Ina Garten's Pro Tips For Stocking The Perfect Bar Cart

bar cart with alcohol, tonic, glasses, lemons and limes
bar cart with alcohol, tonic, glasses, lemons and limes - oliviaoutred / Instagram

When it comes to advice for hosting and home cooking, there's nobody with a wealth of knowledge quite like the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. There's no shortage of favorite recipes from the TV personality and cookbook author, but she also knows a thing or two about making drinks for you and your guests to serve before or alongside your fabulous home-cooked meals. Garten shared some tidbits about home bar essentials in response to a question from a fan on the "Ask Ina" page of her website. Ina Garten's essential liquors to have in your home mini bar? "...Scotch, vodka, bourbon, and gin, and it's always good to have a red and white wine on hand," Garten shared.

These four liquors help make a variety of cocktails, with something to please guests whose tastes run the liquor gamut. And a quality red and white wine on hand can simplify your hosting job. Besides these essentials, Garten advises every host to be prepared with a few more items, and seeing as people are drinking more at home than at the bar post-COVID, it's important to have your home bar cart up to par.

Read more: The Ultimate Vodka Brands, Ranked

Non-Alcoholic Essentials To Have In Stock In Your Home Bar

gin and tonic cocktail with limes, tonic
gin and tonic cocktail with limes, tonic - Charles Brutlag/Shutterstock

A cocktail is nothing without the mix-ins and garnishes that take the liquor to new heights. Ina Garten's go-to mixers, including club soda, tonic, and ginger ale, are delightful and perfect companions for a variety of liquors. When combined with a couple of shots of your guests' choice of liquor and a squeeze of lime juice, these beverages can be the bedrock of easy mixed drinks that won't require you to break out the bartending equipment while preparing dinner.

Ina Garten has shared plenty of necessary cocktail-making tips that you'd be wise to pay attention to. While it might look lovely to have your glasses on display, Garten likes to have a few chilled glasses prepared to speed up the cocktail-making process, ensuring a refreshingly cool drink. And if you want your cocktails even chiller, know that Garten always likes to have a bottle of vodka in her freezer, as told to Food & Wine. This makes serving chilled vodka drinks even more of a breeze. For cocktails and mocktails alike, Garten believes it's always wise to have lemons and limes to add fresh-squeezed citrus juice to liven up a drink, as she shared in her cookbook "Go-To Dinners."

Personalizing Your At-Home Bar

woman making cocktails, ingredients on counter
woman making cocktails, ingredients on counter - Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Ina Garten also advises that if you have more room on the bar cart, don't be afraid to have even more on hand. "...Add what you think your friends like to drink — rum, tequila, etc."

As you get to know the preferences of your rotating list of houseguests, your home bar will naturally expand. And, of course, make sure to always stock up on the components of your personal favorite cocktail as well.

Although Garten hasn't recommended it specifically, some experts also advise you to stock your home bar with a variety of ice shapes based on the cocktail you're creating. Sphere ice is great for high-end cocktails like an old fashioned, while crushed ice can be great for more punchy, tropical cocktails. Or, you can use that bottle of vodka you put in the freezer earlier to make Garten's beloved twist on a classic vodka cocktail: Her Limoncello Vodka Collins. Stocking a unique liquor like Limoncello adds a personality to your home bar cart, giving your houseguests a unique imbibing experience. Follow Garten's essential tips, and you'll have a well-stocked bar cart prepped for any occasion, spontaneous or planned.

Read the original article on Daily Meal