This article was published on March 30th, 2019
You’ve got wine, hard liquor, beer, and plenty of lush friends—yourself included. The good news is you’ve nearly finished setting up your at home bar, soon to be able to have guests over for cocktail parties. But the mixers are what make the drinks into their signature recipes that everyone knows and loves. Having the right mixers at home is equally as important as having the right spirits.
Mixers are Essential things you should have stocked in your home bar to make perfect cocktails. Unfortunately, not all of us went to bartending schools, so many people end up abiding in similar drinks as their family and friends versus expanding their pallet. There’s more to this world than just vodka-cran and Jack-N-Coke. Don’t be like these people; because there is nothing worse than going to someone’s house and not being able to drink anything because of how little mixers were stocked.
To give you a little leg up on some mixers you must keep around the house or purchase before a party, here is a list ofessential mixers—to jazz up your home bar—and some drinks they are used for.
Club soda/ sparkling water. Your basic bitch of mixers, club soda is great for low calorie diets, because it’s calorie free! Club soda adds a bit of bubbles to every cocktail and can help dilute the intensity of booze.
Orange juice. You’ve been through high school and enough brunches to know OJ pairs well with vodka for Screwdrivers and with bubbles for Mimosas. Orange juice is also essential for making Sex on the Beach, Fuzzy Navel, and Tequila Sunrise.
Pineapple Juice. Orang Juice’s sweeter cousin (not really), pineapple juice pairs frequently with alcohol on its own like vodka, rum, or tequila. Most famously, pineapple is a Piña Colada, but can also be found in Hurricanes and Blue Hawaiians.
Cranberry juice. A Cape Cod, or more commonly known as a Vodka Cran is one of the most popular drinks ordered and it is made with cranberry juice. Other fun ones include the Cosmopolitan, Sea Breeze, and Sex on the Beach.
Lime juice. Though one of the sourest of all the juices, there is something about lime juice that just blends well with alcohol. You’ll find it in Margaritas, Cosmos, Moscow Mules, Bloody Mary, and some specialty martinis, like the Lime Drop or Key Lime Martini.
Ginger Beer. Swiftly replacing its white trash cousin ginger ale, ginger beer is most commonly associated with a Moscow Mule. A spicier mixer, ginger beer is also found mixed with Gin, and Tequila and found in other drinks like the Dark and Stormy and of course, the Whiskey Ginger.
Tonic. Tonic is great for those that cannot do club soda alone as a cocktail mixer. Add in some taurine in the tonic, and everyone seems to be happy with this light sweetener. Tonic is most famous with its dear friend Gin in and G&T, but can be mixed with any hard liquor.
Sodas. Sodas and very common in cocktails, and due to their distinct strong tastes, most are paired by themselves and the alcohol alone. This includes cola, diet cola, ginger ale, lemon-lime, root beer, orange and cream soda’s, and more. Take your 7&7, Whiskey Coke, Rum & Diet, Long Island, and Vodka Sprite, for examples. It’s always good to have a few sodas around for those finicky people who only drink soda.
Simple syrup. Like sodas or tonic, simple syrup is an additive to cocktails to increase sweetness and balance other flavors. Simple syrup is equal parts water and sugar brought to a boil and then left to cool. Simple syrup can be made into other types of syrups like mint, lavender, honey, or ginger, by adding it while it’s being made. Simple syrup is commonly used in Mojitos, Old Fashioned, and Lemon Drop Martinis.
For Extra Credit: Stock the following items to guarantee you could whip up any cocktail requested: coffee, black teabags, Dry Vermouth, sweet Vermouth, bitters, and of course: water (It’s a mixer, Pats. We have it with Whiskey). Time to stock that bar and throw your next cocktail party—the right way!