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The Essential Drink Mixers List for Your Home Bar

16 Mixers Every Home Bar Needs to Be Applause-Worthy

The Only Drink Mixers List You'll Ever Need!

Picture it!  Your friends and family gather around your home bar, anticipation high. You, the host with the most, whip up a round of classic cocktails that leave everyone impressed. But how do you get there? The secret lies in having a well-stocked bar, and that doesn't require a fortune. This guide focuses on essential mixers that provide the foundation for endless cocktail creations, allowing you to become the star of your next gathering. 

According to a recent study by Drizly, 1 in every 4 surveyed opts for enjoying drinks at home with family and friends over heading to the bars. Whether you're a seasoned entertainer or just starting out, this guide will equip you to create delicious and impressive cocktails.

Must-Have Liquors

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Let's build your bar's foundation. Here are the essential liquors you'll need for a variety of classic cocktails:

  • Start with Whiskey: A versatile choice, whiskey can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in countless cocktails. Bourbon and Canadian whisky are great starting points.
  • Vodka is Universal: Known for its neutrality, vodka mixes well with almost anything. Choose a budget-friendly option for cocktails and a premium bottle for sipping.
  • Have at least One Bottle of Gin: Gin's botanical notes add complexity to cocktails. London Dry Gin is a classic choice.
  • Tequilas for the Margarita Lovers: Blanco tequila is ideal for margaritas, while a reposado adds a touch of agave flavor.
  • Two Rums is Better than One: Light rum is perfect for Daiquiris, while a dark rum adds depth to Old Fashioneds.
  • Don't Forget About Brandy: Brandy adds a touch of sophistication to cocktails like the Sidecar.

Click Here for our full bar liquor list!

Must-Have Liqueurs

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Liqueurs add depth and complexity to cocktails. Here's what to stock:

  • Here Go the Basic Liqueurs: Dry and sweet vermouth are essential for Manhattans and Negronis. Amaretto, orange liqueur, and coffee liqueur open doors to many other classics.
  • Other Liqueurs to Stock: While not essential, liqueurs like Chambord or crème de cacao allow you to experiment further.

Click Here for our full Must Have Liqueurs for Home Bar list!

Must-Have Non-Alcoholic Mixers: The Unsung Heroes

Non-alcoholic mixers are the foundation for well-balanced cocktails, playing a starring role in taste and texture. Let's explore some key players:

Ice: The Foundation of Chill

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Ice may seem like a simple ingredient, but it plays a crucial role in cocktails. Using high-quality, clear ice is a game-changer. Clear ice melts slower, preventing your cocktails from becoming watered down and maintaining their perfect dilution.

Citrus Juice: The Life and Soul

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Fresh citrus juices (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit) are irreplaceable. Their bright acidity cuts through the sweetness of alcohol and adds a burst of flavor. Invest in a citrus juicer for maximum freshness and flavor.

Cranberry Juice: A Tart Twist

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Cranberry juice adds a tart and refreshing element to cocktails like Cosmopolitans, Sea Breezes, and Cape Codders. Look for artisanal cranberry juices with less sugar for a more balanced flavor.

Tomato Juice: The Savory Side

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Tomato juice is the base for the iconic Bloody Mary. Explore brands like V8 or opt for a homemade version for a touch of customization. Remember, choose a juice that's not overly salted to maintain a balanced flavor profile.

Worcestershire Sauce: A Savory Surprise

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Worcestershire sauce adds a layer of umami depth to savory cocktails like Caesars and micheladas. Just a few dashes can elevate the complexity of your drink.

Ginger Beer: The Spicy Kick

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Ginger beer is not to be confused with ginger ale. It has a spicier and more flavorful profile, making it perfect for cocktails like the Dark & Stormy or Moscow Mule. Consider brands like Fever Tree or Q Mixers for a premium ginger experience.

Club Soda: The Gentle Fizz

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Club soda provides a gentle fizz without overwhelming sweetness. It's a great choice for refreshing cocktails like Gin & Tonics or Mojitos.

Tonic Water: A Bittersweet Melody

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Tonic water, with its bitter quinine flavor, is the ideal partner for gin in a Gin & Tonic. Explore different tonic water brands like Fever Tree, which offer options with elderflower or cucumber for a unique twist.

Cola: The Classic Choice

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Cola adds a touch of sweetness and spice to cocktails like Rum & Coke or Cuba Libres. Choose your favorite brand or experiment with different varieties to find your perfect match.

Cream of Coconut: A Tropical Escape

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Cream of coconut adds a creamy sweetness and tropical flair to cocktails like Piña Coladas and Bushwackers. Choose a brand with a good reputation for thickness and flavor.

Cream: The Rich and Creamy Touch

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Cream adds a luxurious texture and richness to cocktails like White Russians, Grasshoppers, and Mudslides. For best results, opt for heavy cream with a higher fat content. Non-dairy alternatives like oat milk or coconut milk can also be used.

Coffee: A Morning (or Anytime) Choice

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Coffee adds a unique depth of flavor to cocktails like Espresso Martinis, Irish Coffees, and Mexican Coffees. Use cold brew concentrate or strong brewed coffee for the best results.

Simple Syrup: The Sweetener's Secret Weapon

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Simple syrup is a bartender's best friend. This easy-to-make solution of sugar dissolved in water balances out the tartness of citrus juices and adds sweetness to cocktails. Experiment with flavored simple syrups made with fruits, herbs, or spices for a personalized touch.

Grenadine: The Ruby Red Accent

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Grenadine is a bright red syrup typically used for layering or adding a splash of color to cocktails like Tequila Sunrises and Hurricanes. Consider making your own grenadine with pomegranate juice, sugar, and orange blossom water for a more natural flavor.

Vermouth: The Essential Vermouths

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Vermouth is a fortified wine available in dry and sweet varieties. Dry vermouth is a key ingredient in Manhattans and Negronis, while sweet vermouth adds depth to Manhattans and other classic cocktails. Vermouth should be stored in the refrigerator once opened to maintain its freshness. Vermouth can also be enjoyed on its own as an aperitif.

Bitters: The Tiny Powerhouse

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Bitters are highly concentrated flavorings used in tiny dashes to add complexity and depth to cocktails without overpowering them. The "holy trinity" of bitters – Angostura bitters, orange bitters, and Peychaud's bitters – is a great starting point for home bartenders. Explore different bitters to experiment with various cocktail styles.

Essential Tools for Your Home Bar

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While mixers are crucial, having the right tools makes creating cocktails a breeze. A bar spoon, jigger, strainer, and shaker are essential for consistent results.

Click Here for the Best Bar Tools!

Taking Your Entertaining to the Next Level

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With this foundation, you're well on your way to becoming a home mixology master. However, the world of cocktails is vast and exciting. For those who crave deeper knowledge and the ability to create signature drinks, Barprints offers "Mixology Mastery: Online Bartending Course." This comprehensive program takes you from cocktail basics to advanced techniques, empowering you to craft applause-worthy drinks and impress your guests. What classic cocktails are you most excited to try?