The average American consumes just under 500 drinks per year. Some are better than others, some are overpriced at bars, and some you can enjoy in the comfort of your own home.
Mixology isn't just for the professionals. You can bring high-quality cocktails to your home bar and impress your guests for years to come with a cocktail mixer like Dirty Pelican.
Let's talk about the best cocktail mixers and liquors to turn your home bar into the talk of the town!
Best Liquors for Your Home Bar
First and foremost, quality cocktails start with quality liquor. The better the liquor and the wider variety you have, the better your mixing abilities. Here's where to start.
Vodka is, without a close second, the most versatile liquor available. However, it's also the easiest to use incorrectly when making cocktails.
If you've ever had low-quality vodka, chances are it's burned into your memory (and throat) for life. Choosing the right vodka is essential to boosting your bartending skills, mainly because so many popular drinks use it.
Unlike whiskey or tequila, a smooth and high-quality vodka pairs well with nearly any cocktail mixer. For this reason, shop around for quality vodka and don't cheap out. Your guests will thank you.
Gin is the most similar liquor to vodka, which also pairs well with most cocktail mixers. For this reason, we recommend stocking the shelves with some popular gin brands, as they aren't likely to last long.
Tequila is a very popular alcohol in the United States, and it's made from agave plants just south of the border. Choosing a good tequila isn't too difficult, and some are surprisingly affordable.
However, expensive tequila brands are very popular both in rap songs and real life, so having them on hand could impress your guests.
Whiskey is one of the most popular drinks in the US and (unsurprisingly) the most popular liquor in 30 US states. While whiskey doesn't mix with too much, people do enjoy it on its own.
Having flavored whiskey options available is always recommended, but more importantly, have a quality version of all three types of whiskey available. Rye, bourbon, and scotch are essential for any home bar.
Having a spiced and unspiced option is sure to keep your guests happy, but rum also comes in varying strengths. Keep one in the average 80 to 100-proof range, and the other can go higher or lower.
Don't Forget the Liqueurs
You can create many specialties with liqueurs, and there are thousands of items to choose from. We suggest talking to some of your regular guests and seeing what they like.
For example, if you want to make some classic tropical drinks (you can sing them), having a coconut liqueur is essential.
Again, take a poll and see what's popular, so you don't break the bank or use unnecessary space behind your bar.
Best Cocktail Mixers to Enhance Your Drinks
There are many reasons to have a home bar, especially for entertainment. You may like what you like, and there may be mixers or liquors on these lists you despise.
However, that doesn't mean the people you entertain won't be grateful for your selection. Here are some of the most popular drink mixers you should always have on hand.
Lemons & Limes
Nothing beats lemons and limes when it comes to additions to your drinks. Too many drinks incorporate these to bother counting, so having them on hand is always a good idea.
The best part is that these will last for a couple of months when stored correctly (away from the sun), and you'll always have them on hand for cooking. We've all cooked a piece of fish or made a Mexican-style meal and realized we forgot our lemon or lime.
Moreover, you can enhance nearly every beverage with these two citrus fruits, no matter how your guests order their drinks. Even neat or watered-down drinks and beers will often use lemon or lime to enhance their flavors.
Few beverages hold a candle to juice, especially orange and cranberry juice, when it comes to versatility. The best part is that, unlike lemons and limes, these will last in your bar fridge for a long time before spoiling.
Beyond orange and cranberry, we recommend grapefruit and pineapple juice as your backups.
If you want it to keep forever, you can always buy canned juice and keep it frozen, as this will save space while keeping your options wide open. The more varieties you have, the better.
Tonic or Seltzer Water
Another versatile mixer is tonic water, perfect for vodka, gin, and other liquors if your goal is to keep things simple. It's a great zero-calorie option for health-conscious guests.
In nearly every tonic-based drink, lemon and lime will undoubtedly enhance the flavors, so keep those on hand.
If you want to have even more options available to your guests, you can even choose flavored tonic water. However, that is truly going the extra mile.
Like lemons and limes, herbs aren't precisely "mixers," but they can be great infusers. They're also very versatile to have at home, even if you aren't entertaining.
Of course, the first herb that comes to mind is fresh mint, which is very easy to grow at home if you want to have it fresh for long periods.
Mint is perfect for mint juleps, mojitos, and other popular drinks. Having it fresh and available is sure to impress your guests!
Having some soda available is an excellent idea before we start getting into the specialized drinks, even if you don't drink it yourself. There are classic cocktails like rum & coke that many guests will eventually order.
Whether you drink soda or not, having a can of Sprite and Coca-Cola on hand could save your status as the greatest bartender in town.
Yes, these will require more than just the mixers, but it's worth your time as a host.
If you have tequila and no margarita mix, you're likely to receive some questions from your guests. If you have neither, you will miss out on some fun party opportunities!
Margaritas are some of the most commonly ordered cocktails in the US, so you want to make a bold statement with these drinks. For that reason, you need the best mixer.
Want to impress your guests even more? Try our unique jalapeño margarita mix for the true Margarita lovers out there. It has just the right spice in a classic margarita style without any artificial additives.
Also, everybody has either sugar or salt available in their homes, but we suggest buying some coarse-ground versions specifically for your margaritas.
If you've never made a traditional margarita before, put out two plates, one with sugar and one with salt. When making a margarita, rub the top of the glass with lime until it's wet, flip it upside down, and rub it into the salt or sugar (whatever they choose) before filling the glass.
When making your margarita, you can also add delicious lime, fresh jalapeño, and the perfect touch of Himalayan pink salt for enhanced flavor. But, we have you covered with our signature jalapeño margarita organic cocktail mixer, so you don't need to do any work. Pair this organic cocktail mixer with high-quality tequila, and your guests will be asking for more!
As an added tip, have some margarita glasses available behind the bar to impress your guests even more.
Unlike certain mixers that come with artificial syrups and flavorings, you can try using an organic cocktail mixer that's made with delicious and natural flavors.
For example, try our pineapple fig organic cocktail mixer if you want to have a refreshing drink that pairs well with vodka, tequila, or bourbon. It has a refreshing pineapple flavor paired with fresh fig, a splash of raspberry, hints of ginger, and a pleasant surprise of rosemary.
It may have unique flavors, but unlike other mixers on this list, Dirty Pelican goes with just about any liquor. The flavor, consistency, and smoothness will match just about any whiskey, rum, gin, or vodka you choose.
However, you can't fix bad liquor! If you choose the right liquor and pair it with a Dirty Pelican mixer, you're bound to please even the pickiest of your guests.
Mix It Up
Now that you know the best liquors and best cocktail mixers to stash in your bar, it's time to start shopping and enjoy your new home bar as soon as possible.
As always, please remember to drink responsibly, stay up to date with our latest cocktail tips, and feel free to contact us with any questions!