A well-stocked bar shelf is an essential part of hosting a perfect party or making drinks for yourself after a long day at work. Having the right mixers can make a world of difference in the quality of the drinks you create. Not to mention, it allows you to offer various options to your guests. Whether it's a classic cocktail or something more innovative, the right mixers go a long way. In this blog post, we will highlight four must-have mixers for your wooden bar shelf.
Tonic water is a classic mixer that pairs perfectly with gin. It's made by adding carbonated water and quinine, resulting in a slightly sweet and bitter taste. Tonic water is also perfect to have when you want to cut back on alcohol but still have a drink in hand. It acts as a base for various mocktails as well. Tonic water can be used in a variety of drinks, including gin and tonic, vodka and tonic, and rum and tonic.
Ginger ale is a versatile mixer that can be used in a variety of drinks or even enjoyed on its own. It's made by mixing fresh ginger root, carbonated water, and sugar. Ginger ale adds a warm, spicy flavor to drinks, making it perfect for whiskey, rum, and vodka-based cocktails or mocktails. It's also perfect for creating a light and refreshing drink with just a shot of liquor, ginger ale and a dash of lime.
Club soda is another classic mixer that is perfect for creating highballs. It’s carbonated water that has slight flavor and is more versatile than regular tonic water. It’s a crucial ingredient in refreshing drinks such as Whiskey Sours and Tom Collins. Club soda can be mixed with various ingredients like citrus, fruit juices, and bitters to create unique and delicious cocktails and mocktails. It is also an excellent alternative to tonic water for those who don't enjoy the slight bitterness.
What about herbs?
Herbs have been used for medicinal and culinary purposes for centuries. These natural ingredients infused into our favorite alcoholic drinks add the right amount of zest and excitement to any party. While many have learned to appreciate and enjoy the classic angostura bitters, there's a whole world of deliciousness beyond it. In this blog post, we will introduce you to three interesting herbal alcoholic preparations that are sure to tickle your taste buds and add an extra layer of excitement to your next hangout with friends.
Fernet Branca is a popular Italian herbal liqueur that has been around for over 150 years. Made with over 27 herbs and spices including myrrh, chamomile, and saffron, Fernet Branca has a bitter and refreshing taste that can be enjoyed as an aperitif or digestif. It's the perfect ingredient for an enhanced cocktail. The herbaceous and bitter taste of Fernet Branca pairs well with drinks like a "Toronto" which is a mix of Fernet Branca, simple syrup, and rye whiskey, or a "Branca Menta Sour" which is made with Branca Menta (a variation of Fernet Branca infused with peppermint), fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white.
Chartreuse is a French herbal liqueur made by Carthusian monks in the French Alps. This vibrant green spirit is made with 130 different herbs and plants that are distilled in a secret process known only to the monks. Chartreuse has a distinctly herbal and sweet flavor that can be a great addition to cocktails. The bright green color and unique flavor make it a great conversation starter. Some delicious chartreuse-based cocktails include the "Bijou" which is made with gin, Green Chartreuse, sweet vermouth and "Last Word" which is a potent mix of Chartreuse, gin, lime, and maraschino liqueur.
St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur:
St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur has a sweet, floral flavor and is made from freshly hand-picked elderflowers. It is a refreshing and aromatic addition to any cocktail. The delicate flavor of this liqueur can be paired with various spirits such as gin, vodka, or champagne to make elegant and sophisticated cocktails. Try delighting your guests with the "Elderflower Collins," which blends St-Germain, gin, lemon juice, and soda water, or add a luxurious touch to your celebrations with the "Champagne Cocktail" which is made with St-Germain and champagne.
Angostura Bitters: The Secret Ingredient in Classic Cocktails
Whether you're a fan of an Old Fashioned, Manhattan, or a classic Gin and Tonic, there’s one ingredient you'll always find in its recipe – Angostura Bitters. A few drops of this concoction transcend a regular cocktail into a more sophisticated and complex drink. But what is Angostura Bitters? Why is it so important to use in cocktails? In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the history, ingredients, and the significant role Angostura Bitters play in enhancing the flavors of classic cocktails.
Angostura Bitters is a widely used ingredient in cocktail making, but where did it all start? In the early 19th century, a German doctor named Johann Siegert settled in Venezuela and began experimenting with local herbs and spices. Using his knowledge of medicine, Siegert developed a mixture of different herbs and spices to aid in digestive health. The result was a 44.7% alcohol-based bitter called "Amargo Aromatico" that soon made its way to the United States. The Amargo Aromatico was later renamed "Angostura Bitters" after the town of Angostura in Venezuela.
The composition of Angostura Bitters is a secret formula known to a few individuals worldwide. The exact blend of herbs, spices, and bitter substances is a closely guarded secret known only to the company's top management. The primary ingredients of Angostura Bitters, however, are cloves, cinnamon, allspices, gentian root, orange peel, and quinine.
When it comes to cocktail making, Angostura Bitters plays a significant role. The primary purpose of bitters is to balance out the flavors in the drink. An Old Fashioned, for example, is made up of whiskey, sugar, and bitters. The bitters' addition brings a depth of flavor that mitigates the sweetness of the sugar and enhances the whiskey's earthy and smoky notes. In contrast, a Gin and Tonic without bitters can taste flat and plain, but with a few drops, the drink takes on an entirely new flavor profile.
Beyond their palate-enhancing abilities, bitters have also been used for medicinal purposes throughout their history. The gentian root, used in Angostura Bitters, was believed to aid digestion, while quinine, which comes from the bark of a South American tree, was commonly used to combat malaria. Although bitters' medicinal powers are no longer viewed as a cure-all, they are still considered a natural digestive aid.
Angostura Bitters' secret formula and unique blend of herbs and spices make it an essential ingredient in classic cocktails. The bitters' versatility in balancing flavors and adding depth to cocktails provides a flavorful and complex drinking experience. Regrettably, many people overlook this essential ingredient, but the addition of just a few drops of Angostura Bitters can enhance the flavor profile of almost any cocktail. Try experimenting with incorporating Angostura Bitters into your favorite mixed drinks and experience the transformative power of this unique concoction.
Herbs have been used for centuries to enhance the flavors of food and drink. The three herbal alcoholic preparations we've highlighted in this blog post are perfect for those who want to explore different flavors and take their cocktail game to the next level. Fernet Branca with its rich aroma and strong flavor, Chartreuse with its complex mixture and striking green hue, and St-Germain with its delicate and floral fragrance, offer a wide range of options for you to experiment with. Go ahead, discover new and exciting flavors, and make cocktails that will leave your guests begging for more.
Having the right mixers is essential for making any cocktail bar complete, and the four mixers listed above are essential to have on your wooden bar shelf. When hosting a party or enjoying a night at home, it’s always good to have versatile, classic mixes available that pair well with many different types of alcoholic beverages. Take a chance and try out different mixes until you settle on your preferences; you may be surprised by what you find. So, go ahead and stock up your bar shelf with these must-have mixers and enjoy your drinks. Cheers!