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Cocktail Mixers: The Essential Guide to Must-Have Mixers

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Cocktail mixers, also known as drink mixers, are non-alcoholic beverages used to create cocktail drinks (see: what are cocktails).The purpose of using mixers is to either reduce the alcohol content in a cocktail or create mocktails

There is a great variety of cocktail mixers on the market, which allows bartenders and mixologists to create new, unique drinks. Mixers are very important cocktail ingredients at any bar, restaurant, hotel, country club, etc. So don’t overlook them when building your beverage program!

To help you select drink mixers and create a unique beverage menu for your business in the hospitality industry, we’ve created this article. Let’s see what you need when stocking on mixers and what you can do with them!

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Most Popular Cocktail Mixers

There are eight very popular cocktail mixers that can be used to create delicious drinks for any occasion. When using different types of alcohol (or even different varieties of wine) and mixers that complement the base drink in terms of flavor, you can make great cocktails for your menu. 

Now, let’s see which mixers you need to have in your restaurant beverage inventory

Key Takeaway: Cocktail mixers are a crucial part of any bar or restaurant beverage inventory. There are different types you can use or even make on your own, which will help you create numerous delicious cocktails and mocktails. Storing them well will ensure you are serving quality drinks to all your customers!

1. Sparkling Water

Sparkling water, which is also commonly referred to as soda water, is a drink that can be used to make a lot of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Some of the most popular cocktails that require the use of sparkling water are Mojito, Gin Rickey, Vodka Soda, Aperol Spritz, and Tom Collins

For mocktails, you can use sparkling water even more. The refreshing feel it adds to a drink makes it a great mixer and even a base for mocktails. Try a Virgin Mojito, Lemon Lime Soda, or Coffee Soda. You can also create unique recipes to fit the concept of your restaurant or bar and even the current season. 

2. Tonic Water

Tonic water is also a type of carbonated water. However, it has a quinine flavor. Popular bar drinks that are made with tonic water include everyone’s favorite Gin and Tonic, as well as Rum and Tonic, and Vodka and Tonic. 

Mocktails can also be made with tonic water, the most popular of them being a non-alcoholic version of the popular gin and tonic recipe. Tonic water can also be enjoyed infused with fruits and herbs. 

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3. Ginger Ale

Ginger ale is a carbonated drink that has an ale flavor. It’s a cocktail mixer that’s typically used for Scotch and Ginger Highball, Dark and Stormy, as well as the cocktail Diablo. It, of course, can be used to create delicious mocktails, too. Make a Ginger Beer mocktail or Ginger Mojito mocktail for your customers who prefer no-alcohol drinks

4. Different Juices

All kinds of juices can be used in the creation of cocktails. The ones you must have in stock are tomato juice for the classic Bloody Mary and orange juice for Tequila Sunrise. Cranberry juice is also a good one to keep in stock to make Sex on the Beach and other tasty drinks. 

As for mocktails, you can create all kinds of amazing drinks with the use of juices. Virgin Piña Colada, Screwdriver mocktail, Orange Martini mocktail, and so much more. The best part is that with a variety of juices, you can create new and exciting mocktails with ease!

5. Shrub Drinks

A shrub drink can be used to add some complexity and depth to the cocktail. It’s a cocktail mixer with sweet, tart, and savory notes and it works great with a variety of alcohols. Shrub drinks can be mixed with rum, whiskey, gin, bitters, sparkling wine, and other alcoholic beverages. 

6. Agave 

The nectar from agave is much sweeter than sugar but it’s a healthier alternative. Using agave nectar is a great way to substitute for simple syrup in cocktails. You can use agave nectar as an alternative in the Cosmopolitan recipe. Try using it for everyone’s favorite Margarita and Sidecar. 

People who are making lifestyle changes and trying to limit their sugar intake will appreciate the fact that you are looking for ways to make their favorite cocktails healthier. 

7. Bitters

Another great category of drink mixers is bitters. They are a blend of botanicals, aromatic herbs, spices, and other unique flavors. The types of bitters to have in your beverage inventory are citrus, aromatic, nuts, and herbal, as they are the most popular ones. 

Bitters are an essential part of many of the most popular cocktails in the world. Manhattan, Old-Fashioned, Sazerac, and many more are created with bitters. 

8. Special Non-Alcoholic Cocktail Mixers

Botanical drinks are becoming increasingly popular in the last few years. Now, you can get great quality non-alcoholic, fruit-infused botanical drinks that can be used to create unique cocktails. They come in a wide variety of flavors and you can have a cocktail expert help you engineer new menu offers with these mixers.

How to Store Cocktail Mixers

We’ve previously talked about beverage storage and shared valuable tips on storing wine and other types of alcohol. Cocktail mixers, however, are a bit different and need to be stored in different ways. 

One thing to remember is that all non-alcoholic drink mixers need to be refrigerated once they are opened. Some that you want to use cold, need to be refrigerated before they are opened, too. As for the mixers that have alcohol contents, check the instruction on the bottle. Most of them are safe to keep at room temperature.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Cocktail Mixers

Do you have some questions about cocktail mixers? If more information is needed, here are the answers of some of the most common questions we’ve heard!

Can I Make My Own Cocktail Mixers?

Many cocktail mixers can be made from scratch and to your preference. You can use locally-sourced ingredients to make the customer experience unique and memorable. 

When you have the bartenders create the mixers for the cocktail you serve, the drinks will be fresher and tastier. Not to mention, you can always use this fact in your restaurant marketing campaigns. 

What’s the Shelf Life of Cocktail Mixers?

The shelf life of cocktail mixers depends on their specific type. The commercially produced cocktail mixers will have “best by” or “use before” dates printed on them. If you make the mixers at your bar or restaurant, make sure they are consumed within a few days, to keep your call drinks fresh.

How to Use Cocktail Mixers?

Cocktail or drink mixers are usually combined with different spirits like whiskey, rum, or vodka. This is how various cocktail drinks are made. The ratios will vary depending on the recipe you want to make but the most common rule is to use 2 parts mixer and 1 part spirit. 

When creating signature drinks, you can experiment with ratios and do something unexpected. Consult with a mixologist for the best results. 

What Are the Most Common Types of Cocktail Mixers?

Some common types of cocktail mixers include:

- Fruit juices, such as orange juice, cranberry juice, and pineapple juice
- Soda water
- Tonic water
- Simple syrup
- Grenadine
- Bitters
- Vermouth

There are other cocktail mixers you can find on the market or make yourself. Choosing unique mixers will help you create special drinks that will stand out from the rest.

Do Cocktail Mixers Contain Alcohol?

Cocktail mixers are generally non-alcoholic. However, some mixers, such as vermouth, may contain a low alcohol content. It's essential to check the label if you're concerned about alcohol content.

What Is the Purpose of Cocktail Mixers?

Cocktail mixers serve several purposes:

- They add flavor and complexity to cocktails.
- They balance the taste of alcoholic ingredients.
- They provide sweetness, tartness, or bitterness to achieve the desired flavor profile.
- They dilute strong spirits to make the cocktail more palatable.

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