Cocktails are a thrilling combination of spirits and a broad array of ingredients, including fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other liquids, from sodas and coffee to dairy or fruit juice.
If you’re looking to expand your bar menu or working on a line of canned cocktails for take-out or distribution, it pays to know which additives are the most popular with consumers. Which juices are most commonly used as mixers for cocktails? Here are a few you might want to keep on hand.
Although plenty of drinks feature tropical or seasonal fruit flavors, citrus ranks among the most popular juice additives for cocktails. Just think of how many well-known and long-lived beverages prominently feature citrus flavors.
Margaritas, mojitos, gin and tonics, gimlets, daiquiris, caipirinhas, and Moscow mules are all improved by lime juice's fresh, zesty flavor.
Lemon drops are likely the best-known lemon cocktails, as the tart fruit features heavily, but you’ll also find this bright citrus in classics like the whiskey sour, sidecar, gin fizz, Long Island iced tea, and of course, any alcoholic version of lemonade.
You can’t forget about orange juice, though. The simple screwdriver is one of the first cocktails many college students try, although fuzzy navels may be a close second. Mimosas are another popular option, as is the Italian garibaldi, and you may have noticed that these drinks pair only a single liquor with OJ, making for easy mixers.
More complex options like the hurricane or Alabama slammer abound, but the most common orange juice drinks are the simplest.
It’s hard to think of a drink in the past 20 years more popular than the Cosmopolitan, made famous by Carrie Bradshaw and the SATC gang. The simple combo of vodka, cran, Cointreau, and lime is certainly delicious, but it’s far from the only cranberry cocktail out there.
The sea breeze is a refreshing summer fave featuring vodka, cran, and grapefruit juice, while a cranberry margarita offers a fun and tart twist on the classic tequila drink.
Adding cranberries and juice to a Moscow mule adds a sweet-tart appeal that complements the bright lime and spicy ginger. Cranberry mimosas are another fun derivation, adding a bit of tartness to this sweet beverage, along with a beautiful red hue.
It’s hard to imagine a tropical drink that doesn’t feature pineapple and its quintessential sweetness. Piña coladas, Bahama mamas, and Singapore slings all benefit from the inclusion of sweet, acidic pineapple juice, and it can easily be added to margaritas, mimosas, mojitos, and a variety of vodka and rum cocktails for extra appeal.
The Malibu sunset is a particularly pretty pineapple drink with coconut rum, OJ, and grenadine in a gradient from red at the bottom, to orange in the middle, to yellow at the top (sunset style, naturally).
Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries all make for popular additions to a range of alcoholic beverages, whether they’re muddled, blended, or simply thrown in whole for garnish. As for juice, though, blueberry tends to dominate when it comes to cocktails.
Blueberry daiquiris are the modern rival to outdated strawberry concoctions, but for something a little more grown up, a blueberry gin smash, blueberry vodka lemonade, blueberry mojito, or blueberry basil bourbon cocktail will fit the bill admirably. With its telltale color and flavor, it’s hard to argue with what blueberry juice brings to the table.
Okay, it’s not actually fruit juice, but coconut milk certainly has a place in the cocktail realm, most notably in tropical drinks. Light and only slightly sweet (as opposed to pineapple juice), coconut milk makes for outstanding sippers like a creamy coconut margarita, a subtle coconut martini, and all kinds of tropical milkshakes and smoothies.
With plenty of juices to choose from, you’ll certainly have fun coming up with concoctions to please customers, but it’s always best to have popular classics on hand.