10 Secret Cocktail Ingredients

Here’s our roundup of the best mixers, garnishes and more to jazz up your tipples.

Whether you’re mixing a pitcher of Margaritas for friends or pouring an apéritif to sip before supper, these 10 ingredients help making cocktails just a little easier. All you have to do is add liquor and enjoy.

Cane Simple Liquid Sugar: Although making simple syrup isn’t difficult, sometimes you don’t need a big batch. These new single-serve packets are a convenient way to sweeten drinks, and they’re great for iced coffee and tea, too. $5.50, box of 24.

The Perfect Purée: When recipes call for exotic fruit like prickly pear, yuzu or blood orange, bartending pros often turn to these freezer-ready purées. (Save some for your morning smoothies). $25, 30-ounce jar.

Tippleman’s Lemon Oleo Saccharum Syrup: Shhh… one of the secrets of making a great punch is oleo-saccharum (which means “oil-sugar”). Of course, you can make it yourself. But you can speed up the process with this new offering from the cocktail-mad scientists behind The Gin Joint in Charleston, South Carolina. This citrusy sweetener brightens whiskey and other aged spirits with ease. $22, 500ml.

Employees Only Grenadine: Skip the neon-pink sugary grenadine. The good stuff is syrup made from pomegranate juice, cane sugar and not much else. This is the version used by the legendary New York City cocktail den Employees Only. Experts there add just a touch of spice, lending sweetness and a rosy hue to Jack Roses and a wide range of other classic drinks. $13, 12 ounces.

Luxardo Maraschino Cherries: Ditto for your cherries: No artificially flavored neon-pink sugar bombs. Produced in Luxardo, Italy, these chewy marasca cherries are marinated in Luxardo maraschino liqueur (also made from cherries). Drop them into Manhattans, Shirley Temples and other cocktails. $20, 14.1-ounce jar.

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Q Tonic: Since there’s more tonic than gin in your G&T, it might be time to consider upgrading. We like the slightly bitter quinine bounce and mild agave sweetness of this brand, which also makes club soda, ginger beer and other sparkling mixers. $14 for 4-pack of 6.3-ounce bottles.

Hella “Salt and Pepper” Two-Pack: Aromatic and Citrus Bitters: Think of this as your starter kit. For most drinks, you’ll need “aromatic bitters” (Angostura is the leader in this category) as well as orange bitters. This set, which winks at the idiom that bitters are the “salt and pepper” that season cocktails, provides both. $24.

Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters ($26) and Fee Brothers Celery Bitters ($10): For intermediate-level cocktailing, consider investing in these two bottles. Chocolate mole bitters add spicy complexity to Tequila and whiskey drinks, while celery bitters are a must-have for gin cocktails and, of course, next-level Bloody Marys.

Gordal Olives Stuffed With Lemon Peel: Ideal for crisp martinis, these little flavor bombs mean you don’t have to decide between a lemon twist or an olive. $20, two 7-ounce jars.

B.G. Reynolds Orgeat Syrup; B.G. Reynolds Falernum Syrup: If tropical drinks are on the list for your next backyard BBQ luau blowout, you’ll want these syrups on hand for Mai Tais and Zombies. $13, 375ml.

Published on May 21, 2015
Topics: Cocktail Recips, Cocktail Trends
About the Author
Kara Newman 
Spirits Editor

Kara Newman reviews spirits and writes about spirits and cocktail trends for Wine Enthusiast. She's the author of Shake.Stir.Sip.: 40 Effortless Cocktails Made In Equal Parts (Chronicle Books, coming fall 2016) as well as Cocktails for a Crowd (Chronicle Books, 2013).   Email: spirits@wineenthusiast.net



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