Food & Drink

The Town & Country Bar Cart Awards

The classic liquor brands and essential mixology gear for the most stylish home bar.
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Welcome to Town & Country’s first-ever Bar Cart Awards, a celebration of the classic bottles and essential mixology gear that every home bar needs.

Scotch: The Macallan 12 Year Old Highland Single Malt


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Since Alexander Reid first obtained a license in 1824, this distillery has grown into a worldwide powerhouse for single malt whisky (not "whiskey"). Matured exclusively in Oloroso sherry-seasoned oak casks from Spain, the 12-year-old is a fruity and full-bodied spirit with nary a smoky note in sight—sure to convert even avowed scotch skeptics.

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Vodka: Grey Goose


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This French-distilled vodka—the brainchild of American entrepreneur Sidney Frank—pioneered the concept of super-premium vodka. Distilled with wheat from the Picardy region and limestone-filtered spring water, this incredibly smooth, neutral vodka pairs perfectly with everything from a splash of cranberry juice or your favorite bloody mary mix to a simple skewered olive or lemon twist.

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More: The Best Cocktail Recipes to Make With Grey Goose Vodka

Gin: Tanqueray London Dry Gin


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Gin has been undergoing a renaissance in recent years, but if you're only going to have one bottle on your bar cart, it should be London Dry, an aromatic, juniper-forward style that most consider the traditional flavor profile for gin. And for London Dry, it doesn't get much more classic than Tanqueray, which has remained a top pick for bartenders since Charles Tanqueray first developed it in the 1830s.

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Tequila: Casa Dragones Tequila Blanco


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Each bottle of this small batch tequila (no more than 500 cases are produced per batch) is hand-numbered and signed—a nod to their quality-focused production. Distilled from 100 percent blue agave, their blanco bottling boast subtle notes of pepper and warm spices with a smooth crisp finish that will highlight your mixed drinks and might just convince you to become a bona fide straight tequila sipper.

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Bourbon: Maker's Mark


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No bar cart would be complete without America's truly original spirit—bourbon. For a smooth, balanced flavor that will please any palate, the original Maker's Mark is a perennial favorite. Still operated by the Samuels family, who founded the distillery in Loretto, Kentucky in 1953, the whisky is made from red winter wheat and limestone filtered water for silky notes of vanilla and caramel that have become the archetype of a classic Kentucky bourbon.

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Bar Cart: Restoration Hardware


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This sturdy, polished brass cart, modeled on French bar trolleys of the 1930s, gives you plenty of space to pour and mix and has convenient bottle racks along each side to keep your spirits organized and secure.

Shaker: Ralph Lauren


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This classically-styled pewter-and-glass Boston shaker not only mixes up a mean cocktail, it looks sophisticated while doing it.

Corkscrew: The Durand


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"For someone who already has a ton of fancy corkscrews in their possession, the single best wine opener for older bottles is The Durand," says Mia Van de Water, a master sommelier with the Eleven Madison Park team. "The combination of the corkscrew and a butler’s friend holds the cork in place while separating fragile cork edges from the bottleneck; it is totally magic, and a must have for serious collectors."

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Decanter: Waterford


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Add an instant dose of old world charm to your home bar with a sophisticated cut crystal decanter.

More: The Best Whiskey Decanters for Your Bar

Jigger: Cocktail Kingdom Japanese Style Jigger


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Mixing up a classic sazerac has never been more precise (or spill-free) than with this elegant 1 and 2 ounce, dual-ended measure.

Ice Bucket: Georg Jensen Manhattan Ice Bucket


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Whether you're shaking up a cocktail or serving over the rocks, a sleek and stylish ice bucket is a must for any home bar. This version has a simple, mod design with a high-polished shine that will fit with both traditional and contemporary decor styles.

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Bar Spoon: Cocktail Kingdom Bulu Pineapple Bar Spoon


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Pros use these long-stemmed spoons for everything from dishing out simple syrups to stirring up cocktails. (Forget what 007 told you, shaken is not always best.) This version doubles as decor, topped with a pineapple—the classic symbol of hospitality.

Rocks Glasses: Baccarat Everyday Tumblers


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The options for cocktail glasses can be seemingly endless, but if you're looking to pare down—or simply to upgrade your most essential—an elegant set of rocks glasses is a true bar cart hero. Low and wide enough to experience the full nose of a neat pour, large enough for your favorite cocktail, these gorgeous cut crystal glasses are a home bar workhorse.

Ice Molds: Tovolo Sphere Ice Molds


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There's a good reason your favorite bars opt for giant, spherical ice cubes and it's not (just) because of how beautiful they look. The 2.5-inch globes produced by these plastic and silicone molds melt more slowly than the standard square variety, meaning your spirits don't get watered down as you sip.

Cocktail Picks: Stainless Steel Cocktail Picks


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Nothing dresses up a simple cocktail faster than swapping out your basic wooden or plastic picks for gleaming metal versions. These stainless steel beauties are sleek, durable, and add an instant touch of class to any skewered olive or brandied cherry.

Juicer: Zulay Metal Lemon Lime Squeezer


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If you're committed to making the best cocktails, fresh squeezed citrus is a must, and the most effective, least messy way to get that juice is with a hand-squeeze juicer. We like this version for its ability to handle both lemons and limes with ease, its sturdy aluminum body, and its ease of clean up—just toss it in your dishwasher and you're done.

Muddler: Cocktail Kingdom Muddler


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This muddler isn't about flashy looks or gimmicks, and that's what we love about it. Made of dishwasher-safe plastic, the simple design features one rounded end (for soft cocktail ingredients like tender herbs and berries) and one with sharper edges (for tougher flavoring agents like ginger slices).

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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