How to [re]stock a bar cart on a budget

Some of you may consider it deceptive. Some, straight up cheating. I consider it just a little white lie. I’m going to let you in on my little secret for how I [re]stock our bar cart leading up to the festive season without burning a hole in our bank account. Because let’s face it, being merry ain’t cheap. 

There’s no better place to introduce you to my idea than where it originally began; one Christmas my parents were entertaining a snooty guest who was preaching about his delicate palette and how it can tell the difference between top brands vs. cheap brands of liquor. As he was bragging, little did he know the ‘Crown Royal‘ he was sipping was simply a cheaper brand of whiskey carefully poured into a Crown Royal bottle. And that is how my parents pwned said guest. Able to taste the difference, are you? *insert troll face here*

I’d say my parents did this to stick it to him, but it got me thinking about our own bar cart and how expensive it can be to stock it. With the festive season upon us, the price of entertaining is daunting. One way you could save a few euros is by bluffing your booze; refilling fancy bottles you may have with a cheaper brand that is of equal taste. You could wait until a top brand is reduced or on special price, buy it for the sake of the bottle, and simply refill it with a cheaper substitute after it runs out. It’s not lying. I’m not telling you to refill it with brown water. You’re putting the same thing into a slightly different bottle, because that fancy bottle costs an extra €20. It’s sticking it to the system, man.

This will work with most liquor brands. It works best with rum, whiskey, gin, creamed liquors and vodka to name a few. There are a few however that you can’t really mimic. Fancy gold Smirnoff I impulse bought a couple of months ago [there it sits, hardly touched. Because it’s too pretty]. Any specifically flavoured drinks – orange chocolate flavoured Baileys, lime Smirnoff etc. Bluffing the likes of these will be near impossible, so you’ll likely need to buy the top brand. But for the rest; I got your back. I’ll keep your secret if you keep mine xx

p.s. Two years ago I tried my nannie’s knock-off Baileys recipe. If you’d like to try your hand at it, please do! It’s incredible and you wouldn’t know the difference. I’ll be trying a vegan version of it this year, in a very small batch. Because it could either turn out vegan marvelous, or hella wrong.

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  1. November 26, 2015 / 20:51

    It's like you READ MY MIND. I just added up how much it would cost to replace the alcohol in all my empty fancy alcohol bottles and it was over £150 *ugly cry face*. I am liking this stick-it-to-the-man idea!! I also want fancy voda with gold flakes though!! xx

    • December 2, 2015 / 14:01

      Oh the fancy vodka is so fancy! It tastes very strongly of cinnamon. We haven't figured out how best to serve it, so it's just patiently waiting until we do something with it.

      I can't help but think this post is a bit too cheeky to be blogged. Oh well 😉

  2. December 4, 2015 / 14:33

    I think you would like a blog I have been following lately – you might already be following too… Every drink recipe she has posted (since I started following) I have loved.

    • December 13, 2015 / 22:11

      OMG Pat. THANK YOU! I am in love with Arielle's site. Already creeping her on Instagram. I really need to get into mixing proper drinks. The most complex drink I make is sangria and that's like … 4 ingredients.

  3. December 5, 2015 / 12:10

    I always get the cheap versions of alcohol – why pay more?! But I do love some of the fancy bottles – so I think this idea is great – get them on offer and re-use the bottles with cheap stuff! I shall be doing this!
    Ha, that was funny about the Crown Royal guest – pompous snob!!

    • December 13, 2015 / 22:21

      Hahahah, I thought you might like this! And that drinks cabinet of yours – I still lust after it. Whether it's full of truthful fancy booze or not 😛 xx

    • December 14, 2015 / 19:23

      My drinks cabinet is gone!!! I gave it to Lee in the breakup as we bought it using some money from his Grandad so I felt he should have it. And although I did love it in one way, I was never quite sure of the green colour we went for – it's a weird green (they do it in dark grey and in cream and I always kinda wished we'd gone for one of those colours) – but Lee has got lots of green in his new flat, so it looks cool there – more at home. And I'm now using my turquoise Raskog Ikea trolley – which (of course!) I love the colour of! xx

    • December 15, 2015 / 13:30

      Awwwwwww. While it's a shame to see it go, it was really nice gesture to give to Lee. I did always wonder if that green was more of a Lee colour as I didn't see it being within your signature colour palette! But oh yes. That little Raskog trolley – it is all kinds of wonderful. And it has wheels! WHEELS. Which means you can drink ANYWHERE. Is really is very versatile. Trolley bar carts FTW 😉