7 DIY Bar Cart Hacks That Are Cheaper Than A Round Of Drinks

04/21/2015 10:22 am ET | Updated Apr 21, 2015

bar cart hacks

A DIY bar cart is an easy home upgrade that keeps on giving, whether you're trying to bring back the cocktail party or simply pre-game a Netflix marathon.

And while many bar carts look expensive, these boozy beauties don't have to cost a fortune. Keep these hacks in mind when designing your bar cart, and the tab will be less than it was on your last night out. Cheers to cheap decorating!

1. Let your drink dispensers do the decorating for you.
You can easily find a classy glass beverage dispenser online for less than $40. Style it on your bar cart for a centerpiece that -- unlike fancy liquor bottles -- will last all night.
(Photo Credit: gingersnaps)

2. Add a little leather for that high-roller look.
This $60 utility cart got an upgrade from a round of spray paint and some leather upholstery attached to the handle with hot glue. This is actually TOO EASY.
(Photo Credit: The Effortless Chic)

3. Give a mirror the starring role.
A beveled mirror makes a spray-painted DIY cart look instantly elegant. Even the big ones come cheap!
(Photo Credit: Devon Rachel)

4. Add fresh (fake) accents.
Flowers and fruit are cheap alternatives to big bottles, fancy tumblers and crystal glasses. And who said they had to expensive... or real?
(Photo Credit: Sea of Shoes)

5. Turn a TV tray into the stuff of TV perfection.
With the right accents (a coat of paint, faux peonies, a DIY mirror), even the humblest of folding TV trays can go ultra-glam.
(Photo Credit: Bond Girl Glam)

6. ...And if you're fancy, add some accents.
Simply screw some drawer pulls and corners onto a low-cost lacquer serving tray to really rev things up. Gold stand optional; this little tray would also look great set atop a side table.
(Photo Credit: Honestly Yum)

7. Make a bookcase your bar cart, because YOLO.
If building a bar cart seems like too much work, load up your bookcase with your favorite bar tools. Let's face it: Sometimes we'd rather hit the booze than the books.
(Photo Credit: The Everygirl)

  • 1 Jigger
    Like one of our Facebook fans said, “Most home bartenders overlook the extreme importance of accuracy when it comes to making drinks at home.” And we agree. Proper proportions can make or break a drink. So be sure you’ve got this simple tool in your home bar—we recommend owning two: a one-ounce/two-ounce size and a half-ounce/three-quarter-ounce size—to make sure you’re making the perfect drink every time.
    Try this:Cocktail Kingdom’s Japanese-Style Jigger
  • 2 Quality Ice
    Often the most convenient ice comes in the form of tiny half-melted cubes from a bag you bought at the gas station. They will make your drink colder, but sometimes that just won’t cut it. As long as you invest in a couple of good ice cube trays, you can make cocktail bar-worthy cubes in your own freezer.
    Try this: Tovolo Perfect Cube Trays and Sphere Ice Molds
  • 3 Muddler
    Summer’s on its way: Time for Mojitos and Mint Juleps at home. Sure, you could smash and clang using the back of a spoon. But the best way to extract oils and flavor from mint leaves—and other herbs or even fruit—is with a sturdy muddler. With most fruit, you should use it like a nonna wields a mortar when making pesto, but be a bit more gentle with herbs and citrus peels, which can become bitter if over-muddled.
    Try this: Oxo Steel Muddler
  • 4 Two-Piece Shaker
    Shaking a drink when it’s called for not only chills the cocktail properly, but also ensures proper dilution and aeration. Delicious proof: There’s no way to make a proper Ramos Gin Fizz without one. Buy a two-piece shaker and a separate strainer like the pros do. These are effortless to clean, easier to open after shaking and don't become clogged with bits of fruit or herbs.
    Try this: 3-Piece Bar Cocktail Shaker Kit
  • 5 Pour Spouts
    This bartender essential was one of the most mentioned by Facebook fans when we asked what home mixologists were missing. If you have a jigger for accurate measurement, pour spouts are definitely easy to go without, but they do help ensure that you don’t spill any of your precious booze, and they’re dirt-cheap.
    Try this: Speed Jet Liquor Pourer
  • 6 Good Garnishes
    Neon-colored “cherries” that taste like Jolly Ranchers can only get you so far. When garnishing a homemade concoction, be sure to use fresh fruit and high-quality cherries and onions (you can even try making your own).
    Try this: Luxardo Maraschino Cherries
  • 7 Bar Spoon
    No matter if you’re stirring a Manhattan or Martini, or floating wine atop a New York Sour, you’ll need a long-handled bar spoon. (And no, your typical tea spoon won’t cut it—too short and too wide). Go double-duty by choosing a spoon with fork-like tines on the handle end, which makes spearing cherries or olives out of the jar a breeze.
    Try this: Trident Barspoon
  • 8 Juicer
    Fresh fruit juice is imperative to dozens, if not hundreds, of cocktails. Whether it’s lemon for Whiskey Sours, lime for Gimlets, orange for Blood and Sands or even pomegranates for homemade grenadine, squeezing your own juice will make a noticeable difference to your homemade drinks. Go with the largest-sized juicer, which can handle any size citrus, and be sure to use the right technique: The cut side of the fruit should face the holes in the juicer.
    Try this: Sur La Table Orange Juicer
  • 9 Cocktail Books
    How else are you going to know how to make all of your favorite cocktails and have hundreds of new drink recipes right at your fingertips? While our cocktail database is a great resource, there’s no replacement for a truly great cocktail book—and we’d much rather have a sticky page or two than a short-circuited computer.
    Try this: The PDT Cocktail Book by top mixologist and Liquor.com advisory board member Jim Meehan
  • 10 Good Booze—Lots of It
    While all of these gadgets are important for making cocktails at home, you really can’t do much without a good selection of booze. Yeah, we know, good bottles can be expensive. The good news is that not all of them are: We found nine bottles of everything from tequila to rye whiskey that are not only delicious, but also under $25. So no matter if you prefer homemade Margaritas or a well-made Old Fashioned, you can have it all without breaking the bank.
Suggest a correction