the real fun begins. How are you going to stock it? You’ll need bottles. You’ll want some bar accessories. And then you’ll want the advice of drinks professionals. That part we’ve already accomplished: A little while back we asked some of our favorite people in the industry how to Marie Kondo your bar cart. Basically, remove what is no longer serving you (literally and philosophically), stock the bar with what you’d need to make your four or five favorite drinks — and keep the open vermouth in a fridge for heaven’s sake.
A shopping list to stock your bar cart:
- Nosing glasses
- Martini glasses
- Highballs glasses
- Old Fashioned glasses
- Bar spoon
- Mixing glass
- Ice bucket/tongs
- Two sets of shakers
- Hawthorne strainer
- Julep strainer
- Mesh strainer
- 4-5 spirits bottles
Anything that should go in the fridge (like the aforementioned vermouth, mixers, limes, etc.) or freezer (ice) we’ll forego for now, but you should have those items on hand.
Nosing Glass: The Glencairn (Set of 2)
There are fancier versions, but stick with the glass that you’ll find at pretty much any whisky festival around the world.
Martini Glass: NUDE Vintage (Set of 2)
This retro crystalline duo is a bit taller, heavier and sturdier than the usual martini glass — and aesthetically quite striking. Note: If you really want things to match on your cart, you could honestly get most of your glassware from NUDE.
Highball Glass: Riedel Drink-Specific Glassware Highball Glass (Set of 2)
Whisky highballs are great, but you can use these glasses for pretty much any spirit. Riedel makes some of our favorite wine glasses, but they also have a collection of drinks-specific glassware that they made with spirits specialist Zane Harris, all designed with the “size, shape, volume and capacity for ice” in mind.
Old Fashioned Glass: Stolzle New York Bar Double Old Fashioned Glasses (Set of 6)
If you want something a little different, try these dishwasher-safe glasses, which hold up to 11 ounces capacity and feature a weighted bottom. (You probably don’t need all six for the cart, but we do like these as everyday drinking glasses as well.)
Bitters: Hella 5-Flavor Bar Cocktail Bitters Set
You’ll want variety. Each set from Hella features five 1.7oz bottles of Smoked Chili, Citrus, Aromatic, Orange and Ginger bitters.
Bar spoon: Barfly Muddle Bar Spoon
Besides being available in multiple colorways, we like the Barfly for its dual weighted ends, twisted metal design (which makes gripping easy) and the muddler on the end.
Jiggers: Cocktail Kingdom Japanese Style Jiggers
Available in multiple sizes, these stainless steel feature interior markings so you can get precise measurements down to the quarter-ounce. They’re also available in copper-plated, gold-plated and matte black versions.
Mixing glass: Viski Extra Large Crystal Mixing Glass
This 800-milliliter mixing glass can accommodate a couple of drinks. It features a thickset base, precision pour spout and geometrically faceted sides.
Ice bucket: Tiken 3L Double-Wall Vacuum Insulated Ice Bucket
This is a versatile stainless steel ice bucket, featuring tongs with extra sharp teeth (for holding ice) and a strainer at the bottom that separates the ice from melted water.
Shaker: Elevated Craft Hybrid Cocktail Shaker
If you’re a drinks pro, you might want to consider a Boston shaker set like this well-regarded one from Cocktail Kingdom. But if want something with versatility that’s simpler to use, which has a double-wall vacuum insulated design (good for your hands, though it does make it more difficult to know how chilled your drink is getting), a no-leak twist lock lid and a measuring top that doubles as a jigger.
Hawthorne Strainer: Cocktail Kingdom Buswell 4-Prong Hawthorne Strainer
Available in multiple styles, the industry-loved Buswell fits most mixing glasses and has a nice heft to it.
Julep Strainer: A Bar Above Professional Bartender Julep Strainer
Ergonomically designed and a good fit for most mixing glasses, this Julep strainer has a large face and small holes — the better to filter out ice particles.
Mesh Strainer: Viski Cone Strainer
This professional-grade stainless steel mesh strainer can accommodate a full drink in a single pour.
Your booze: Whatever you want, but keep it versatile
The most important thing on your bar cart? The actual alcohol. As we’ve said before, you should have the bottles in your cart that can easily make your four or five favorite drinks. We tend to like spirits that are versatile in cocktails but good on their own, easily available, modestly over-proofed (so they stand up in drinks) and decently priced. With that in mind, we’d suggest Ten to One (rum), Wild Turkey 101 (bourbon), Ford’s (gin), El Luchador Blanco (tequila) and Absolut Elyx (vodka), but you can really choose what you want.
We've put in the work researching, reviewing and rounding up all the shirts, jackets, shoes and accessories you'll need this season, whether it's for yourself or for gifting purposes. Sign up here for weekly style inspo direct to your inbox.
InsideHook may earn a share of the profits.
Note that deals are subject to change at any time.
Suggested for you