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how to set up a bar tray

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Setting up a bar tray can be a daunting task. However, with the right tools and a little bit of knowledge, anyone can create an impressive bar tray in no time. A well-organized and well-stocked bar tray is not only visually appealing, but it also makes entertaining guests much easier.

Choosing the Right Tray

The first step in setting up a bar tray is to choose the right tray. There are a variety of trays available, ranging from wood, metal, and glass. It is important to choose a tray that fits the size of the space and the items you want to display. A wooden tray is a popular choice because it adds warmth to the room, while a metal tray gives a modern edge to the decor. A glass tray is usually best for those who want to show off their glassware.

Gathering the Essentials

Once you have selected your tray, it is time to gather the essentials. The essentials include the basic tools such as a cocktail shaker, a strainer, a jigger, a bar spoon, a muddler, and a bottle opener. These tools are crucial in mixing cocktails and preparing drinks. In addition to the basic tools, make sure to have the necessary glassware, including martini glasses, rocks glasses, and shot glasses.

Choosing the Right Liquor

Choosing the right liquor is crucial in setting up a bar tray. The best way to approach this is to choose a few types of liquor that you enjoy and build your collection from there. Common liquors to have on hand include vodka, gin, whiskey, rum, tequila, and brandy. Once you have selected your liquors, it is important to make sure they are of good quality and that they fit your budget.

Adding the Finishing Touches

The finishing touches are what make your bar tray unique and personalized. These include things such as garnishes, mixers, and bitters. Choose fresh fruits and herbs for garnishes that add a pop of color and flavor to your cocktails. Mixers, such as tonic water and soda, are also important for adding flavor to your drinks. Bitters are concentrated extracts that add flavor to cocktails, and having a variety of bitters on hand allows you to create different flavors and cocktail options.


Setting up a bar tray is a fun and creative way to showcase your bartending skills and impress your guests. With the right tray, tools, liquor, and finishing touches, anyone can set up a beautiful and functional bar tray. Remember to choose items that fit your style and budget and have fun experimenting with different cocktail combinations.


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