When 13-ingredient drinks featuring house-made habanero bitters are the new normal and bartenders regularly light orange peels on fire, hosting your own cocktail party can be intimidating. Do you need a muddler? Where can you find those perfectly ironic drink umbrellas?
Fortunately, we’ve found four Southern companies whose small-batch drink mixers take the guesswork out of serving up a seriously impressive cocktail.
With flavors as classic as grapefruit and as exotic as Siberian fir, you can mix and match to suit your guests, whether they’re more of the gin-and-tonic crowd or are versed in the art of infusions.
And if you’re thinking of that plastic bottle filled with neon margarita syrup, think again. These apothecary-style bottles are a serious bar-cart upgrade, and the serving instructions on their artfully designed labels make channeling your inner mixologist easy.
Here are our favorites to get the party started.
Liber & Co‘s Texas Grapefruit Shrub: Austin, TX
With its ‘Rio Star’ grapefruit acidic edge, this is a sweet-tart shrub for bourbon or gin. $13 for 8.5 oz.
Bittermilk‘s Smoked Honey Whiskey Sour: Charleston, SC
Bourbon barrel-smoked honey adds campfire complexity to the classic whiskey sour. $14.95 for 17 oz.
White Whale Bold Mixer’s The Filthy Liar: Durham, NC
Each bottle has fruit and herbal flavors along with three steps for mixing and garnishing. $11.95 for 8 oz.
Shrub & Co‘s Spicy Ginger Shrub: Atlanta, GA
The sweet heat of this ginger-infused shrub mixed with vodka, lime juice, and club soda is just right for a Moscow mule. $21.99 for 16 oz.