1. the cart
finding the cart is a feat all in itself. shop flea markets, thrift stores and yardsales for a piece that you fall in love with. i use to live in an itty bitty apartment and my cart (from Ikea) was originally used as my kitchen table. i was first worried it would be too big for a bar cart, but our liquor collection is growing all the time and now i think it's gorgeous!
2. the liquors
over time, you'll be able to see which liquors you should buy more of and what is most popular in your house (ours are vodka & rum) but in order to be a great host and not have that awkward moment "oh, we don't have any ________ how about something else?" keep a few of each on your new bar.
there are 5 main liquors: vodka, tequila, rum, whiskey/bourbon and gin.
you keep one or two of these on hand and you'll be a rockstar bartender in no time. also, if you want to just start filling up space and building your collection, buy one top shelf liquor bottle -like the ones shown above- they are the best quality and one well bottle. "well" is considered cheaper and lower quality, but still perfectly fine for a bar cart. i get a lot of my mixers (margarita mix, bloody mary mix, etc. from TJ Maxx. the bottles are pretty and cheap!) in addition to your 5 core liquors, you will need things to mix them with. including: agave nectar, grenadine, and lime juice (these can stay out all the time) and fresh mint, bottles of tonic, club soda, pop and juices (refrigerate these)
4. glassware, pour spouts and everything else.
i keep 4 tall glasses, 4 short glasses and 6 shot glasses on the bar at all times (all from TJ Maxx) and a stack of plastic cups in case things are gettin' really rowdy! pour spouts will make pouring liquor waaay easier. attach them to the tops of your bottles before using them to allow for easy pours without spilling. just make sure to wash them after use to avoid bugs. wine bottle openers, beer bottle openers, muddlers, stir sticks and straws are also good to have around. i keep all of mine in a big see through glass jar. i think they're pretty!
there is no right or wrong way to organize a bar cart. whether you keep your bottles up top, your mixers in the middle or your glasses tucked away, it's all up to you. i do suggest trying to organize your bottles next to those in the same family. it will make drinking life more easy and creates a flow for your bar. example: tequila and triple sec are both used to making margaritas, so keep those bottles together. same goes for your bloody mary mix next to your vodkas!
a few quick TIPS:
-keep towels/papertowels around your cart
-buy a "drink mixing" book (ours is from urban outfitters) and keep it on your cart
- fresh flowers and other small odds and ends add personal character to your cart
-muddle your own mint and impress everyone around you
-keep glasses mouth down to avoid them getting dusty inside
-recycle your bottles. they are gorgeous (and cost you a pretty penny)
-make it your own. make it corky and tacky and fabulous!
-keep a chalkboard near your bar and post your "drink specials" for parties
- keep track of your creations!
-always remember... Liquor before beer, have no fear! Beer before liquor, you have never been sicker!