If there’s one thing holding back a full-on craft cocktail revival among home bartenders, it’s subpar cocktail mixers sold at liquor stores and grocery chains. Neon green and cloyingly sweet, the mass-manufactured jug of sweet and sour has never been a match for the blanco tequila you use to make spicy margs. The other in-store options—those sugar-laden pre-made mai tai and piña colada mixes—are best left behind with spring break memories. And as for the sparse selection of bitters? It’s limiting your creativity.

 

 

Recognizing these shortcomings, bartending veterans have been trying their hands at creating better pre-made cocktail mixers. These are blends you’ll be proud to pour in your shaker and trust to jive with the top-shelf booze on your bar cart.

“When bars shut down due to COVID-19 last year, interest in home bartending skyrocketed—and exponentially more consumers started searching for ways to replicate the bar experience at home,” says April Wachtel, who leveraged her more than two decades of experience in the beverage and hospitality industry to launch Cheeky Cocktails, a line of syrups and juices. “Fortunately, many of us were here to help meet the demand.”

This new generation of pre-made cocktail mixers eschews artificial flavors and preservatives. Instead, these products call on fresh-pressed juices, handmade syrups, and superfood ingredients. That means you don’t have to hand-squeeze limes by the dozen, juice pomegranates, or extract ginger in order to make batch cocktails at home. You’ve got more options than, say, Angostura bitters, too.

From an aroma you can spritz on cocktails to bitters that’ll level up your recipes, these products are made with the most serious cocktail enthusiasts in mind.