Home Bar Essentials, part 2 – Non-Alcoholic Mixers and Juices


Mixers add volume and flavor to cocktails. Most of these ingredients are already present in our kitchen cabinets, and the rest you can buy from a nearby grocery store. Stocking mixers and juices that mix well with liquor can come in handy when you are hosting guests.

Essential Mixers for your home bar

  • Bitters – A dash or two of bitters can transform the flavor of almost any cocktail. For starters, you can pick up aromatic and orange bitters which are most commonly used. A bottle of each can last you years.
  • Simple Syrup – An incredibly simple solution made from sugar and water, the syrup is used for sweetening cocktails. You can make it as you go.
  • Sour Mix – Commonly used in tropical cocktails, the sour mix adds citrus flavor to the sweet syrup base. It’s another DIY ingredient and you can easily find a sour mix recipe online.
  • Grenadine – Made from pomegranate, the red syrup has a tart and sweet flavor. It’s used for adding both color and flavor to cocktails. You can buy a bottle or prep one yourself.
  • Milk, Half & Half, or Cream – Used in comforting drinks like the White Russian, these mixers can be bought as needed as their shelf life is limited.
  • Coffee and Tea – Another set of mixers from your kitchen shelf that can be used for making many hot and cold cocktails. Richer stronger brews of coffee and black teas tend to mix best with cocktails.
  • Sauces – Tabasco Sauce and Worcestershire Sauce are essential accompaniments if you stock tomato juice. They can add a spicy or savory flavor to many drinks.

Next up, we have juices that you can pick up easily on your next trip to the supermarket. Of course, we also recommend picking up fresh juices whenever possible. However, read-to-pour juices are convenient for everyday drinking.

Essential Juices for your home bar

  • Lemon and Lime Juice – Counted among the essentials for any bar, these citrus juices are used to make countless cocktails. Also, they are the easiest to squeeze fresh.
  • Orange Juice – A good bottle of orange juice will instantly up your cocktail game. It’s another juice you can squeeze fresh for your Screwdriver and Tequila Sunrise shots.
  • Cranberry Juice – Sweeter and a popular accompaniment for Vodka based cocktails, the cranberry juice can be picked up off the shelf.
  • Grapefruit Juice – Not essential, but grapefruit juice can be used in tall and short drinks, especially for summer cocktails.
  • Pineapple Juice – Tropical cocktails need a tropical juice and what can be better than pineapple juice. Although, try to stock smaller bottles or cans so it remains fresh.
  • Tomato Juice – An essential ingredient for Bloody Maries.

Apart from the mixers and juices, you should also have a few varieties of soda. It’s a simple ingredient available almost everywhere. However, you may have to visit a super-mart for picking up some of the fancier varieties.


Essential Sodas for your home bar

The list of sodas is simple and includes varieties you are likely to encounter in most recipes. Club Soda, Tonic Water and Ginger Ale are almost universally used in cocktails. Apart from that, cans of cola or diet cola are also good to have along with lemon or lime soda (or Sprite). When picking up sodas, go for smaller bottles. It keeps the fizziness alive when serving individual drinks. Reserve the liter bottles for larger gatherings.

With the mixers sorted, the only things left are the garnishes. For those, read our follow-up blog on picking up essential garnishes and some non-essential ones too when shopping for the mixers and juices.