Having the right mixers at home is equally as important as having the right spirits. Who wants to stand around sipping vodka and water when you could be handing your pals and associates a refreshing Moscow Mule with fresh lime juice, spicy ginger beer and a beautiful garnish?
The spirits and mixers you decide on stocking depends on your style. If you have a lot of drop in guests, you might need a larger cross-section of accoutrements on hand. If your bar is for your own enjoyment most of the time, then you can tailor your liquor and mixers more specifically to your tastes, having some essentials on standby in case your book club changes locations to your place at the last minute.
Here are 7 mixers you should keep in the fridge or on the shelf that will earn some gold stars with your impromptu garden party or with yourself (“Good lookin’ out, past self. Loving this gin and tonic tonight!”).
Lemons and Limes
The quintessential essential. A large percentage of mixed drinks call for lemon or lime juice and/or garnish. Don’t punish yourself with a the pre-bottled juice at the market, when it’s so easy to grab a couple lemons and limes every time your at the grocery store and squeeze your own. Your tastebuds will thank you time and time again!
A true essential these days, you can pour this with any base spirit and have a wonderfully delicious bubbly concoction within a moment’s notice. Pro tip: combine with a lemon or lime - cut in half and squeeze, drop a wedge in or express the peel, rub the glass rim with the exterior of the fruit and drop it in for the win!
Keep a six pack or two at the ready! So many of your dropper’s by will want a Moscow Mule and if you have ginger beer, limes, vodka and stylish copper mugs on hand, they’ll think you planned their arrival! We know you want a mule, too. So do it for yourself.
Can’t make a G&T without one and, boy do people love their G&T’s! Moving on.
A base spirit, lemon or lime and simple syrup is your basic sour, and I bet you or your pals has a real soft spot for them, because they are well balanced and sophisticated with very little effort. It’s so easy to make your own you should just do it. Mix equal amounts sugar and water in a saucepan, heat and stir for a few minutes and you’re done. Add fruits, herbs or teas to the mix to make something fun and special. Simple syrup will store in the fridge for about 3 weeks, so plan accordingly.
Aromatic and orange bitters are must-haves. They’ll add depth and flavor to almost any cocktail. They are also essentials in a large swatch of classic and modern-classic cocktail recipes. A bottle of each should last you years.
Cola or diet cola
Even if you don’t drink soda, have a few cans of each on hand. They’ll last forever and that mystery guest who only drinks bourbon and diet will pop up sometime. Make them happy. They deserve it.
Don’t forget to keep your ice stocked up. Nobody wants a warm drink!