The Best New Cocktail Mixer Replaces the Sugary Syrups of the Past
It’s time to pay attention to what’s in that cocktail glass, besides booze.
Take a look at your liquor collection. Chances are, each bottle earned its spot by dint of craftsmanship and flavor. Now, consider your choices when it comes to premade mixers: cranberry juice, margarita mix, ginger ale—they’re typically packed with juice concentrates or artificial flavoring. Combining them is like investing in one of those fancy electric toothbrushes your dentist is proud of you for using, only to brush with corn syrup instead of toothpaste.
Tired of seeing beautiful spirits sullied with mass-market counterparts, Columbia Business School classmates Denetrias “Dee” Charlemagne and Alex Doman recently launched Avec to rethink the premade cocktail mixer category “along modern values,” using high-end ingredients and minimal additives and sugars. Charlemagne comes from an advertising background, while Doman worked as a consultant for food and beverage companies across the United Kingdom; by combining their skills, they ensure that their mixers are made with the same amount of care as a bottle of high-end gin or vodka.
Avec isn’t alone. Better-made mixers like Swoon and Root have been slowly trickling into homes, but to develop their five flavors, the cofounders specifically tinkered with common mixer and spirit pairings and set out to devise healthier, more complex carbonated versions of each for American consumers. Avec's hibiscus and pomegranate, for example, is intended to entice cranberry-vodka devotees. Grapefruit and pomelo is for lovers of the paloma; ginger mimics ginger beer in a mule. Jalapeño and blood orange shines in margaritas, and yuzu and lime is designed to accompany vodka. By relying on ingredients like allspice, Ceylon cinnamon, pomelo, and lemongrass extracts, Charlemagne and Doman are aiming to simplify the making of premium cocktails (which might otherwise require lots of specialty ingredients) at home. While Avec was created with alcohol in mind, they also elevate alcohol-free drinks. “A lot of customers use us in mocktails, and we definitely also see ourselves as part of that movement,” says Doman.
Shop the sampler pack for three of each flavor of Avec, including our favorite, grapefruit and pomelo. $45 at avecdrinks.com