It may not be 5 o’clock, but it’s never too early to wet your whistle with these bar cart essentials!

If you’re anything like me, you've had your Mad Men moments. And now that the Emmy Award winning show has come to a close, it is time for us to tip our hats (*drinks*) to the series that brought bar carts back into the spotlight. Leaving fictional characters and their daily afternoon libations behind, we can credit the start of the liquor cart to the end of Prohibition. Not yet parked in the office (à la Mad Men style), folks from all over would throw parties and would roll their drink carts around their homes offering celebratory drinks in favor of the now-legal consumption of alcohol. At the time, bar carts were the only thing allowed to be on wheels while liquored up!!! (Ha ha??) Jokes aside, this trend quickly became a home accessory essential.

Time passed and through the decades the home bar cart became a staple. It was during this era that Frank Sinatra, when he wasn’t going on and on about the way you look tonight, was making comments like “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day." Thus, the adult beverage cart rolled along.

As time marched on, I believe that the bar cart became less and less a statement piece in the home and more something that your grandparents had sitting in the corner of their den all covered in dust. BUT the tides have changed and it seems as if we can’t get enough of this chic set-up again!

I have started to notice liquor carts at parties or small get-togethers as a way to hold drinks (what they are designed to do) in an extremely stylish way. The rolling bar cart below showcases a wine rack and champagne flutes, and the top and bottom trays are filled with all of the essentials and then some. The ‘and then some’ is the large glass jug in the center of the top tray. These clear tubs of fun are my favorite way to allow guests to dispense their refreshments. I have never seen one set on top of a bar cart, but I can honestly say that it's something I want to try at my next event!

Bar Cart Essentials Gold Cart Pink Accents Pitcher Glass Drink Dispenser Wine Rack Pellegrino Bottled Water Clock Flower Arrangement Shaker Straws Alcohol

Via Apartment Therapy

If you’re just now getting started on your very own bar cart styling, you’re probably wondering what to put on that shopping list of yours. I'm here to help; with what you need, what you don’t need, and everything in between!

Alcohol: Because you can’t really have any kind of bar situation without alcohol, and there is obviously no way you can fit every beer, liquor, or vino on your drink cart at all times, I’m going to knock it down to the basics. Get your pen and paper ready! You will need vermouth, tequila, gin, vodka, rum, triple sec, and whiskey. This is one of each of the seven staples that will make every kind of liquor-loving person happy! Brand choice is yours for the making.

If by chance you come across a guest or two who relate liquor to their good times in college when they spent their nights throwing back shots and “tearing it down” or whatever the cool kids are saying these days, it is helpful to also keep an inventory of champagne, wine (white and red), and beer. Trust me, if you’ve ever faced a situation where you are sipping on a martini and offer your exclusively white wine drinking guest a sample from the liquor cabinet and they choose water, you’ll be happy to be able to provide options. No one wants to drink alone!

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Bar Cart Essentials Acrylic Tray Alcohol Liquor Bottles Wine Cork Vase Glassware on White Tray Colorful Picture

Via Apartment Therapy

Mixers and Garnishes: Speaking of options... let’s talk mixers. I don’t know your friends, but mine prefer diluting their proofs with something a little less potent. Club soda, olive juice, tonic water, a few soda choices, juices, bitters, and margarita mix are all fine selections that will make that liquor a little less shot-y and a lot more sippable. To add a little prettiness to the potion, offer a small something on the side. Lemons, limes, cherries, mint leaves, and olives are go-to garnishes. Besides, they don’t just add sparkle; they are also great post-drink snacks.

Glassware: Unless you expect people to use solo cups (just don’t), glassware is one of those things you don’t really want to leave out! There are so many drinks out there that require a specific glass, but there are really five types of glasses that you should definitely have as your bar cart essentials: highball, shot glass, champagne flute, rocks glass, and a stemmed cocktail glass. Take a look at this visual aid to help guide you in the what’s-what and the who’s-who of drink glasses. (Keep in mind that your options are endless. It doesn’t hurt to harbor a few vino glasses or copper mugs for mules as those are also popular requests!)

Bar Cart Essentials Glassware Champagne Flute Rocks Glass Highball Tall Glass Short Glass Martini Stemmed Cocktail Glass Cup

Via Divine Caroline

Tool Time + Extras: This is where bar cart decor gets fun! You can choose a color scheme and decide how you want to make your serving cart into an accessory for your home. Picking stirring spoons, ice buckets, and cocktail shakers in the same metal exterior is an easy way to throw in that extra pop of color to draw the eye. I think gold accents (like the ice bucket below) also look really good! Plus, most of the time, ice is an imperative component to the drink making process so you may as well have a cool bucket. (The cool bucket thing was on purpose... cool bucket... for ice. Puns!)

Bar Cart Essentials Black Tray Gold Handle Gold Ice Bucket Flower Arrangement Six Glasses Three Martini Glasses Liquor

Via Honestly WTF

Once you’ve compiled all you think you need and are ready to pour yourself a drink, this is the stuff that will take your styling bar cart over the top and make it bubbly and fun. If you’re a natural born decorator... this one’s for you. Straws, coasters, napkins, flowers, designer books, frames... I could go on and on but I think I would rather show you!

There are so many ways you can truly personalize and make your mobile bar cart your own! This one has a record player and a huge stack of books next to it, all while leaning against a gallery wall. There’s a lot happening here, but I think you get my point.

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Bar Cart Essentials Gallery Wall Record Player Wine Rack Floral Arrangement Mirror Lamp Leopard Print Chair Designer Books Disco Ball Striped Rug

Via Apartment Therapy

The last couple of things that I can suggest to make your home bar cart everything you’ve ever wanted and more are small square linen napkins and a frame to work as a backdrop. The napkins I have in mind are great because you can design them however you want, and then throw in the towel after they have been used (into the washer of course!). Plus, it’s kind of awesome to be handed a cloth napkin instead of a cheap paper one. It makes the whole event seem much fancier, and your guests will love it! You’ll also have less trash to take out. Tada! It’s perfect!

Bar Cart Essentials White Linen Napkins His Hers Mine Ours Blue Embroidery Reusable Napkins Four Square

Via Brock + Co. Events

And finally, to set the mood on your drink cart, a framed print or photo will do the trick. You can opt for humor or beauty or both, that’s up to you! This goes along the lines of something I would choose! I do love a well-made Old Fashioned, and this print is just awesome. It also goes with that bar cart from before that had the gold accents. See what I did there? I totally made my future decor work with my future bar cart design. You can do the same!

Bar Cart Essentials Gold Frame Call Me Old Fashioned Wall Hanging Picture Rocks Glass

Via Katie Kime

Now, all you really have left to do is to go and do! Then have friends over for drinks so they can ooh and ahh over your newest home addition. I want to hear all about your bar cart ideas! Let me know how they turn out or if you have any questions/tips for me by commenting and sharing below. Thanks for sticking with me to the end, I know this was a long one!!

**Thank you to Divine Caroline for providing me with ideas, information, and inspiration for this post. Featured image via Honestly WTF