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How to Stock Your Bar Cart on a Budget


Lets face it: Pretty bottles are essential for a visually appealing bar cart, but focusing too much on pretty alcohol bottles will get expensive quickly. You want alcohol you’ll enjoy drinking because that’s really the point of the bar cart.

I highly recommend making a list of types of alcohol you enjoy drinking and reading reviews of different types of brands. Below are some of my recommendations which are all under $20!

  • Vodka – Vodka is easily the alcohol you can save the most money on because it’s mainly used to mix into cocktails. Don’t be fooled by the big brands, Absolut works great, and if you have a Costco card, they have incredible store-brand vodka, but if you’re looking for taste and looks, I recommend Luksusowa Vodka. It’s about $15 and gets the job done.


  • Tequila – You really must be careful with Tequila, because unlike vodka, taste matters. Buying poor quality tequila will change the flavor of your drinks and give you an awful headache. Best tip I have is to ALWAYS buy 100% Agave tequila to ensure no additives have been included. I recommend El Jimador which can be bought for as low as $15 and is perfect for margaritas. I’ve also heard Milagro is great, but have not tasted it to confirm.


  • Gin – I think Gin has the best-looking bottles and if you go with Bombay or Tanquerey which are both under $20, you’ll have a great tasting gin and the prettiest bottle on your cart.


  • Whiskey – My husband loves whiskey. He’s a Jameson man and I tried to do my research beforehand to really try to find something under $20 that he may like and I found Kavanagh for only $15. The reviews were great and per my husband it’s a winner.


  • Bourbon – Some may disagree, but I think it’s fine to have either a whiskey or a bourbon in your collection. You don’t exactly need both, but for those that love a good inexpensive bourbon, try Rebel Yell which can be found for as low as $12 and even be found at Trader Joes.


  • Rum – There are a lot of inexpensive options for rum in the market since it has such a wide range of flavors and colors. If you’re looking for a rum to make daquiris, pour with coke or fruit juice try Appleton Special Gold for $13.

These really depend on preference, but ginger ale, ginger beer (for the ever-popular Moscow mules), vermouth, tonic water, club soda, margarita mix, lemons, limes even cranberry juice is great to have on hand.



  • Never forget the ice!
  • Stick with simple ingredients for easy go-to cocktails.
  • Flavored sparkling water is perfect for topping off fun fizzy drinks.
  • Frozen berries are perfect for garnish and helping keep drinks cold.
  • Total Wines has great selection of alcohol, while Bevmo tends to send out the most coupons, and Trader Joe’s always has great deals worth checking out.


What do you love to drink?!


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