A bar without any cocktail mixers is not a fully stocked bar. You can have all the glassware and every liquor known to man but without anything to mix the alcohol with you won’t be able to make the elaborate cocktails everyone enjoys. Cocktail mixers really are of equal importance as the liquor when it comes to making drinks.
As a bartender it’s important for you to be familiar with the different mixers. Learn what they taste like and what drinks each mix is commonly used for. Here are the most popular cocktail mixers:
Simple Syrup- This mixer is used to sweeten up drinks and add volume to your cocktails. It’s essentially just water and sugar. As the name implies its very simple to make. Simple syrup contains two parts sugar and one part water.
First take your water and bring it to a boil. Then add your sugar and begin stirring. Once the sugar has completely dissolved remove your boiling water from the stove and allow it to cool. Once cooled your mix will begin to thicken up.
Then simply bottle it and store it in the refrigerator. Simple syrup is used in a variety of drinks, often times including Mojitos, Daiquiris, and Hurricanes.
Tonic Water- This is a carbonated drink that contains quinine. Quinine is substance that is used to fight malaria which makes tonic water a popular drink in South Asia, Africa, and the tropics. It has a bitter taste as is commonly used in the classic cocktail- gin and tonic.
Sweet & Sour- This is a popular cocktail mixer. It’s made of sugar lemon and/or lime juice. This mix has a sweet flavor with a tart aftertaste. Hence the name sweet and sour. You can buy this cocktail mixer already mixed and bottled from many places. However most bars will make their own because they can tweak the taste of the mix and it’s cheaper.
Cola- Everyone knows what a good old fashion coke-a-cola tastes like. This is often mixed with whiskey and of course rum for your classic rum and coke.
Lemon & Lime Soda- This is Sprite or Sierra Mist. Just another type of soda that you will commonly find in bars for a variety of cocktails.
Juices- Every bar will need to be well stocked with all the popular juices- Orange Juice, grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, pineapple juice, tomato juice, lime juice, and lemon juice. These are your standard juices that you’ll find in a bar. They are used in a large variety of cocktails and make a great staple to any bar. If you want to be well stocked on cocktail mixers have these juices.
Ginger Ale- This is another kind of soda. It gets its spicy and tart flavor from the ginger root. This is used in many cocktails and often mixes well with whiskey.
Cream- Half & Half is probably the most common cream you’ll find in a bar. Creams are used often in coffee drinks, as well as a lot of other cocktails including the white russian.
Grenadine- This isn’t exactly a cocktail mixer. You won’t find a cocktail that calls for a large amount of grenadine. It is a red syrupy substance that is poured in small amounts to add flavor and color to cocktails. It has a cherry taste and is used in cocktails like the Tequila Sunrise.
As a bartender you’re not limited to only these cocktail mixers. These are only the most popular mixes you’ll find in most bars. You have the whole world to pick and choose your mixes from. Experiment with mixing your own drinks. Add different amounts of cocktail mixers to create interesting and new drinks.