Cocktail Bar Mixers – Juices, Soda and More
Mixers are simply anything you “mix” with alcohol to make a drink. And, these same mixers are used for plain, non-alcoholic drinks. Craft bars have a ton of stuff, but we’ll stick to the basics here. Don’t over-complicate this!
Every bar has “mixers.” You know – juices, soda, cream, energy drinks, etc. Aspiring bartenders need to know all of the types of mixers used in cocktails.
Don’t spend too much time on this – give it a quick read and you’ll be good to go. Nothing special here, and it’s all common sense. When we get to Cocktails, Section 6, a lot of the below mixers will come into play.
Here we go…
Assorted Juices Used In Cocktail Bars
All bars have juices. Some have a juice dispensing system, but most are bought by the can or bottle, fresh or frozen, and poured into a plastic juice container. With an “easy pourer.”
- Tomato Juice
- Orange Juice
- Grapefruit Juice
- Cranberry Juice
- Pineapple Juice
- Coconut Juice
- Apple Juice
- Bloody Mary Mix (Yes, I’m calling this a juice!)
Rose’s Lime Juice
Pure lime juice. Technically a juice like the items above, I guess, but Bartenders don’t really look at it that way – so I gave it a category all by itself. There are many cheaper brands than “Rose’s.” Drinks: Gimlets, Margarita’s, Mojitos, Daiquiri’s, Kamikaze’s.
Originally made from the pomegranate fruit, but now many bars carry the cheap stuff made with corn syrup and food coloring. Very sweet. Tequila Sunrise, non-alcoholic Shirley Temple (7-Up and Grenadine), and more. Bartenders are known to add it to almost all fruity drinks.
Pina Colada Mix
Pineapple, coconut, lime juice, lots of sugar. Drinks: Almost exclusively Pina Colada’s, of course, but some bars have a ton of fruity drinks where they add this mixer to enhance the flavor.
Sweet ‘N Sour Mix
Sweetened lemon juice. Simply lemon juice and sugar. And lots of water. Can come in bottles or packets of dry mix. May be on one of the bartender’s “gun dispensers.” Some bars make their own. Popular in Sours, Daiquiri’s, Margaritas, etc.
Getting more popular these days – especially in bars that allow children accompanied by parents. Appletini’s, Jolly Rancher and other drinks. Usually, there’s an apple flavored vodka or Schnapps for these drinks, but bartenders can get really creative.
By the bottle, but many bars make their own. Simply sugar and water. For something so simple, tons of recipes and ways to make it. Stick with what the house/bar manager dictates. Bartending purists, craft bars, and others like using this mixer in all kinds of drinks – you won’t.
Very popular these days. You’ll get a lot of calls for “Vodka Red Bull!” And not just Red Bull. Monster drinks and other “energy” type drinks.
Bar Soda Mixers
- Uncola’s (7-Up, Sprite, anything lemon-lime)
- Diet Cola
- Diet Lemon-lime
- Tonic Water (Quinine)
- Plain Soda
- Plain Water
Premium Seltzer/Soda Water
Perrier, New York Seltzer, Pellegrino, etc. Most customers will simply call out “soda.” In that case, use the soda from the soda gun. If ordered plain – try and upsell them to a premium bottle. “Sounds good – Perrier OK?”
Depends on the bar. I had one customer who wanted us to have chocolate milk on hand. We obliged. I indulged.
Tom ‘N Jerry Mix
Seasonal. Tons of variations. Basically, sort of an eggnog batter. Add brandy and/or rum. Or whatever. Usually not as thick as eggnog.
Seasonal. Milk, cream, sugar, some make it with both egg whites and yolks. You can add almost any type of liquor to it.
Bitters and the following three items are not really mixers, I guess. An alcohol-based botanical, Angostura Bitters can be found in most bars, but different variations are popping up all over. Intense flavor. Some Manhattan’s, Martinis, and the Old Fashioned. Bartenders seem to be adding bitters to a lot more drink recipes than what they used to.
For build-from-scratch Bloody Mary’s. And food items. Some interesting history and facts about this tasty condiment here.
Usually Tabasco brand. Bloody Mary’s and food items.
Many times used in Bloody Mary’s. Old school.
That’s it. As you keep hearing me say – all bars are different! The above are just the basics, and you’re probably already familiar with 90% of them. Just give the customer what they want!