As it is so aptly put forward by the team over at Fever-Tree, “if three quarters of your drink is the mixer, mix with the best”.
Whilst Fever-Tree might have this notion down pat, the rest of us are often guilty of never actually considering just how much of a difference our choice of mixer makes in how much we end up enjoying what we’re drinking.
Keeping this in mind, we’ve put together this quick and simple guide on how to pair some of your favourite types of spirits with many of the mixers commonly found at most supermarkets.
Read on to discover how all of the major types of spirits, including whisky/whiskey, vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and brandy, can be mixed and enjoyed with basic mixers.
What to Mix with Whisky/Whiskey
Speak to any connoisseur about which mixers work best with whisky or whiskey and you’ll likely receive an earful about how the treasured drop should only ever be drunk neat.
Whilst this is definitely the purest way of drinking it, we appreciate that not everybody wants to drink their whisky neat or with a splash of water all of the time.
When you do decide to mix whisky or whiskey, we recommend that you do so with any of the following supermarket mixers:
Cola: The classic bar order of “whisky and cola please” never gets old.
For those who’ve not yet been acquainted, be sure to try mixing whisky with cola the next time you’re after something sweet and dark.
Ginger Ale and Ginger Beer: Though they’re more famously mixed with rum, ginger ale and ginger beer can both work just as well with whisky. Bear in mind that ginger beer is usually sweeter than ginger ale.
Lemonade or Lime Soda: Match the refreshingly sweet and citric taste of mixers such as Sprite, Solo, or 7-Up with lighter style whiskies, particularly any kind of blended whisky such as Johnnie Walker Red Label.
Soda or Sparkling Water: For those looking to mix whisky without losing too much of the spirits original flavour, try combining it with soda water or any other kind of sparkling water, which are also both coincidentally low in sugar and calories.
Apple Juice or Cider: If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, try mixing bourbon or Tennessee whiskey with apple juice or even apple cider the next time you want to get creative.
Coffee: If you’re after something to mix with coffee, look no further than Irish whiskey, which is a favourite at many bars throughout Ireland.
These represent some of the most common mixing options for whisky and whiskey but be sure to check out the Johnnie Walker website for more complex cocktail inspirations.
What to Mix with Vodka
Vodka is the primary drink of choice when looking to make cocktails due to the spirits incredibly light and almost non-existent flavour profile.
Not only does it blend fantastically well with almost any flavouring, garnish, or mixer, its complete lack of colour also means it won’t drastically change the drinks appearance either.
When you’re looking for a quick guide on what supermarket mixers work best with vodka, be sure to consider this your go to list of some of the best options:
Soda or Sparkling Water: Practically every drink works well with this mixer thanks to its light flavour profile and vodka is no exception.
Due to both of these drinks having very low levels of sugar, when they’re used together, they’re often considered better for your waistline too.
Cranberry Juice: Popular amongst vodka first-timers, cranberry juice has lots of berry sweetness, which completely overpowers the light flavour of the spirit, making the final drink very approachable.
Lemonade or Lime Soda: The refreshingly sweet and citric nature of these types of drinks matches well with vodka, particularly when served in summer.
Pineapple Juice: Often considered less common than lemon or lime sodas, pineapple juice is just as rewarding when mixed with vodka thanks to its juicy sweet flavour profile.
Red Bull: The classic pick-me-up when out late and partying, vodka and Red Bull is another sweet and easy mixing option with vodka.
Iced Tea: Vodka mixes perfectly with almost any kind of sweetened iced tea, particularly peach flavoured ones.
Whilst these represent some of the easiest mixing options with vodka, be sure to check out Absolut Drinks when you’re looking to step up your bartending game as this site provides you with numerous cocktail options.
What to Mix with Gin
Having triumphantly taken over the craft spirits market here in Australia, craft gin continues to prove enduringly popular, which will be especially true as we head into the warmer months.
Most of us are all too familiar with how gin can be used to make exquisite cocktails that require a professional touch but sometimes we just want to keep things simple.
With this in mind, here is a short list of some of the best common supermarket mixers to combine with gin when looking to make casual drinks:
Tonic Water: The classic mixer to have with gin, tonic water is very polarising, with people either in love with it or hating on it.
For those who only know it to be intensely bitter and unapproachable, try the Mediterranean Tonic Water by Fever-Tree, which is far softer in it’s quinine character, which is responsible for tonic waters famously dry bitterness.
Dry Lemon Soda: As distinct from more readily available lemon flavoured soft drinks such as Sprite, Solo, or 7-Up, reach for a bottle of unsweetened lemon soda the next time you want to mix with gin as the intensely refreshing nature of these drinks mixes well with the spicy and sometimes subtly citric flavour profiles of many bottles of gin.
Orange Juice: An easy find at most supermarkets, orange juice can work extremely well with gin, especially ones that have also used oranges as one of the botanicals, such as Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla Distilled Gin.
Ginger Beer: Equally as good with rum or whisky, ginger beer can also work very well with gin thanks to the complimentary flavours found in the mixer and many bottles of gin.
Grapefruit Juice: Citrus almost always works well with gin and grapefruit juice is no exception, with the bitter tanginess of grapefruit mixing perfectly with dry style gins.
Soda Water: An almost constant feature on this list, mix gin with soda water the next time you’re looking for a mixer that is less on the sugary side.
Outside of these simple mixing options, the BBC Good Food website here offers up some slightly more complex cocktail options when you’re looking to take a bigger leap into mixing drinks.
What to Mix with Rum
You might be tempted to think that rum can only be used in tropical themed cocktails such as the Piña Colada, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Not only has the rum industry matured to the point where there are now hundreds of bottles of rum that are now worth being drunk in the same fashion as single malt Scotch whisky, which is to say neat, there are also a multitude of mixers that bartenders have deemed perfect for mixing with bottles of rum.
Detailed below are some of our prime choices for those looking to mix supermarket mixers with rum:
For a slightly more fancy experience, however, garnish the drink with a slice of lime.
Ginger Ale and Ginger Beer:Gosling’s has made mixing ginger beer and rum a household go-to thanks to their trademark on the Dark ‘N Stormy cocktail, which uses their Black Seal Rum.
Pineapple Juice: Consider pineapple juice and rum the lazy version of a Piña Colada, with the mixer blending perfectly with bottles of white rum in particular.
Coconut Water: Keeping in touch with the tropical theme, coconut water works splendidly well with white rum, making it a good option for those after something a little less on the sweeter side too.
Grapefruit Juice: A favourite mixer of choice at Brix Distillers in Sydney, grapefruit juice works best with spiced rum, although any bottle of white, aged, or gold rum will work just fine too.
Tonic Water: Though usually only mixed with gin, tonic water can work equally as well when mixed with white rum in particular, with the combination of the two offering up a distinctly dry and refreshing drinking experience in summer.
Outside of these basic mixing options, check out the cocktails that Bacardi recommends that you make when you’re aiming for something a little more special.
What to Mix with Tequila
Consumed most commonly as shots alongside a slice of lime and a pinch of salt, there are actually far more enjoyable ways to drink tequila other than in this overused fashion.
Not only do famous cocktails, such as the Margarita, call for tequila, many bottles of premium aged añejo and extra añejo tequila can be drunk neat or over ice, as is recommended in our complete guide for beginners.
When you’re looking to mix tequila with something simple and easily bought from the supermarket, however, consider this your best quick list:
Orange Juice: Often referred to on cocktail menus as a “Tequila Sunrise”, tequila and orange juice makes for a great mixing combo, particularly when you’re using bottles of reposado tequila.
Grapefruit Juice: The tanginess of grapefruit juice can work splendidly well in summer with the dry spiciness of tequila, which, when combined, makes for a thoroughly refreshing drinking experience.
Lemonade: Bottles of Sprite, Solo, and 7-Up can all work well with blanco or silver tequila, especially for those after something a little bit sweet.
Lemon or Lime Soda Water: It is now far more common to find bottles of regular soda water that have been lightly flavoured with lemon or lime flavourings at local supermarkets, which makes these mixers great for combining with any bottle of reposado or blanco tequila.
Tonic Water: It’s become so ingrained to mix tonic water with gin that many don’t ever appreciate just how well this mixer can work with other types of spirits, including tequila.
Ginger Beer: Match the spiciness of a reposado or añejo tequila with ginger beer to make for a wonderfully refreshing summer favourite.
For those looking to go a bit further into mixing and making drinks with tequila, head to the Patrón Tequila Cocktail Lab, where you can find some amazing cocktail recipes.
What to Mix with Brandy, Cognac, & Armagnac
The last of the major spirit types to be featured on this list, brandy, and especially the more premium versions Cognac and Armagnac, have been used in cocktails for decades.
Whilst it’s true that many bottles of brandy should be drunk neat in order to experience their often very nuanced flavours, plenty of popular cocktails use the spirit as their base, such as the Brandy Alexander.
If you’re just beginning to step into drinking brandy when mixed, however, here’s our short list of which supermarket mixers often work best:
Cola: Old fashioned cola works well with basically anything, especially dark spirits such as brandy.
Be sure to consider garnishing the drink with a slice of orange for something a bit more exotic.
Sweet Iced Tea: One of our favourite mixers with brandy, especially younger Cognacs like Hennessy V.S, is iced green tea, with the one by Lipton being our favourite.
Lemonade: When you’re looking to cool down, consider lemonade the best mixing option, with the sweet citrus flavours of the mixer working well with the fruitiness found in many bottles of brandy.
Cranberry Juice: Though cranberry juice is more commonly used alongside vodka, it can also work extremely well with younger brandies, making for a sweet treat.
Soda Water: The best way to mix brandy when you’re counting calories is to combine it with soda water, which coincidentally provides the purest way of preserving the spirits natural flavours.
Looking beyond simple supermarket mixers, head to the Hennessy website here when you’re ready to see how one of the biggest Cognac producers in the world recommends that you serve their products.