Orange juice, tonic water, sweet and sour mix—store-bought cocktail mixers have a place in the home bar. But if you really want to impress your friends, you should start making your own. Syrups, sodas and even bitters are fairly easy to prepare and will give you instant credibility when it comes to mixing cocktails. Who is going to argue with the person who pulls out a bottle of homemade tincture?
Here, arranged from easiest to most challenging, DIY mixers that will elevate your mixology game. Note: Bitters and tinctures need to sit for a week or more, so plan ahead.
Why you should make it: Because it’s one of the easiest mixers you can make—just pomegranate juice, sugar and heat.
Recommended Cocktail: The Jack Rose
Why you should make it: Because you’re so, so bored with simple syrup and you want a fresh taste in your cocktails
Recommended Cocktail: The Ultimate Mojito
Why you should make it: Because it’s always good to have ginger beer around. If you don’t want to mix it in a cocktail, you can drink it straight.
Recommended Cocktail: Mango Moscow Mule
Why you should make it: Aside from being able to say, “Oh, this, it’s just my homemade tincture,” it can add a depth to a cocktail that you’ll never get from standard liquor store mixers.
Recommended Cocktail: The Harrier
Why you should make it: Because you will not find these bitters at any store. Also because you are the sort of person who likes to DIY everything.
Recommended Cocktail: The Figgy Orange