I posted a photo on IG Stories of the Barbary I’m putting together, and got a ton of comments about how fancy I am. It’s true that I am bougie AF, but it’s not true that a bar cart has to be anything complicated.
When I got home a little over a week ago, my husband had eleventy-dozen bottles of whisky and one unopened bottle of gin in the house … and that’s it. I wanted to build an inexpensive bar that would satisfy my cocktail habit and be useful for entertaining, without leaving Bertrand with a bunch of shit he won’t use or drink when I hop on the plane to Islamabad in a few weeks.
A Simple Four-Bottle Bar
I’m a gin drinker and my favorite cocktail is a Negroni, so I selected bottles around that. My home bar has four bottles of liquor* that allow me to, with a few non-alcoholic extras, make literally dozens of cocktails.
- Sweet Vermouth
Does not include my husband’s whiskey collection.
Scotch: I prefer a Scotch blend that’s good enough to drink on it’s own, but not so expensive that I cringe when I use it in a cocktail.
Gin: Pick a London Dry rather than something Fresh! And! Floral! because you only get one bottle. Yeah, I know, I love Hendrick’s too, and if this were a five-bottle bar, I’d probably treat myself to a floral gin for the fifth bottle.
Sweet Vermouth: See the 375mL bottle sitting there? That’s because Vermouth oxidizes quickly and I don’t like to keep it in the fridge because I am L-A-Z-Y.
Campari: Yes, I should have bought a bigger bottle of this. No, you can’t replace it with Aperol, you heathen (Cynar, maybe).
Extras to keep on hand
- Soda Water
- Tonic Water
- Orange bitters (personal preference — angostura is OK too)
- Simple Syrup (make it yourself, store in the fridge for up to a month)
Extras to buy as you need them
- Ginger Beer (pretty much only for Gin Gin Mules, so optional)
- Other fresh fruit: berries of all sorts, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple
- Fresh herbs: Basil, Mint, Rosemary
I have an ice bucket and a cocktail shaker because I fucking love cocktails. You can also muddle with a spoon, shake cocktails in a mason jar and strain through a regular strainer.
And that’s it.
(I’m building cocktails just about every day w/ this set-up in my IG Stories, if you’d like to see just how much you can really do w/ this set-up.)