Cocktail mixers are the non-alcoholic components of a cocktail. They can make a big difference in the overall flavor of a drink. While there are many great craft cocktail businesses that make mixers, it’s not always easy to find their products. Some mixers can be made but it takes time. (I also don’t yet own a SodaStream which would come in very handy.) I do have some favorite commercial cocktail mixers for making cocktails at home. These are things I always have on hand and love. They are high quality, shelf stable, and are widely available.
Best Fruity Cocktail Mixers
1. Reàl Fruit Syrups and Purees
When I started getting into tiki cocktails during quarantine, in large part because of Easy Tiki, I needed fresh fruits. So many of the syrup recipes called for things that were either not in season or weren’t available in my Midwestern grocery store. This led me to do some serious, and delicious, research. I wanted to find something bursting with flavor that would taste as good as homemade, while not spoiling quickly. All of these traits can be found in Reàl Fruit Infused Flavoring Syrups. They are easy to use and flavor blast your cocktails in the best way. I love the passionfruit, pineapple, and coconut flavors the best.
2. Monin Flavored Syrups and Concentrated Flavors
When I first started drinking coffee, I thought the sweeter it was, the better. I discovered Monin’s yummy coffee syrups and enjoyed hazelnut lattes for years. (I have since learned to love coffee and like to taste it without added flavors.) Fast forward to my cocktail years, and I have rediscovered Monin Syrups for mixing in my cocktails. They have some very interesting flavors that are perfect for drinks. I like buying flavors for out of season fruits like Strawberry and Peach.
Monin has recently come out with Concentrated Flavor. (They were nice enough to mail me some to try.) These are super interesting as they allow you to add natural flavors to drinks, or food, without any sugar or artificial ingredients. While they taste a little odd on their own, they really add delicious flavors to cocktails. I really like the Ginger and the Rosemary. It’s nice to be able to add a zing of fresh flavor to something, even when you don’t have the fruit, spice, or vegetable on hand.
Best Fizzy Cocktail Mixers
3. Fever Tree Tonic Waters
I discovered Fever Tree Tonic Waters when I was looking to make the perfect gin and tonic. Much has been written about this very cherished drink and the importance of the right tonic water. Many bartenders I’ve spoken to over the years agree that Fever Tree is one of the best tonics on the market. Since a gin and tonic is roughly 60-75% tonic water, you want the flavors to be right. And, you don’t want them to be too sweet or artificially flavored. Fever Tree has a wide range of flavors but the Indian Tonic Water, the Elderflower Tonic Water, and the Aromatic Tonic Water are my favorites.
4. Topo Chico Mineral Water
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed my love of Topo Chico. This mineral water is hands down the most carbonated I’ve ever tried. This is important as a cocktail mixer because you may not be serving your drinks right away. I personally love carbonated drinks and I want them to tickle my nose a little. Flat drinks just won’t do. This finger lime mojito (pictured above) was made even better with the addition of Topo Chico. The mineral water has been sourced and bottled in Monterrey, Mexico since 1895. The minerality of the water adds the perfect quality to the taste. If you are a fan of a highball, which is perfect for highlighting any spirit, Topo Chico is the perfect pairing for that as well.
Other Cocktail Mixers
5. Luxardo Orgeat Almond Syrup
For most cocktail lovers, the name Luxardo brings to mind the delicious gourmet Maraschino cherries they make. The Italian liqueur factory also produces baking and cocktail ingredients. One of my favorites is their Orgeat Almond Syrup. It’s another critical tiki drink ingredient. I tried making my own orgeat this summer and it turned moldy in less than a week. This led me to finding a better, longer-lasting solution. I couldn’t believe how good this product is. The only trick is that it comes concentrated, so you will need to add some water when using. The manufacturer’s suggestion to dilute it 5 parts water to one part orgeat works perfectly. So, if you need an ounce of orgeat, two tenths of an ounce should be Luxardo orgeat, and the rest should be water.
6. Westbrae Natural Organic Garbanzo Beans (Aquafaba)
Okay, this last cocktail mixer might be confusing at first. However, if you’ve read my vegan cocktail post, it might make more sense. Aquafaba is the juice beans have been cooked in. It makes the best egg white substitute, adding a silky texture to your drinks. If you enjoy cocktails with a nice layer of foam, but don’t eat eggs or eat them raw, get yourself some aquafaba. The Westbrae Natural Organic Garbanzo beans are unsalted and the taste of the juice, strained from the beans, is almost invisible. This means that you won’t even taste it in your cocktail. Cheers!