Taste Test: Modern Cocktail Mixers - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Just as the cocktail renaissance has brought a leveling-up behind the bar, the quality of ingredients available to home bartenders has never been better. Forget the neon-hued supermarket bottles of yore; many of today’s cocktail syrups and mixers feature fresh, natural ingredients that yield surprisingly good results in the glass. Whether you’re mixing for a crowd, elevating your zero-proof offerings, or simply wanting a quick Old Fashioned after a long day, a quality mixer can stir it up in a snap.

American Cocktail Co. Smokin’ Margarita American Cocktail Co. collaborates with bartenders and cocktail consultants to create mixers for bar-quality cocktails in a flash. Far from the average Margarita mix, this Smokin’ Margarita, created by bartender Brian Van Flandern, combines organic lime juice with maple syrup, chipotle chili powder, and smoked hickory salt for a fresh and citrusy Margarita with a spicy bite and slightly smoky finish. $11.99, americancocktailco.com

Bittermilk No. 1 Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned Tapping their service industry experience, husband and wife Joe and MariElena Raya launched Charleston-based Bittermilk in 2013. The Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned syrup combines burnt cane sugar with fresh orange peel and spices and is bittered with gentian root and cinchona bark, then aged in Willett bourbon barrels. Just a splash adds all the complexity of a perfectly dialed Old Fashioned. $15, bittermilk.com

Fix Cocktail Simple Syrups Tiki Pineapple From the husband-and- wife team behind Madison, Wisconsin’s Quince and Apple Company, the new line of Fix Cocktail Simple Syrups takes the same small-batch approach with whole fruit and cane sugar. The Tiki Pineapple is an aromatic mix of tropical fruit and baking spice. Mixing the syrup with dark rum emphasizes the spicy notes, while using it in a simple spritz high- lights the bright, juicy pineapple. $9.99, fixsyrups.com

Morris Kitchen Citrus Agave Back in 2009, Kari Morris, working from her Brooklyn kitchen, started bottling a ginger syrup that she could use to make some of her favorite cocktails. Today, her lineup of Morris Kitchen mixers, from Pineapple Lime to Tomato Beet, is found on shelves across the country. The Citrus Agave is a fresh, tart blend ofcitrus juice with just enough agave sweetness and spicy cayenne on the finish, and it mixes particularly well with mezcal. $11, morriskitchen.com

Portland Syrups Spicy Ginger Syrup Brewing and bottling from its Portland, Oregon, warehouse, Portland Syrups nixes extracts in favor of whole botanicals and spices for a full lineup of flavors, from Rose Cordial to Root Beer. The Spicy Ginger Syrup has an earthy ginger flavor complemented by basil leaf, followed by a kick of heat from habanero and serrano chilies, making for a vibrant Moscow Mule or whiskey and ginger. $14, portlandsyrups.com

Simple Times Mixers Raspberry Mule With a style more akin to a juice bar than a cocktail bar, the Columbus, Ohio–made Simple Times Mixers live up to their name with a short list of fresh and seasonal ingredients comprising the fruit-forward flavors. The Raspberry Mule’s magenta hue is matched by a vibrant berry flavor and makes fora fresh, juicy cocktail or an equally delicious spirit-free soda. $13.99, simpletimesmixers.com

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