Pictured above: Mat Sapp, The Henry
Celebrating timeless American style, The Henry West Hollywood is a go-to spot from coffee to cocktails with a little something for everyone. On weekends, they create an especially fun brunch atmosphere with their festive tableside Bloody Mary and Mimosa bar cart. The bar cart elevates the brunch experience, giving it a highly personalized and stylish touch.
Fortunately, this is something you can bring to your home, as well, by styling an at-home bar cart for your next springtime gathering. Mat Snapp, Director of Beverages for Fox Restaurants Concepts including The Henry, has great tips for setting up your cart, making refreshing spring cocktails and entertaining.
All about ambiance: Customization and personalization are the entire point of a bar cart whether at The Henry or at home—the guest should not only feel like they have their own personal bartender, but that they have their own personal bar. A well-equipped bar cart in your house allows someone to feel like they are getting a high-class restaurant experience in the comfort of your home. Another great example of an enviable bar cart is the Multnomah Whiskey Library in Portland, Oregon, where they offer your favorite whiskey cocktails and favorite Old Fashioned tableside.
Getting set up: have the right tools. When it comes to styling your bar cart, a few simple tools will set you up for success:
- Two sets of stainless shaker tins. Either two piece small and large tins, or three piece with strainer included
- Nice stirring glass
- Three bar spoons
- Sugar cubes
- (If you’re fancy, some brass cocktail picks are also a good idea)
All about the glassware: For home entertaining you should have some delicate coupe style glasses for martinis and manhattans. You should also have a few tall glasses for highballs and Collins. And a few thick bottomed Old Fashioned glasses (so that it feels substantial in your hand).
Fun with garnishes: Have a bowl of fresh citrus with a vegetable peeler at the ready on your cart, as well as a small jar of brandy-soaked cherries—Luxardo is the gold standard. And don’t forget a small paring knife and a cutting board to make wheels and wedges.
Must-haves: No cart or home bar is complete without–
- Angostura Bitters
- Orange bitters
- A soft red vermouth (spend a little, it tastes better)
- Great orange liqueur (Combier is recommended)
- Most popular base spirits: Gin, vodka, rum, anjeo tequila, scotch, bourbon
- Ice cold club soda and tonic
Make it colorful: Your fresh citrus already adds a pop! If you can, use fresh herbs such as mint, basil, freshly cut citrus, etc. in small cups around the perimeter. It adds a nice splash of color.
Make your cocktails springy: A splash of pomegranate juice makes for very colorful light cocktails. Also, feel free to substitute a light sparkling wine for club soda in some of your more traditional or classic cocktails.
Make hosting a breeze: Choose a featured cocktail and prepare for every guest to have two of them. That way, you don’t have to work at your own party. (And make sure everything that is supposed to be cold is cold.)