13 Dec 2018 10 comments

Bar Cart Essentials.

Let’s chat cocktails!

If you’re familiar with my uploads on, well, actually all my platforms, you’ll know I’m partial to a cocktail. Okay, that’s probably an understatement. This gal loves a good boozy – but in my defence, the ol’ cheers-ing boomerang on Stories does a lot to ward off the regular newlywed pregnancy rumours. Heh.

Honestly though, I’m very much a quality over quantity girl and I’d much rather sip on one or two really good drinks over an entire evening, than go crazy on say, vodka and cokes – no disrespect for the humble drink of my student days, I’ve just got a taste for something a little more sophisticated in my late twenties!
Friday nights are usually reserved for Jord and I’s ‘gin and dinner’ eves, where we make dinner and have a couple of drinks at home, usually some form of cocktail he’s whipped up. I honestly look forward to those nights all week.

I wanted to share a few tips and tricks for building your own bar cart – this doesn’t have to be a drinks trolley, just a shelf in your home or a section of your kitchen cabinet even. It will upgrade your hostess skills in an instant, trust me on this one…

The Bottles

Given it’s the festive season and you’re likely to have a few visitors over the next few weeks, it’s wise to get your bar cart kitted out with a few different spirits and liqueurs. I thought I’d introduce to a few staples of mine and also a few more interesting additions…

Easy Staples

Of course, gin is a given. Who doesn’t love gin? I usually go for something a bit different each time, but my go-tos include Edinburgh Gin, Eden Mill, Bloom Gin and Isle of Harris. We are absolutely spoilt for choice here in Scotland, and I’m always happy to try local finds but I tend to come back to the few above.

I usually also have Absolute Vanilla on hand too, I find this upgrades just about any cocktail and is more fun than plain ol’ voddy.

Prosecco is another good ‘un (nothing fancy, just whatever’s on offer) because it’s so easy to create sparkling cocktails that require very minimal effort, and look like the perfect host while you’re at it. Add in any sort of flavoured liqueur (more on that below) or even a dash of nice cordial, a garnish or some edible glitter and you’re all set.

A bottle of Disoranno is ideal for Amaretto Sours (recipe here), and you can’t go wrong with Bailey’s. We’ve been enjoying the new Almond Dairy-Free version, although I’m still a big fan of the original.

Flavoured Favourites

Ahh now this is where it gets fun! There’s just so many liqueurs and flavoured gins available now, I always stock up on fruity versions and experiment. One of my most loved drinks is rhubarb gin (this is a good one) with soda water and fresh lime – so refreshing, with lots of flavour but never too sweet.

My favourite spirit of all time is probably the Eden Mill Love Gin, it’s beautiful; a really subtle hint of flavour but perfect in every drink! I always, always have a bottle of this on hand… although I can’t see it on my bar cart so maybe a bottle will come my way for Christmas?

The Edinburgh Gin liqueurs are perfect too; Rhubard & Ginger and Elderflower are two I’m rarely without. I add a splash to prosecco or add them to cocktails, they’re an easy way to add a little somethin’ somethin’ to a homemade creation.

Fancy Additions

Of course, you’re going to want to up your game a little at Christmas. Wrapping presents on Christmas Eve calls for a sexy lil somethin’ over ice – Bailey’s is an obvious choice, or you could whip up one of my Salted Caramel White Russians.
I also recommend a bottle of Frangelico, which is basically boozy Nutella in a glass! Have it over ice, or make my Nutella cocktails – these are heaven.

The Mozart Chocolate Liqueurs are also fun to work with, we have the Dark Chocolate one – perfect for these Chocolate Orange Martinis I love to make!

If you’re in to your Russians or espresso martinis, I adore the Salted Caramel Kahlua (although the original is awesome too), and I also found this Mr Black Cold Brew Liqueur for Jord – he loves it over ice, so simple but so delish.

The Mixers

A lot of what you create is down to your mixers, I love the Belvoir cordials and pressés but I find any big supermarket always has an impressive selection on offer.
Fever Tree tonic is our go-to because you can get mini cans that don’t go flat like a big bottle, which is perfect for the occasional evening drink.

I usually make sure I have elderflower cordial on my bar cart, as well as some rhubarb or raspberry cordial. Sparkling water is always a must too. Oh, and rose lemonade – so delicious!

If you’re in to margaritas or mojitos, having some flavoured syrups will up your cocktail game tenfold! I adore passionfruit margs, or any sort of strawberry cocktail, so good syrups like Monin or Teisseire are perfect.

A lot of cocktails like Amaretto Sours and classic margaritas call for simple syrup, which you can buy, or make at home by mixing equal parts sugar and boiling water (a cup of each, say) and then stirring to dissolve.

The Garnish…

What’s a drink without a garnish? We always have a ton of citrus fruit on hand for gin drinks (Jordan’s a G&T with lemon kinda guy, but I skip tonic for soda water and lots of fresh lime).
Fresh ingredients work best, so if you’re hosting stock up on some fresh herbs and colourful fruit – blackberries and raspberries are lovely at this time of year, and mint, sage, rosemary and thyme go perfectly with gin-based drinks. A slice of orange or lemon peel is lovely too.

For milky creations, go for a dusting of chocolate powder, crushed oreos, edible glitter or a popcorn or cinnamon rim. Go crazy!

The Tools

A good bar cart isn’t without a few tools! First up, my bar cart itself is from Oliver Bonas – I’ve had it for years and love it.
You’ll need a cocktail shaker, I’ve been through many in my time but our current one is the best I’ve found in terms of looking cute and being practical. If you want to up your game though, the Corkcicle ones are pretty awesome.

You’ll also need a jigger for measuring, and a bottle opener – I’ll pop some recommendations below, but these sets from Amazon pack in everything!

Don’t forget some pretty glasses too; Oliver Bonas, Anthropologie, IKEA and John Lewis always have a great selection, so make sure you get a few champagne saucers, some martini glasses and beautiful tumblrs.
Jordan and I have these Anthro initial glasses and they are perfect, especially with these ice trays! Just pop a giant ice cube in, add your gin, mixer and garnish and you are set!

I hope you found this helpful, I really think I could have gone on forever! Bar carts are so much fun, especially with all the pretty glassware and bottles of gin I keep coming across.
Has this inspired you to stock up this Christmas?

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  • These bar carts are so beautiful for any room. Very lovely! Joyeux Noel!

    ❄️🎅🏻🎄ROSES FOR FRIDAYS ❄️🎅🏻🎄 | by mia | A Creative Lifestyle Blog

  • Lisa Autumn

    I just lobe bar carts!

    x Lisa | lisaautumn.com

  • I’m currently 9 months pregnant, and almost ready to pop, and one thing I’ve missed is mine & my husbands ‘gin nights’ – I think knowing I cant have it makes me want it more too. Ha. Love your bar cart! We’d definitely like to get one in the new year.

  • Cee

    You could do a regular cocktail post. I love reading about new recipies.

  • Your decor posts are always my favorite <3 🙂 Love how you built your bar cart! It definitely has all of the essentials, and you don't sacrifice the aesthetics either!

    XO, Elizabeth T.

  • Gorgeous photos! Looks amazing 💕

    Arianna | Southernbelleforever.com

  • I love your cocktail cart! I am also partial to a cocktail and currently growing an Absolut Vodka collection, I am currently on my ninth bottle.

    Skye Mason

  • i absolutely love this little table you have going on and so perfect for this time of year xx


  • StrawberryMakeupBag

    I never ever make cocktails at home – I’m quite happy with a cold glass of rosè or beer & lemonade tbh – but the whole aesthetic of a bar cart makes me want to start. Your home posts are always goals and a pleasure to read! x

    Beatrice | Strawberry Makeup bag

  • Natalie Redman

    Ooo love that corner table!