How to Stock Your Holiday Bar Cart

With the Thanksgiving craziness behind us, we have a little bit of down time from entertaining friends and family to clean and organize our house, and start prepping for the month of December and all of the holiday parties (impromptu or not) and celebrations the month has in store for us.

While we seldom forget to do our standard chores like housekeeping and decorating for the season, other projects might slip our minds — like making sure the bar cart is fully stocked and ready to go! For the entire month of December, we have some amazing buys on wines, spirits and beers to make certain that your bar cart doesn’t go dry this holiday season. Take a moment to stock up, and spend more time being a star host and enjoying your guests!

We’re going to use the term “bar cart” to refer to your in-home bar, no matter what type of surface it may be on. If you don’t have an actual bar cart, which are quite in style these days, a traditional bar or large counter top to use, there are some creative alternatives. A bookshelf, dresser or other repurposed cabinet or space can function as your bar, as well.

The main components of your bar cart can be broken down into three groups: alcohol, mixers/garnishes and glassware/tools. Here we’ll go into a little more detail about each, so you’re sure to have all of the basics covered.


* Scotch, Bourbon or American Rye Whiskey: It’s always a great idea to have at least one of these brown spirits as part of your bar cart. Two of these that we’re really excited about are the Bulleit Bourbon and Bulleit Rye Whiskey. They’re perfect served on the rocks or as the base of your Manhattan or Old Fashioned.

* Vodka: This is one of the “work horses” in the spirits world, serving as the base of many a cocktail. Select one with minimal taste, a smooth texture and no burn as your best bet for a range of drinks.

* Gin: This spirit was meant for mixing in cocktails, and is, therefore, a perfect addition to your bar.

* Rum: If you’re looking for a nice sipping rum, or to elevate your rum-based cocktails a level, look no further than the Pyrat Rum. It is a blend of rums from all over the Caribbean, which is then aged in French Limousin and American Oak barrels.

* Tequila: Just because its winter doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a nice Margarita or Paloma. We recommend using the Corralejo Tequila Reposado for your agave needs. It is crafted from 100% agave and has a refreshing nose of grapefruit and lime, finishing with citrus and vanilla wood tones on the palate.

Mixers & Garnishes

The group of spirits mentioned above serves as the foundation, but mixers and garnishes are a very important component to your bar cart. No Margarita, Manhattan, or Martini would be complete without them. Here is the list that will set you up for a huge range of possibilities:

* Sweet & Dry Vermouth

* Tonic Water

* Club Soda

* Simple Syrup

* Bitters

* Lemons

* Limes

* Oranges

* Cherries

* Olives

Glassware & Tools

There’s no need to go overboard with glassware — simplicity is good. If you’re going to serve wine, a single glass for both white wine and red wine is perfect. For cocktails, having both a martini glass and a highball glass available is best. When it comes to tools, keeping it simple is best there too. A cocktail shaker, jigger, bar spoon, small knife, and ice bucket should serve most, if not all of your bar cart needs.

Oliver’s is happy to carry everything you need to build the holiday bar cart of your dreams, and if you do it in December, you can also be proud of the money you save in the process. Add a few bottles of mid-range red and white wine to your list, perhaps some sparkling wine or Champagne, and pick up a couple of styles of beer ranging from light Pilsner style to heavier IPA, and you will have something for every guest. Cheers!

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