The past couple of years have seen a growing trend of at-home mixology. We're shaking, stirring, and pouring up more cocktails in our kitchens these days, and doing it in style!
The basis of any great cocktail is fresh, natural ingredients topped with a high-quality spirit. But locating and maintaining an inventory of fixings can be difficult. That's where cocktail mixers come in!
Let's dive into the intoxicating world of cocktail mixers and discuss how to spot the best ones!
What Are Craft Cocktail Mixers?
Have you ever hosted a party and struggled to gather the cocktail ingredients you need? Do you often toss out a wilted bushel of mint because you only used a few leaves? Non-alcoholic cocktail mixers simplify the whole drink-making process.
You can buy an entire pineapple, several figs, and raspberry liqueur to make a French Fig Martini. Or you can get a bottle of Dirty Pelican's Pineapple Fig mixer and combine it with vodka and ice. No work or messy clean-up involved!
Traditional mixers combine several non-alcoholic ingredients to create the base of the cocktail. You add alcohol and ice, and serve! But these bright, neon-colored concoctions are often packed with sugar and chemicals.
Sure, maybe they made the cut when you were in college, but it's time to upgrade the drinking experience! The best modern cocktail mixers contain natural ingredients and low sugar content. They're also versatile and easy to use for beginners and professionals alike.
Are Healthy Cocktails Possible?
Yes! It's absolutely possible to create healthy cocktails with the right ingredients. The key is to stick to low sugar mixers with fresh ingredients - simple!
The CDC recommends that sugar makes up no more than 10% of our daily calorie intake. For an adult who consumes 2000 calories, that's about 200 calories of sugar per day. That works out to around 50 grams of the sweet stuff.
Now let's look at one of our restaurant favorites, the frozen Margarita! There's no denying that this tangy, salty beverage is a version of liquid heaven on a hot summer's day. But do you have any idea how many calories and grams of sugar it contains?
The standard 16 oz. frozen Margarita packs 586 calories and 77 grams of sugar! Now imagine drinking more than one of these. It would amount to over half of your daily caloric needs and almost three times the recommended sugar intake.
But giving up a cold Margarita on a blistering summer afternoon isn't an option, so what do you do? Use low-calorie, naturally sweetened Margarita mix, of course!
Dirty Pelican's Jalapeno Margarita mix has zero sugar, of the white processed variety. Our mix gets its sweetness from real agave syrup. This means fewer calories, no white sugar, and a healthier Margarita (you can even go for a second round if you want to!)
But what about flavor? Grocery store cocktail mixers and restaurant Margaritas are jam-packed with sugar. The sweetness makes it delicious but also results in a one-note flavor.
Once you start using premium, boutique cocktail mixers, you'll notice a big difference. A range of flavor explosions and surprising punches of spice will come through. The result is an elevated cocktail experience that goes beyond that junky sugar taste!
How to Choose the Best Cocktail Mixers
If you want to find the best cocktail mixers, do yourself a favor and skip the grocery store! These electric-hued mixes are sugar, dye, and chemical-filled. Not to mention severely lacking in flavor!
If you check out the standard grocery store cocktail mixers, you'll often find high fructose corn syrup as one of the first ingredients. Up next: a bunch of chemicals you probably can't pronounce or identify. And Yellow 5 or Blue 1 likely round out the list.
These are essentially the Capri Suns of the mixology world - not a lot of natural goodness and a whole lot of sugar. Instead, look for mixers that contain pure ingredients like mint, lime juice, ginger, and fruit. Not only are they healthier, but they also pack a punch of flavor!
Since 2019, cocktail drinkers have been craving more sophisticated flavors. This year, spicy, bitter, and herbal are top trends, but these are almost impossible to find in store-bought mixers. That's where boutique, organic cocktail mixers come to the rescue!
As for sugar, choose mixers that use natural substitutes like agave syrup. We know that overconsumption of sugar leads to health issues like obesity, cavities, and chronic illnesses. But did you know that sugar also dehydrates the body?
Both alcohol and sugar have diuretic properties. When you combine them, say in a cocktail, your body tries to balance this by using the liquid from your cells. This process results in dehydration, which is probably the last thing you want when having a few drinks!
With an ever-growing emphasis on health, cocktail lovers are looking for better options. We lightly sweeten our mixers with natural agave. That means a healthier cocktail for you today and no sugar headache tomorrow.
Ease of Use
Do you happen to have a jigger or a muddler on hand? Probably not! Craft cocktails often involve complicated equipment that most of us don't have in our kitchens.
Beyond that, cocktails often require specific ratios and measurements. If you're eyeballing how much vodka to add, you might end up with a cocktail that's too strong or too watery. And multiplying these ratios when serving a large group is an even bigger headache!
Finding a cocktail mixer that's easy to use can actually be harder than you might think. Their labels often lack recipes, so you're left confused about how much to use. And they might even require extra ingredients like seltzer, simple syrup, or liqueurs.
Dirty Pelican cocktail mixers take all the guesswork out of mixology. You simply combine the mix and your choice of spirits with ice, and enjoy! Or top it off with a garnish for that extra special touch.
This might be a bold overstatement, but almost everyone has half a bottle of unused Margarita mix sitting in their kitchen cupboard. Or they've tossed one in the trash in the past year. That's the problem with some cocktail mixers - they're only useful for one type of drink.
But that takes all the fun out of cocktail creation, doesn't it? Take our Blackberry Zest mix, for example. It's a perfect pairing for vodka, gin, tequila, mezcal, bourbon, whiskey, and rum!
Another thing to look for is a mix that's delicious enough to use for mocktails. As we dive deeper into wellness and healthy living, alcohol-free cocktails are becoming more popular. A cocktail mixer that can stand on its own, without alcohol, means true versatility!
Small Batch Production
The first mistake beginner at-home bartenders make is assuming the spirits are more important than the mixer. They take their time choosing high-quality, small-batch distilled vodka. Only to mix it with a $2 Margarita mix that's mostly sugar.
Small batch and boutique cocktail mixers are a much better option. When you buy a product created by a small company, you know they're making it with care. There's closer attention to detail and more love put into the finished result.
Inexpensive mixers are often produced in large batches in a factory. They lack the hand-crafted quality and fresh ingredients that boutique mixers offer. And you can definitely taste the difference!
The way a cocktail mixer appears isn't just about aesthetics. Sure, you also want something that'll look stunning sitting on your home bar, but it goes beyond that.
An overwhelming amount of grocery store mixers come in plastic bottles. We get it; plastic is cheaper to produce. But what about the sustainability aspect of it?
We recommend looking for mixers in clear glass bottles. Bottles with clear ingredient labels, calorie content, and recipes are ideal! So many companies miss out on these crucial elements, leaving consumers confused.
Finally, try to choose cocktail mixers that live in the fridge, not the pantry. Fresh ingredients don't survive on shelves, meaning those mixers are full of chemicals added to prolong their shelf life. Glass, refrigerated packaging makes more of a difference than you might think!
Created by Cocktail Lovers
Getting the right proportions and flavor profiles can be tough if you're not a cocktail lover. That's where a lot of mixers get it wrong. The best cocktail mixers are the brainchild of someone who genuinely loves a good cocktail!
If you're searching for the best mixer, look into the company's backstory and why they created their product. Does it fill some gap or provide a solution? Do the creators enjoy drinking and crafting cocktails?
We started Dirty Pelican because we wanted restaurant-quality cocktails at home. Ones that didn't dump sugar and junk into our bodies - just good old-fashioned fresh ingredients! Oh, and we refused to sacrifice taste or ease of use!
Upgrade Your Mixology Game With Cocktail Mixers
We love a classic cocktail, but this year's top drink trends focus on reinventing the classics! And we know that gathering fresh ingredients and searching for recipes can be a pain. Luckily, at-home mixologists can get the same elegant drink experience with our mixers!
Not Your Average Margarita
The standard lime-based Margarita is a blessing on hot days and a great addition to tacos! This refreshing combination of lime juice, tequila, and orange liqueur cools you down in an instant. But we prefer ours with a little heat!
Upgrade this classic cocktail with our Jalapeno Margarita mixer. Savor the zesty, fresh key lime flavor as it melts into the earthiness of your tequila of choice. Note how the jalapenos boost the flavor profile and add that je ne sais quoi to your experience.
For a non-alcoholic version, skip the tequila and opt for seltzer or dash of soda. These non-alcoholic mixers are the perfect choice for sophisticated drinkers who prefer to skip the spirits!
A Wellness Inspired Martini
Wellness and Martinis don't traditionally fall in the same sphere but hear us out. The original recipe calls for gin (or vodka), a splash of dry Vermouth, and an olive or two. But what if you could easily infuse your Martini with antioxidants?
Enter our Pineapple Fig mix! This mix is loaded with fresh pineapple and fig juice, raspberries, rosemary, and ginger. And ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great addition to this wellness cocktail!
Raspberries and pineapples are low in calories but high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Meanwhile, figs add a natural sweetness to the mixer. A hint of aromatic rosemary balances the flavors, keeping everything fresh and clean!
An Elevated Gin Smash
The classy, invigorating Gin Smash is a summer staple. It's commonly made with basil or mint, sugar, and lemon juice, topped with a quality gin. Nix the classic ingredients and swap them for our Blackberry Zest mixer for a modern take.
Blackberries lend a burst of sweetness, tamed by the tanginess of fresh lemon. A rush of peppery ginger blends flawlessly with aromatic gin, finishing with a kick of fresh mint. This mix will turn even the most die-hard cynics into gin lovers!
Create a Superior Cocktail Experience
Are you ready to say goodbye to laborious recipes, expensive tools, and lack of flavor? Making a great, classic cocktail doesn't have to be an hour-long endeavor. Cocktail mixers offer simplicity in the best sense - three ingredients and a garnish, that's all you need!
Simply combine your spirits and cocktail mixer, shake, and pour over ice. All you need to do now is sit back and enjoy restaurant-quality cocktails in the comfort of your kitchen!
Check out Dirty Pelican's line of healthy, boutique, and delicious cocktail mixers! From Margaritas to Martinis, we've got you covered.