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Bartender Essentials

by Rich Trippler, mixologist, bartender at Bleu Restaurant and Wine Bar

For the best mixed drinks use fresh ingredients and, to the extent possible, make everything in house.

It’s easier than you think to make your own mixes and the improvement in taste as well as the satisfaction of not putting chemicals and high fructose corn syrup in your handcrafted drinks are both great benefits. What bartenders know that most people don’t is that it’s the mixers that make the drinks.

Cheap vodka in fresh squeezed orange juice is infinitely better than top shelf vodka in cheap juice.

It’s just that simple: use good mixers.

Kept cold these mixes will last almost forever in the fridge, too. Here’s how to do it:

Simple Syrup
2 parts sugar to 1 part water. Bring to a simmer on the stove and immediately remove from heat. Once chilled it will keep indefinitely in the fridge.

Sour Mix (the heart of Margaritas and Sidecars)
Mix equal parts simple syrup, pure lemon juice (Real Lemon from the store works perfectly), pure lime juice (Real Lime). Simply stir the ingredients together and keep chilled.

Grenadine (pomegranate syrup)
Bring 24 oz. Pom Wonderful brand pomegranate juice and 32 oz. sugar to a boil. Immediately remove from heat and chill.

Sweetened Lime Juice
1 part water, 1 part lime juice (Real Lime), 2 parts sugar. Bring to boil, immediately remove from heat and chill.