Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Stocking My Bar Cart

My approach to stocking my bar or bar cart is very similar to my approach with cooking. Classics are a must, but don’t be afraid to put a twist on them! When stocking a bar cart you need some staples such as whiskey, vodka, gin, and scotch. You will also need some basic mixers like club soda and tonic water. Finally, you will need glassware. Glassware for the various types of cocktails and carafes and pitchers for things like juices, simple syrup, and ice. You may notice that I don’t include wine here. It is my preference to keep wines separate from spirits.

Once you have the basics, then you can start to add the fun and interest to your cart. My absolute favorite thing to add to my bart cart is some specialty small crafted spirits. You may find a locally produced spirit in your area that you have never tried. My personal favorite is a selection of whiskey, gin, and vodka from a distillery located less than an hour from my home. Thirteenth Colony Distillery was the first legal distillery in my home state of Georgia and I have enjoyed their spirits in both cocktails and in recipes from my kitchen as well! Finding something unique to add to your bar cart creates opportunities to try a new spirit in a classic cocktail and even something totally new. Some of the spirit makers have created signature cocktails with their products and you can find all sorts of refreshing new ideas on their websites! I love the idea of using a specialty drink at a party already prepared in a pretty pitcher that people can help themselves to easily. These specialty drinks are always great conversation starters at any party.

Now that you have your spirits in place it is time to accessorize. Just like a well appointed dinner table, your bar cart can take on any look that you want from traditional to contemporary, dressy to casual, with what you choose to fill it with. When thinking of the glassware you want to use, go with what fits your taste. I am very classic, so I like to collect things like sterling silver julep cups and crystal decanters. I also like to use a mini clear glass ice bucket as a vase to hold fresh herbs for guests to use as garnish in their cocktails or to muddle for a drink of their choice. I must admit that I absolutely love to collect pretty cocktail napkins and I think they add such great color.

The more parties I have, the more I have discovered that many of my friends have created their own version of a classic cocktail or made up something of their own that is wonderful. I have started keeping a small journal in my bar for friends to add their favorite cocktail recipes to and that I can add to as well. This is a great deal of fun and gives guests something to get an idea from.

Lastly, I like to keep something on hand for guests to nibble on while enjoying their cocktail. Basic cocktail nuts have their place, but I have a recipe that guests love and it adds a little extra something to a cocktail party, my Rosemary Pecans. Not only are these great for your guests to enjoy during the party but they also make a great gift for guests to take with them after the party. Simply wrap some in a cellophane bag and tie with a pretty ribbon to give guests as they leave.

                               Rosemary Pecans
   6 cups of pecan halves 
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of coarse salt
2 teaspoons of black pepper
4 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh rosemary

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat all of the pecans. Spread pecans evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 degreees for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container.

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