Through a resurgence of classic mixers and flavourful garnishes, new and exciting drinks are being created to satisfy the cocktail cravings of all customers.
One tried and true mixer, tonic water, has long been associated as a classic ingredient, most famously in the gin and tonic. These days, the carbonated drink can be found infused with botanicals, such as elderflower and raspberry, to give a refreshing aftertaste. Citrus can also be incorporated to create elevated gin and tonics. Ingredients such as lime pair well to make the drink even more refreshing and crisp. The acidity of citrus also adds flavour to drinks by turning them sour or sweet. Lime creates sour flavours while oranges create sweeter flavours due to their citric acid content. Understanding how to incorporate citrus with spirits and mixers is a simple way to elevate a traditional cocktail.
Fruit-based juices such as cranberry, orange and pineapple have long been associated with classic cocktails. Cranberry juice is commonly used as a mixer in vodka-based cocktails like the cosmopolitan as the sweeter berry flavoured base contrasts against the strong vodka flavour. Orange juice is a fruit flavoured mixer which is ingrained in many cocktails such as the tequila sunrise but can also be mixed with other spirits such as amaretto or brandy. Orange flavours are well paired with spirits such as tequila as they are assertive and can balance the strong flavour of these spirits. Pineapple can also add a tropical flair to many cocktails, such as the iconic piña colada, as the tartness of the pineapple provides balance against the sweetness of coconut cream creating a cocktail that is fruity and refreshing.
Dehydrated fruit garnishes have grown in popularity due to their convenience, as well as their ability to add subtle flavours to cocktails – and let’s not look past the fact that they look beautiful and make your drink 10x more Instagrammable. Cocktail cherries are also a tried and true garnish used in many cocktails, especially popular in Tiki bars. The rich and tart flavour of a cherry can offer balance to a drink as it completes the cocktail instead of overpowering it.
Add a little spice
Spice is used all around the world in food and drinks, no less as a flavour base to pair with the darker coloured and bold spirits. Incorporating spice into a drink can be achieved easily through ginger ale or ginger beer mixers which work well with bourbon or whisky giving the perfect balance between spicy and sweet. The spice of a ginger beer or ale enhances the aromatic flavours in both spirits with the rich and earthy quantities in whiskey and bourbon, and creates the perfect amount of carbonation. Alongside being used as a mixer, ginger root can be muddled in drinks to add spice and depth to the flavour of rum and vodka-based cocktails. Garnishes such as cinnamon sticks are perfect for infusing natural spice flavours into drinks as it is a naturally stable element, which can also be turned into syrups of its own and can even help infuse the flavours of other ingredients into the cocktail.