Does the thought of drinking liquor straight make you cringe? You may just be the type for mixed drinks which make you look forward to guzzling on an eventful evening.  Interestingly, the term “mixer” is used for the endless variety of stuff which is added to liquor to turn them into refreshing and enticing cocktails. Although mixers may not be alcohol, they are manufactured with the sole purpose of being mixed with them. When it comes to cocktails, often it is the mixers which make the drink. You cannot have rum without Cola or a summertime Bloody Mary without bitter.

A well-stocked home bar is not just about the liquor. Essential mixers too should find place among alcohol. They add flavor and effervescence to the drinks and are actually the most essential ingredients which are required to concoct a classic cocktail. Mixers not only make alcohol palatable, but can go a step further to make them healthier. They can change the consistency of the drink to make it thicker or watery. Some are used solely for decorative purposes and add an aesthetic touch to the cocktail’s presentation. There are a range of mixers which should be a part of the home bar if you want to make simple and delicious drinks. Let’s find out more about them:

Sparkling Water: It is free of calories and artificial ingredients. It can easily beat most juices which are loaded with sugar. To increase the volume of your drink and restrict on calorie intake at the same time, you can add a splash of soda water.

Bitters: It is wise to keep a selection of bitters in your home bar. They are inexpensive and can last for quite some time. Bitters can range from classic orange to rare and unique flavors. They magically elevate the flavor profile of your favorite cocktail.

Club Soda: It is plain carbonated water with minerals and is flavorless. Once you add club soda to a drink, it will draw out and mellow the strong-flavored ingredients. This mixer comes of use when your drink is a tad too strong and you need to lighten it. It adds effervescence and dilutes the cocktail.

Ginger Beer: This pairs perfectly with bourbon and dark rum. As it has a strong flavor and is sweet, it works flawlessly with cocktails such as “Moscow Mule” and “Dark n Stormy.”

Apple Cider: Be it winter or fall, apple cider remains a preferred choice. It works well with rum, brandy and bourbon. Perfect for complex tasting cocktails, apple cider adds a holiday touch to your drink all the year round. With each sip you will savor the drink and be less inhibited to let your hair down.

Grenadine: With all the bars serving fancy cocktails, simpler concoctions with grenadine are often forgotten. This sweet and tart, red-colored syrup is used in delicious cocktails such as Tequila Sunrise. Usually, bartenders add grenadine to give cocktails the attractive pink or red color. Traditionally pomegranates are used to make this syrup and occasionally blackcurrants.

Combier: Combier, the world’s first triple sec was created in 1834. This pristine and clear orange liqueur is distilled from sugar beets and West Indian orange peel. The robust and bitter liqueur is an essential ingredient in Margarita and the classic Sidecar.

Green Chartreuse: This herbal liqueur which comes in yellow hues is an absolute must for your home bar. Drinks which use this liqueur are popping up in well-known bars across the globe. Pair it with bourbon and immerse in the magic of the complex flavors. Apart from being an excellent cocktail ingredient it is also a flavorful digestiff. Herbaceous yet refreshing, it has a smoother finish than other mystery blends.

Benedictine: Made of herbs, roots, sugar and a cognac base, the Benedictine liqueur has a distinct taste. A sweet honey flavor accented with fruit tones and holiday spices, it is not a mild liqueur. It pairs perfectly with the bourbon-based Creole Cocktail and Derby Cocktail. Owing to its bold and robust flavor profile, it is considered a staple ingredient in a well-stocked bar.

Lejay Crème De Cassis:  Black currants are used to make this fruity liqueur which imparts a fiery red color to the drink. A dash of this mixer imparts a beautiful reddish tint to the cocktail but little by way of flavor. It plays an interesting role in the champagne cocktail, Kir Royale.

For those who prefer the taste of alcohol tempered with a sweet or sour additive, perhaps it’s time to stock the key ingredients and jazz up your home bar. If you are a cocktail connoisseur who wants to serve unexpected guests with the drinks of their choice, owning these “mixers” will ensure that you are well-prepared for any situation. Do not forget to garnish the drink with lemon wedges, fresh fruit slices, olives or Maraschino cherries for an appealing and artsy touch.