Bottle and Can Opener
Probably the most important thing on any bar cart would be the essential item to open your bottles and cans, so you can make cocktails or pour a beverage in the first place. I’ve had cheaper models in the past, but for an opener that’ll last for years I recommend the Kuhn Rikon auto safety master opener. This thing can open bottles, cans, pull tops and screw tops, leaving a smooth, clean edge with one turn.
Cocktail Pitcher or Mixing Glass
I’ll admit, I didn’t have a proper mixing glass until recent years when I began stepping up my at-home mixology. Now it’s become a favorite item for making batch or pitcher cocktails. The hatch mixing glass from Crate and Barrel has become super popular, and so is the beaker large glass pourer from CB2. Sleek, cool, useful additions to your cart.
True story — my husband once worked as a waiter at an elegant restaurant, and the Oxo waiter’s corkscrew was THE must-have corkscrew that all of the staff were instructed to buy. That was maybe 20 years ago, and this thing is still going strong.
No proper bar cart is complete without a few wine tools
Jigger what? Jigga who? I can’t help but think that every time I use this standard bar tool — Vol. 2 Hard Knock Life was on repeat in my college years, forgive me! A jigger helps you measure a shot to perfection. I like the Oxo double jigger because it includes measurements for greater precision.
I’ve had my issues with standard stainless steel cocktail shakers and it led me to seek out alternatives. When you add ice or cold liquids to your stainless steel shakers, they tend to get stuck. Or the lids can be tricky to open. This is why I now prefer a screw-top shaker. I personally recommend the Stanley adventure happy hour shaker set, which is a stainless steel screw top shaker. And now there’s Shaker 33, which is described as “the best cocktail shaker since Prohibition.” It’s an elegantly packaged leak-proof shaker that easily locks in place, and includes a strainer.
There are two main kinds of cocktail strainers — click here for more details. The julep strainer is considered best for stirred drinks, and the Hawthorne strainer has that coil for catching smaller chunks of fruit pulp. The Absolut Elyx store sells really beautiful copper accessories and quirky drinking vessels for your home bar, and they offer a lovely copper julep strainer or Hawthorne strainer in a gift box.
Stirrer or spoon
You gotta have a cocktail stirrer or bar spoon in your bar car, it’s an essential necessity to mix your drinks. Elyx offers a copper bar spoon gift box, and Amazon has a set in two lengths for tall drinks as well. Fun fact — bar spoons or muddling spoons are traditionally twisted to assist in building a layered drink.
Wine bottle cutter
No proper bar cart is complete without a few wine tools, and Rabbit makes the essential best selling corkscrew + foil cutting tool for any connoisseur. There’s the original model, the vertical model which I think makes opening the bottle much easier, or you can go with the sleek electric automatic model for the ultimate ease in wine bottle opening.
A zester is more of a nice-to-have than an essential, but I appreciate having mine on deck. A real bartender generally has a tool that’s a zester, a citrus peeler, or grater for items like fresh nutmeg. Zyliss has a cute channel knife/citrus zester, and Rabbit has a 3-in-1 cocktail garnish tool that features a zester, peeler, and channel knife for making those cool curls of citrus peel to adorn your beverage.
A few other ideas for your bar cart would include a citrus reamer or hand-held juicer, whiskey stones or ice cube molds, and a classy ice bucket with tongs. And that’s pretty much it! All that’s left now is to decide what cocktail to make. Cheers!
5 o’Clock Somewhere is ZORA’s celebration of food, drink and fun! Check back here for more recipes and recommendations. Cheers!