5 Bar Cart Essentials Every Home Hostess Should Have

bar cart essentials every home hostess should have.jpg

This is NOT a sponsored post with affiliate links, just a girl giving suggestions based on products I love. 

Hey y’all! Today we’re talking about the 5 bar cart essentials every home hostess (or host) should have. If you’re place is the hot spot for pre-dinner cocktails or parties, then we’ve got to make sure you have all the proper tools to make incredible drinks for your guests. There are literally hundreds of drinks you can make with just a few key bar cart essentials.  You really don’t need a loaded bar tool kit to create an impressive cocktail. I’ve looked at tons of websites and in-stores for the best home bar tools, and here are my suggested essentials and favorite finds:

1. A solid shaker.

Vegan whiskey sour #cocktail that's only 4 ingredients and minutes to make #whiskey #cocktails.jpg

This might seem obvious, but you wouldn’t believe the number of folks that have asked me, “Do I really need a cocktail shaker?” I actually had this thought myself in the beginning of my homemade cocktail-making days. Trust me though, you really need a designated shaker with a lid & strainer. You may get lucky and find 2 glasses you already have that magically fit together like a single-wall shaker you see some bartenders using. However, I wouldn’t advise it. I made this mistake myself and ended up spilling the drink all over myself AND wasting the ingredients. So, save yourself the stress and invest in a good cocktail shaker. It really is a game changer!

It’s important to get one that’s functional, but also sleek enough to be a nice compliment to your event or even just sit on your bar cart (or designated barware area) at home. That’s why I love this one I have from Williams-Sonoma. It’s beautiful, but also highly functional. The lid stays on wonderfully and there aren’t any leaks when shaking up a concoction. Not all shakers are made equal; there are some really cute ones out there that just don’t do the job well. If the lid doesn’t secure tightly enough to keep all the liquid inside then you end up with a sticky mess AND potentially a loss of ingredients (which is the WORST – especially for a host/hostess). You can avoid this by buying a reliable shaker to start with. There are a lot of great options out there for a shaker, but I particularly like the listed Williams-Sonoma brand.

2. A muddler.

5 bar cart essentials every home hostess should have

When you start muddling things fresh herbs like mint or rosemary in your drink, you really start to feel fancy. Muddling herbs in your cocktail will take the taste to the next level. This is another tool that I thought, “I don’t need a tool for that, I’ll just mince or rub the herb then throw it into the shaker.” It’s a good thought in theory, but the muddler does make a big difference. I think there’s something about mashing together fresh herbs with the alcohol that really infuses it into the drink in a way that nothing else can.

The muddler makes ALL the difference in this recipe here, here, and here.

I really love this chic Bamber Wood one that can be found on Amazon made with eco-friendly wood. You can find muddlers everywhere, so check it out the next time you come across one. You’ll wonder what you ever did before using a muddler once you start creating cocktails muddling fresh herbs.

3. A long bar spoon.

5 bar cart essentials every home hostess should have

As we know, not all drinks are shaken. The way to achieve a really cold cocktail without shaking it is by stirring your ingredients together with ice for a set amount of time. Take this All-Natural Appletini, for example, the long spoon is crucial in helping cool down the cocktail temp for such a strong vodka. For this bar tool essential recommendation, I have to admit that you technically could just use a big spoon you already have. HOWEVER, let me explain the few pros of using a long stir spoon vs. a regular spoon.

  • You can reach all the way to the bottom of the shaker and stir any syrups or ingredients that settle easier.
  • It’s easier and faster to stir with the long, skinny spoon.
  • It just down-right looks cool! Aren’t you just mesmerized when bartenders are stirring up a concoction with these long spoons at a swanky bar? They look like scientists back there creating something – it’s cool! You can have this cool-factor yourself by having one in your bar cart at home.
5 bar cart essentials for every home hostess

I especially enjoy using this one from Sur La Table. I love the color, I love the shape, and I always get compliments on it at home and in my photos! The best part is they’re pretty low-cost but such a high-impact tool to have at your home bar.

4. A citrus juicer.

5 bar cart essentials every home hostess should have

As you know (or if you don’t, check out this oldie but goodie) I don’t buy fancy mixers or liquors. Just like everything else in my life, I try to make cocktails as simply and naturally as possible. So there’s a LOT of citrus action happening in my drinks. It really makes a huge difference to balance out the spikiness of the alcohol. All of my favorite cocktail recipes have some element of lemon, lime, or grapefruit. You’ll need a good hand-held juicer like this to help you collect and measure the juice of the citrus.

I recommend a juicer like this over the lemon squeezers because no 2 lemons or limes I buy for drinks are uniform in size. I like something with a pourable spout to measure how much juice I was able to squeeze out of the citrus. Plus, I personally don’t care for the threat of being stung in the face and eyes from lemon juice. I’m really digging this stainless steel one from amazon. We were gifted one with a plastic top, which works great for us, but if I were to pick out one all over again, I’d totally go for one like this.

5. A Jigger.

5 bar cart essentials every home hostess should have

A jigger is your multi-purpose measuring tool for cocktail recipes. For a long time, I called it the “alcohol-measuring-thingy”. To me, making a cocktail is similar to baking, because you’ve got to make sure your measurement ratios are correct to create the perfect recipe. I love a double-sided jigger like this one for every drink.

Even if you’re not mixing a specialty craft cocktail, it’s good to have a handle on your liquor measurements versus free-hand pouring. It ensures all your whiskey gingers or vodka tonics are the same, and no one’s is stronger than the other. ;) Check out this classic jigger from Sure La Table. 

Nice to have’s:

A shot pourer.

I wouldn’t say these are absolutely necessary, but they sure are great for measuring amounts and controlling the liquor pour. It can be tedious to measure a brand-new bottle of gin into a small jigger, so the shot pourer really helps with that. They’re also great for serving up classic drinks that you don’t need a recipe and again, you can keep measurements consistent and conservative. I like this one from Sur La Table. 


Since you’re a regular hostess or host of soirée, then you probably already have a nice collection of glassware. I would like to throw out a few new and note-worthy pieces that would make an excellent addition to any collection though!

I’m obsessed with these beautiful unique vintage-style mismatched cape champagne glasses from West Elm made of 100% recycled glass in Africa. So chic and so eco-friendly. I love it!

Similarly, you need to have some double old-fashioned glasses. It’s perfect for the classic drink lover and these instantly make anyone look more sophisticated while holding one. These from Pottery Barn are another cool purchase you can feel about because they are handmade of recycled blown glass.

A bar cart itself!

Okay, I have a confession to make, I don’t actually have a bar cart myself…. Yet! Since John & I are going through home renovations, I don’t know where I would put it or what style we would settle on until the house is finished. I really want one though, it’s definitely on my Christmas list (never too early to start!).

I absolutely love this one from West Elm. It’s a great size that’s made with eucalyptus wood base with a walnut finish and antique brass rails & casters. I also really appreciate that it’s made in a Fair Trade Certified facility. This looks like a quality piece that would stand the test of time.

The bar cart seems to have made a reappearance in home trends within the last few years. I know a lot of you trendy folks out there may already have one, which is awesome! Bar carts aren’t just cute, they’re really handy when serving up some delicious cocktails. You don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen away from the rest of the party, so a bar cart is a decorative but functional piece of your gathering!

5 bar cart essentials every home hostess should have

Making a craft cocktail for your guests is going the extra mile that puts a special touch on an evening. I love when parties have signature cocktails especially for the event. It’s a classic talking point with new folks you’ve never met, “Have you tried the smash?”. It’s also entertaining to watch and allows the party hostess or host to really show off some skills. You just need to make sure you have the essentials in your bar cart so that it’s not just housing flowers and a cute picture of you and your dog (thought that’s adorable).

Those are my bar cart essentials and nice-to-have recommendations for all the awesome hostesses and hosts that are gearing up to host all the holiday parties ahead!

What are YOUR favorite bar cart essentials? Comment below and let me know!

Here’s to great drinks made by great hostesses with the perfect tools… Cheers!