We all have our choice of cocktail, and drink of choice. Some of us prefer our Bloody Mary made with Gin and garnished with bacon and olives, we like a good watermelon margarita on a hot summer day. Like I said we all have our preferences. I want to give you a handful of mixers that you should be using to create the best cocktail you can whether you’re a home bartender or a seasoned bartender.
Let’s start with our sweet cocktails. Try adding fresh watermelon, muddled, garnished, juiced however, swap out one or two of the juices with antioxidant, vitamin loaded fruit. Not only does this make a great alternative to the calorie loaded juices it also helps keep you hydrated on those long nights of drinking. It’s really the perfect fruit for warm weather drinking.
Now days with everyone being health conscious, and watching their weight switch out your normal sugary sodas with club soda. It has to be a good club soda, if possible make your own at home or make it as ordered. Club soda makes the difference when it comes to someone wanting a Jack and Soda or someone wanting a good Jack and Soda. More times than not we crave the fizz and the bubbles more so than the flavor of the soda. Also, if you didn’t know the flavors in the spirit are enhanced when broken down with water.
I mentioned the Bloody Mary, the folks who like their Bloody Mary say the spicier the better. This stands true especially after a long night of drinking. With the hot sauce market being as over saturated as the energy drink market, it may be hard to find one that suits your needs. You will just have to try the different types until you find one or seven that you like the best. If you offer Bloody Marys’ at your bar, I would recommend a “add your own hot sauce” option. Supply a few different types and let your patrons decide which they like the best and let them add as needed.
Freshly made sweet and sour mix, as I’ve stated before Sweet and Sour mix is just a conundrum of sugary syrup. Try switching out traditional sweet and sour mix, with either a homemade version or try using 100% lime juice or 100% lemon juice. When I make my margaritas I usually only use straight 100% lime juice. When I am making any of my Collins drinks I usually only ever use 100% lemon juice. I can’t stress enough how important it is now days to use fresh ingredients. It will make all of the difference to your customers and your business.
Good quality tea, black, green, and red teas are a great addition to your “barsonal.” Any of these teas are great when mixing bourbons or whiskeys. You can make these into syrups, simply by reducing them with some sugar and water. Green tea syrup mixes perfectly in exchange for a simple syrup in many cocktails. It’s super cheap to make and easy to create cocktails around the tea syrups.
Adding cold brew coffee to your mixers is a great addition. It is simple and cheap to make, yet it’s very effective with cocktails. Adding cold brew coffee to certain cocktails will give it that caffeine boost for those folks that don’t drink red bull but want to drink into the night. Cold brew coffee is becoming very trendy right now as well. Cold brew itself may end up being a passing fad, but it’s fun to play with and the flavor it adds to cocktails is out of this world.
Last but not least, you should always have a great group of bitters to choose from. Bitters are not always the easiest thing to make, but there are so many craft bitters out there. Bitters are basically a plethora of herbs, fruits, and spices distilled in a liquor base. Most common are the orange bitters. They add such a great twist on cocktails, they have a huge following right now also. More and more bitters are being developed each day.
These are some of the best cocktail mixers that you should be using with every cocktail. I also suggest try creating your own, your possibilities are limitless when it comes to making mixers. It may take a lot of trial and error to perfect but in the end I am sure you will be pleased with the outcome.