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Homemade Cocktail Mixers, up your cocktail game

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Homemade cocktail mixers are easier to make than you might think.

While many of them take some time to steep or cool, most of them require little active time.

They just require a bit of sugar, a bit of fruit or juice or nuts or spices. Okay, the tonic probably requires some stuff that you’ll probably have to order online (but don’t worry—I’ve even told you where to find those oddball ingredients).

Homemade Cocktail Mixers: 12 recipes to level up your drinks

This is a great way to avoid the over-processed, artificial, and frankly not-very-good mixers you find at the low end of the mixer section.

And they’re generally much cheaper to make than the pretty bottles and jars of syrups and cherries of the premium craft cocktail stuff.

Most of these are great as sodas on their own if you have a carbonator or plain seltzer or sparkling water. And the cherries are great on ice cream, too!

Homemade Cocktail Mixers

Homemade Cocktail Mixers to Level Up Your Drinks

The selection of cocktail mixers at liquor stores fall mostly fall into two categories: cheap and loaded with artificial colors and flavors and high fructose corn syrup or premium artisanal syrups from the craft cocktail resurgence with prices to match.

What's a cocktail geek with a passion for flavor but without an unlimited budget to do?

Make your own!

Many cocktail mixers, syrups, and tonic, and garnishes are actually pretty easy and inexpensive to make at home. Some, like homemade tonic, require tracking down obscure ingredients (but online ordering makes them easy to get your hands on), while others simply require access to sugar, nuts, fruit, juices, or spices that you can probably find at your local grocery store.

This is basically homemade sour mix, and it's also a great way to use up zested citrus you have lying around.

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This ginger syrup makes a smooth, creamy, complex ginger ale. It's not too spicy, but the fresh ginger is definitely there. It's great in a Moscow Mule (or a Mezcal Mule), a Whiskey Buck, a Dark and Stormy, or a Pimm's Cup.

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This rhubarb syrup is great with gin or vodka and a splash of St. Germaine. It's also a great way to use up rhubarb from the garden.

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This garnet-hued raspberry syrup has a bright, jammy berry flavor. It's great in a Clover Club and other fruity drinks.

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This homemade tonic syrup makes the best gin and tonics ever. It's tart from the citrus and citric acid, bitter from the quinine, angelica root, and aromatic from the coriander, cardamom, and juniper.

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Orgeat is really just a simple almond syrup with a small splash of orange flower water (also called orange blossom water), This one is made from sliced almonds and is delicious.

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Everything you wanted to know about how to make simple syrup, the most essential of cocktail mixers.

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Most orgeat recipes involve steeping almonds for several hours. This one cuts out that step by using plain unsweetened almond milk.

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If you have elderflowers, this cordial is incredibly easy to make. It's like a non-alcoholic version of St. Germaine. Delicately floral and fragrant and delicious.

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Making your own grenadine at home is easy. Really. You'll have better Shirley Temples and Jack Roses in no time.

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This is a very flexible recipe. It only takes a few minutes of active work. Time does most of the work for you. But it's a great way to get into the world of shrubs.

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These brandied cherries are so much better than commercial Maraschino cherries (unless you're talking about pricy Luxardos). This recipe works with fresh sour cherries or sweet cherries.

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