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Sarah Scrimshire

Stock your Bar Cart Quickly in 20 Easy to Find Items

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Need to stock your bar? Or stock someone else’s bar? Let’s say you just moved into your new house and you are just getting into the world of mixology. Or you are putting together a wedding present for the happy new couple and want to stock their bar with the essentials. This blog is all you need to get started!

stock your bar

Let’s Start with the Tools!

Think about whether your items are going to be store on a bar cart, a cabinet, or maybe you just designed and build a bar in the basement of you home. You are going to want to think about containers that you may need to purchase to hold items in.

Each of these items I will attach links with throughout the article so be sure to look out for those! With that being said, lets move on to the tools you’ll need to succeed.

Mixing Glass and Bar Spoon

First up is a mixing glass and a bar spoon to stock your bar. Mixing glasses come in all sorts of textures so select the one that makes sense for you! The bar spoon is different than a regular spoon. The handle is tall and twisted because it helps stir the cocktail to a smooth texture.

Why Would you Stir a Cocktail?

Stirring a cocktail is a methodical and refined technique in mixology, chosen for its ability to delicately blend ingredients while maintaining the drink’s visual clarity. This approach is particularly suited for cocktails that require a gentle melding of flavors, preserving the subtle nuances of high-quality spirits and other delicate components.

By gradually introducing water through stirring, the cocktail achieves a balanced level of dilution, enhancing its taste without overpowering it. The result is a velvety texture that adds a layer of sophistication to the drinking experience. Unlike shaking, stirring introduces minimal air, making it an excellent choice for cocktails that demand a pristine appearance.

This technique is often chosen for presentations that exude elegance, served in stemmed glasses that showcase the drink’s purity. As a deliberate and unhurried process, stirring also carries a sense of ritual and artistry, appealing to those who appreciate the mastery of mixology.

Cocktail Shaker and Strainer

One of the most obvious needs to stock your bar is a cocktail shaker and strainer. Now, you’ll need a strainer with the mixing glass, too, but it mainly goes with the shaker category! There are two types of shakers that you can purchase- one with a strainer attached and one that you’ll need to purchase the strainer separately. Both are needed to stock your bar!

Why Would you Shake a Cocktail?

Shaking a cocktail introduces a burst of energy and dynamic fusion to the mix, making it an ideal technique for certain drinks. The vigorous agitation creates a captivating visual spectacle and rapidly chills the ingredients, resulting in a refreshing and invigorating libation. This method is particularly well-suited for cocktails that incorporate citrus juices, cream, or egg whites, as it effectively emulsifies and froths these elements, enhancing both texture and taste.

Additionally, shaking infuses the cocktail with air, releasing aromatic compounds and intensifying the aromatic bouquet. This lively approach to mixing not only transforms the ingredients into a harmonious blend but also imbues the drink with a vibrant and lively character that delights the senses.

Citrus Press and Jigger

Next up to stock your bar is a handheld citrus press and jigger! Now, you are probably going to want to purchase these in the same color scheme as your other items. You may even already own a citrus press, so if you do, that is perfectly fine and there really is no need to purchase another unless you want to keep the two separate!

A jigger is a specialized measuring tool used in bartending and mixology to accurately measure and pour specific amounts of liquids, typically for cocktails. It’s an essential tool for achieving consistency in cocktail recipes and ensuring that the right proportions of ingredients are used. Jiggers are often made of metal (stainless steel or copper) and come in various shapes and sizes, but they generally have two ends with different capacities.

The two sides of a jigger usually have different volume measurements, such as 1 ounce (30 milliliters) on one end and 1.5 ounces (45 milliliters) on the other. This design allows bartenders to easily measure different quantities of liquids for various cocktails. Some jiggers may have additional measurement marks on the inside to provide even more precise measurements.


Finally, to stock you bar, you are going to want to have a few different types of glassware.

Let’s start with a very versatile rocks glass. A rocks glass, also known as a lowball glass or an old-fashioned glass, is a short and sturdy tumbler designed for serving spirits “on the rocks” or over ice. It’s a versatile glassware commonly used in the world of cocktails and spirits. The design of a rocks glass typically includes a wide mouth and a thick base, which make it well-suited for various types of drinks and muddled ingredients. We have some rocks glasses, too, if you’d like to check those out here. These would be perfect to stock your bar!

Next, you’ll need a martini glass! These are perfect for serving martinis and other similar cocktails. The distinctive shape of a martini glass serves several functional and aesthetic purposes that enhance the martini-drinking experience. You can get wide-mouthed versions or even stemless! If you are short on space, a stemless version works great to stock your bar because you can stack them!

Spirits and More to Stock your Bar

Now, the part that lets you actually create cocktails- the spirits! In my opinion, there are 4 main spirits that you need to stock your bar and 4 main cordials or liqueurs. A cordial refers to two different things depending on the context: a sweet, often fruit-flavored liqueur and a concentrated, sweetened non-alcoholic syrup (you can make your own simple syrups to add flavor to your cocktails!

We’ve Got Spirit!

Lets stock the bar with our spirits first! Of course there are so many types, but the 4 most popular spirits for a broad range of cocktails are vodka, gin, bourbon, and tequila. Everyone has their own preferences, but here are just a few in each category to get you started until you find what you like the best!

For vodka, here are some of the best to choose from ranging in price ranges: Smirnoff (comes in many flavors that are great for mixing!) New Amsterdam, Tito’s, Grey Goose.

For gin, here are some of the best to choose from ranging in different price ranges: Hendrick’s, Tanqueray, Beefeater, and Boodles.

For bourbon, there are waaaaay too many to choose from, but here are some of my favorites: Buffalo Trace, Bulleit, Four Roses, and Evan Williams.

Finally, here are the tequila options: Jose Cuervo, Espolon, Avion, and Camarena.


Finally, you’ll need just a few coridals to stock your bar. These will help create a broad range of cocktails. There are many more, but these are perfect to begin your journey!

Campari– Campari is a well-known Italian alcoholic liqueur that is renowned for its distinctive and vibrant red color. It falls into the category of bitters and is often used as an aperitif in cocktails. Campari is made from a proprietary blend of herbs, spices, fruits, and other botanicals, resulting in a complex and bitter flavor profile.

Triple Sec– Triple sec is a sweet and colorless orange-flavored liqueur that is commonly used in cocktails. It is made from the dried peels of bitter and sweet oranges, which are distilled and combined with sugar. With a slightly bitter and vibrant citrus taste, triple sec adds a bright and aromatic dimension to drinks, making it a popular ingredient in a wide range of cocktails, from classics like the Margarita and Cosmopolitan to various tropical and fruity concoctions. Its versatility and ability to balance flavors make triple sec a staple in the world of mixology. You could also purchase Cointreau to stock your bar!

Elderflower– Elderflower is a delicate and fragrant blossom that comes from the elder tree. Known for its light and floral aroma, elderflower is often used to infuse beverages and culinary creations with a subtle and captivating sweetness. Elderflower is commonly used to make elderflower syrup or liqueur, which can be added to cocktails, sparkling water, teas, and desserts to impart a distinctive and elegant flavor. The floral and slightly fruity notes of elderflower contribute a unique and refreshing dimension to a variety of drinks and dishes, making it a sought-after ingredient in both mixology and culinary arts.

Irish Cream– Irish cream is a creamy liqueur that originated in Ireland and is known for its rich and indulgent flavor. It is made by combining Irish whiskey, cream, and often sweeteners, flavorings, and other additives. The result is a smooth and velvety liqueur with a distinctive blend of whiskey’s warmth and cream’s lusciousness.

If you have any other questions or suggestions on how to stock your bar, leave us a comment! Cheers!

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