by Molly Bradley
Put the Coke and the orange juice down. Things are about to get way more exciting.
You can get a great Old Fashioned from your favorite bar, and a great wine from a bottle. But when you start making your own cocktails, that’s when you really find the perfect drink.
The best thing about making your own cocktails? You get to choose the precise amounts of each ingredient to suit your tastes to a T, and experiment with things you’d be ashamed to ask for at a bar. Over time, you’ll wind up creating your own signature cocktails — not least thanks to playing around with some unconventional ingredients.
If you want to start experimenting, here are some unusual and delicious mix-ins. These aren’t all strictly mixers, but they’re additions, accents, and flavors to add to your cocktails that will not only taste delicious, but impress the heck out of your friends.
- Alice & the Magician’s Rosemary & Wild Honey Cocktail Aromatic
Alice & the Magician is a Vermont-based company that takes great care in crafting the aromas of their products. Their aromatics come in spray bottles that you can use to mist the top of your cocktail and add an aromatic element that will mingle with the cocktail’s flavor and totally transform it.
Their Rosemary & Wild Honey aromatic is unbelievably good for all seasons. If you’re new to aromatics, its scent is familiar enough to ease you in gently. It pairs especially well with herbaceous or lemony gins. Plus, if you want to take things to the next level, try it with gin, soda, and blueberry jam in what’s called a Blue Apiary. You’re welcome.
- Cocktail Crate’s Sriracha Margarita mix
Yeah, Sriracha has been all the rage for a while now, but honestly, it’s only getting better. Now, in addition to eating it with everything, you can drink it. Add this extremely good, pleasantly spicy mixer to tequila and there, you’re done: the best margarita you’ve ever had.
- Hella Company’s Hibiscus Cocktail Syrup
If you’re more into fruity drinks, you need this hibiscus syrup. It’s more decadent in flavor than a grenadine but much less sweet, so you can enjoy this tropical flavor and still have your drink tailored to your desired sweetness. Also, hibiscus is one of nature’s greatest gifts to us. Enjoy it.
- Element Shrub’s Lemon Mint Shrub
Before we talk about the wonderful Element Shrub’s product, you might be asking: what even is shrub? It’s a vinegar concoction that functions as a sour mix would in a drink — and by drink we mean anything from cocktails to just plain water. (Try it!)
This one in particular makes a drink taste like an exponentially more refreshing version of lemonade. It’s perfect for sipping on in whatever you’re drinking this summer.
- Christina Maser Pantry’s Strawberry & Blueberry Shrubs
We really want you to get into shrubs. Seriously: Christina Maser’s shrubs may come in these classic fruit flavors, but they’re anything but ordinary. Mix these into lemon or limeade for an extra-zingy drink, or create the effect of a complicated cocktail with just these, your alcohol of choice, and a sweetener like honey or agave.