So You Got an Office Bar Cart? Awesome! Here’s How to Outfit It With Booze

Matt Gross
Mar 17, 2017 · 4 min read

A quickie guide to making the place you work infinitely more bearable

Me, in my office. Those were the days.

Once upon a time, I had an office. An actual office. With a door that closed, space to pace back and forth, and file cabinets full of documents left by my predecessor. I could eat lunch there, and no one could see me. I could change into my running gear, and no one could see me. I could speak with my employees privately. It was incredible.

And then it got better.

First, I ordered a small couch. It cost $200 and could unfold into an uncomfortable bed. One of my co-workers told me it was called a “flip-and-fuck.” Of course.

Then I bought a bar cart. From Sears. Again, it cost about $200, and had faux-gold trim. It was not fancy. But it ruled. Before long, it was laden with all sorts of random bottles that passed through the workplace—which happened to be a major food magazine, so honestly there were a LOT of random bottles. Before long I had Lao bitters and third-tier amari and some decent Scotches and bourbons and OMG SO MUCH PISCO.

Soon people were stopping into my office not just for a chat on the F-N-F but for a drink—a nip of mezcal, a whiskey you didn’t have to think too much about, a refreshing swig of malört. Then I started inviting outsiders up to the office on Friday afternoons, and by gum, we had a party going on!

Now, I know offices barely exist anymore. Everyone WFHs, or has a shared desk at a co-working space, or puts on their headphones at the open-plan office they’re required to visit during daylight hours and listens to the Hamilton soundtrack even though it’s no longer au courant. But if, somehow, you’re lucky enough to be in the kind of place that allows you to have a bar cart, here’s what you want to put on it—and what you just won’t ever need.

  1. Whiskey, gin, and vodka. It doesn’t matter what kind, but you should have at least a couple of bottles of each, since they form the base layer of office drinking. I.e., whoever comes by and wants a drink will at the very least be happy with one of these poured in a plastic cup.
  2. A pretty good tequila—something you’d actually want to sip, because you’re not going to keep shitty margarita mix on hand.
  3. Campari and sweet vermouth, cuz people are gonna want a negroni, even if it’s not cool anymore to say shit like “It’s negroni o’clock!” Frankly, it’s still a good drink.
  4. Random shit to mix with the other stuff. Focus on Italian amari, which are still unusual enough that visitors will want to try them. If you can get ahold of some old-school liquors, like benedictine or Gran Marnier or Drambuie, that’s fantastic. And bitters—any kind of bitters you can get your hands on. The goal of this is to have enough ingredients that you can make a cocktail. It won’t necessarily be a great cocktail, but it’ll be unique to you. Mine was a mix of Highland Park Scotch, Averna, and whatever bitters I happened to grab first, combined in Manhattan-style proportions. It was called the Slideshow, and it was fairly okay!
  5. Those expensive little bottles of tonic and soda. Or the cheap cans. Either way. Just get used to not using them up and having to throw them away.
  6. A cocktail shaker. Gotta mix in something, right? But you don’t need a fancy spoon or strainer or even a jigger—you’re drinking in the office, after all.

Now, here’s what you don’t need:

  1. Beer and wine. Beer is always going to be room temperature, and no one ever really wants to drink wine, not while lounging on a Flip-and-Fuck.
  2. Good Scotch. If your whiskey is too good, people will just come in and drink it right up, and then you won’t have any whiskey left. Choose the weird, affordable labels, and if you’re lucky, five years from now, one of them will be trendy and you can claim you knew all along how great it always was.
  3. Lemons, limes, and assorted garnishes, unless they can survive at room temperature in a jar. This just isn’t that kind of bar.
  4. No sour mix, no margarita mix, no mixes. Not that kind of bar either.

Um, that’s about it. If somehow you do wind up with an office and manage to set up a bar cart, please invite me over. I’ll bring you some weird, leftover bottle from my archives. Seriously, I will. I am not kidding. I will.


Matt Gross

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Restless & hungry. Writing about travel, food, parenting, and culture all over the place.

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