These cocktail mixers go way beyond sugary syrups.

AVEC and Williams Sonoma Variety Pack shown on tabletop with cocktails.
Courtesy of AVEC/Williams-Sonoma

Calling all designated bartenders at home gatherings: It’s time to step away from gathering ingredients, juicing, or muddling behind the bar and join your friends and family at the table. With high-quality, at-home mixers, you can now simplify the bartending process because West Coast makers have done the hard work for you. Just add your favorite liquor—or nonalcoholic spirit.

Dominique Gonzales founded Root Elixirs, based in San Luis Obispo, California, when she needed a way to consolidate her ingredients so she could spend less time behind the bar. “I wanted to be able to step away from bartending at my home barbecues and still give my friends the same tasting experience,” Gonzales says. “There was a gap where there wasn’t something fresh and carbonated on the market.” She had years of bartending experience and wanted to create an elevated, fresh mixer so that people could have craft cocktails without the added time or hassle. Root Elixirs specializes in carbonated mixers with fresh-squeezed ingredients and botanical syrups for a line that ranges in flavors from pineapple passionfruit to strawberry lavender.

Turns out, other companies were founded for the same reason. Ken MacKenzie realized he spent all his time at dinner parties behind the bar because every cocktail required so many ingredients and so much time, so he delved into creating Fresh Victor, a brand of mixers that incorporate cold-pressed juices and no artificial additives. He began in the tequila industry but noticed consumers would mix top-shelf spirits with low-quality mixers with tons of added sugar.

More Videos From Sunset

“One thing people were asking me over and over, no matter where I was, was, ‘When you make these cocktails it takes six minutes,'” he says. “‘People aren’t going to spend six minutes making cocktails, so what’s the cheat code?'”

He found that the cheat code was simple: mixers that contain all of the ingredients without sacrificing freshness.

H. Joseph Ehrmann, Chief Mixology Officer of Fresh Victor, emphasizes the importance of fresh ingredients to mimic craft cocktails you can get from your favorite bar. “What we learned really early on is if you’re using fresh ingredients, it can mix with anything — from gin to beer to Champagne to tequila.” (Fresh Victor’s jalapeño and lime mixer also works for marinating chicken.)

These four companies have created the shortcut you’ve been looking for: real mixers that might even outshine your bartending skills.


Read the Current Issue

Get one year of Sunset—and all kinds of bonuses—for just $24.95. Subscribe now!