Master Sommelier Must-Haves for the Ultimate Cocktail Cart at Home

By Cameron Douglas, MS

Bar cart with flowers
Bringing the elegance of a professional cocktail bar to the comfort of your home is an art mastered by few.

However, with the right equipment and a well-curated selection of spirits and mixers, you can create a mobile cocktail cart that would impress even a master sommelier. Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas shares his bar cart must-haves including the essential equipment, glassware, garnishes, and a selection of alcoholic beverages to make your home cocktail cart truly exceptional.

Equipment Essentials:

  1. Boston Shaker: This classic shaker set is a must for creating cocktails that require a good shake, ensuring your ingredients are perfectly mixed.
  2. 3-Part Shaker: Ideal for drinks that need a vigorous shake and thorough mixing, like margaritas or fruity cocktails.
  3. Hawthorn Strainer: Use this to strain your cocktails and prevent ice or pulp from getting into the glass.
  4. Jigger: Having multiple jiggers (15 ml, 30 ml, and 45 ml) ensures precise measurements for your cocktails, allowing you to craft drinks with impeccable balance.
  5. Cocktail Jockey Glasses: Often referred to as Martini glasses, these elegant vessels are perfect for serving classic cocktails like martinis and daiquiris.
  6. Rocks Glasses: These short, sturdy glasses are perfect for serving whiskey-based cocktails over ice.
  7. HiBall Glasses: Ideal for highball and Collins-style cocktails, they accommodate both soda and your favourite spirits.
  8. Brandy Balloons: Essential for enjoying brandy or other sipping spirits, these glasses allow the aroma to fully develop.
  9. Cocktail Napkins: Not only do they add a touch of sophistication, but they are also practical for wiping up spills.
  10. Garnishes: Keep a selection of lemon and lime wedges, as well as maraschino cherries, to add that finishing touch to your cocktails.
  11. Waiter’s Friend (Corkscrew): A high-quality corkscrew is essential for opening wine bottles and ensuring a smooth pour.
  12. Beer Cap Remover: In case you or your guests prefer a refreshing beer.
  13. Cotton Napkins: These versatile napkins serve various purposes, from wiping surfaces to creating a stylish backdrop for your cart.

The Beverage Selection:

  1. Gin: A versatile spirit for classics like the Martini and Gin and Tonic.
  2. Vodka: A staple in countless cocktails, from the simple Vodka Soda to more complex recipes.
  3. White Rum: Essential for crafting tropical drinks like Mojitos and Piña Coladas.
  4. Dark Rum: Perfect for creating rich and robust cocktails like the Dark and Stormy or Mai Tai.
  5. Brandy: An excellent choice for sipping and for creating classics like the Sidecar.
  6. Bourbon: The backbone of many classic cocktails, including the Old Fashioned and the Mint Julep.
  7. Tonic and Soda: These mixers are a necessity for creating a wide variety of highballs and refreshing cocktails.
  8. Various Liqueurs: Curate a selection of liqueurs such as triple sec, amaretto, and coffee liqueur to expand your cocktail repertoire.

With these equipment essentials and a well-stocked selection of spirits and mixers, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of crafting exquisite cocktails at home. Enjoy the journey of exploring new recipes and refining your mixology skills as you entertain friends and family with your mobile cocktail cart. Cheers!


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