the bar cart

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When I moved into my new place and had virtually nothing I made the most out of an old dresser and the alcohol in my freezer by setting up a little bar area. It warmed the place up instantly, felt lived in. Now that my little abode is coming together quite nicely (new couches coming this week – wooop!) I’m re-thinking the bar sitch. A vintage bar cart stocked just right so needs to happen, agreed? Agreed!

That’s where my recent bar cart stocking research comes in: basic equipment + essential liquors + handful of mixers = endless mean drink combos. Here’s what I’ve boiled it down to:

The tools: Cocktail shaker, strainer, bar spoon, muddler, jigger, swizzle stick, corkscrew, bottle opener.

The liquor: Cognac, white rum, gin, bourbon, vodka, tequila.

The mixers: Cointreau, red vermouth, white vermouth, bitters.

Other: Glassware (6-8 of each: short glasses, tall glass and stems), snazzy seltzer bottle, ice bucket, garnish dishes, cocktail picks. These stainless steel ice cubes aren’t necessary but are sooo necessary if you know what I’m saying.

And then of course you need a solid drink line-up. Three good ones to know: The manhattan, The martini, The sidecar. How-to for each after the jump!

And by all means, please feel free to share your go-to cocktails. I’m a lady on a mish!

The Manhattan:

You will need:
3 parts Canadian or Rye Whiskey
1 part Sweet (Red) Vermouth
1 dash bitters

Make in mixing glass filled with ice. Stir until very cold (stirring is very important to help the ice melt to water it down a bit and make it more palatable). Pour into cocktail glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

The sidecar:

You will need:
3/4 ounce Cointreau
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1 1/2 ounces cognac

Shake over ice and pour into sugar rimmed glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

The Martini:

You will need:
4 parts Gin
1 part dry vermouth (sometimes called French or white vermouth)

Pour all ingredients into mixing glass over ice and stir well. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Squeeze lemon peel over the drink, discard. Garnish with one green olive.

Martini variations:

The variations on the Martini could fill a whole book. Keep in mind there is no “right” way, only the way you want your drink. I’ll list a few of the most popular.

Vodka Martini: use vodka in place of gin, garnish with lemon twist

Churchill: A Martini with no vermouth. Basically cold gin in a glass. Legend has it Churchill would “look in the direction of France” and that would be plenty of vermouth.

Roosevelt: Two olives instead of one. Even number of olives is considered bad luck by some.

Dirty Martini: Add olive brine to taste.

Burnt Martini: Uses scotch instead of vermouth.

Buckeye: Martini with a black olive.

Gibson: Martini with an onion instead of an olive.

Dickens: Martini with no garnish. No “olive or twist”.

Vesper Martini: 3 parts Gin, 1 part Vodka, 1/2 part Lillet, lemon twist, shaken, not stirred. James Bond’s martini. Also called a 007.

Photos and sources: Pinterest, Martha Stewart & Art of Manliness

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  1. I would add campari and creme de cassis to that list (and a bottle of champagne in the fridge, along with some limes, lemons and oranges).

  2. I think I finally knew I had reached adulthood when I set up a bar in my house. These pictures make me feel like it might be time to shop for a cart and update it.

    Drink obsession of the moment. Lemonade by the Bay

    Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey
    Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
    Simple Syrup

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