Hello, and WELCOME to the Modern Bar Cart podcast, a weekly radio show where we demystify the tools and techniques that make great drinks.
I’m your host, Eric Kozlik, and today I’ve got for you one of the FOUNDATIONS episodes in which we review the essential tools that every good bar cart or home bar should have.
I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find an episode of this podcast that DOESN’T contain at least some small tidbit of advice about how to optimize your home bar, but this episode is gonna be a central repository of the most crucial bits of advice so you can access it all in once place and review it anytime you like.
When it comes to building your home bar or bar cart, I like to use a computer analogy, in which the consumable cocktail ingredients are like computer software, and the various tools that you reuse again and again to make your cocktails are like computer hardware. The idea being that you purchase a piece of hardware once—the physical computer—and that hardware can then be used to run an almost infinite array of software.
For this episode, and other foundations episodes, the show notes are going to be really important if you’re looking to put any of our recommendations into practice. So if I spend any significant amount of time discussing a specific brand or product style, you can expect to find more information (in the form of links, pictures, or videos) in the show notes, which you can find at modernbarcart.com/podcast.
As I sat down to develop this episode, I thought to myself, “how do I make cocktail hardware recommendations that will be the most useful to the most people?” And after thinking on it for a while, I decided to play a little game. For each category of tools I discuss in this episode, I’m gonna pretend I’m giving advice to someone in the following three situations.
- A person who has guests coming to visit NOW who are expecting cocktails—but who doesn’t have any home bar equipment to speak of. The recommendations here aren’t going to be glamorous or expensive, but they will get the job done in terms of allowing this person to make the requested drinks. We’ll call this person Last Minute Larry.
- Person number two is someone who is casually looking to outfit a bar cart or home bar, but on a real budget that a real person would have—not one of those reality TV real estate shows where people have unlimited money for their dream home. This person wants their bar equipment to look nice and get the job done, but they’re not willing to spend their entire paycheck on cocktail tools. We’ll call this person Savvy Sally.
- Finally, the third person here is our high roller—a serious cocktail aficionado who wants (and is willing to pay for) the best, highest-quality, sexiest bar on the planet earth. We’ll call this person Mr. Big.
So those are my three touchpoints, and I think this exercise is going to help me list enough different options so that anybody listening to this will be able to outfit their bar cart or home bar in the way they’d prefer. Everybody’s got different tastes and a different budget, and that’s okay. That’s what makes home bartending fun—doing it in a way that YOU enjoy. And that’s what the Modern Bar Cart podcast is all about.
So let’s jump into the tools that every bar or bar cart should have for the sake of personal use and casual home entertainment.
The famous American folk musician Arlo Guthrie once said, “You can’t have a light without a dark to stick it in.” And you know what? You can’t have a cocktail without a glass to stick it in, so let’s start with glassware.