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4 Ingredients for Exceptional Mixed Drinks

These simple ingredients will take your cocktails and mocktails game to the next level.

The art of crafting perfect mixed drinks is all about balancing flavors. Whether this is your first time making a cocktail or mocktail at home or you’re an experienced pro looking for some new moves, these four essential ingredients can make an ordinary drink taste extraordinary. 


Jalapeños elevate mixed drinks by providing a surprisingly spicy kick that complements both sweet and savory ingredients. Highly versatile, jalapeños can be crushed, infused, or used as garnish, and their bright green color looks amazing, too. Temper the heat a little by removing the seeds and then rinsing the jalapeños in cool water and drying thoroughly.  

Spicy Peach Margaritas 

This recipe calls for infusing sliced jalapeños with tequila overnight for an easy first venture into spicy (but not too spicy!) cocktails. Reduce the kick even more by using only half a jalapeño.  

Get the recipe: Spicy Peach Margaritas 


Bitters are a mixologist’s secret weapon, subtly enhancing mixed drinks with their concentrated blend of flavors (just a drop or two will do the trick). Yes, add a bitter note, so use just a dash. They are an essential ingredient in many classic cocktails and are a must for anyone who wants to up their cocktail or mocktail game. You’ll find bitters in the mixers section of the store. 

Jamaican Rum Punch 

Originally developed as a tonic by a Venezuelan doctor in the early 1800s, Angostura bitters is the key to the complexity behind what makes this tropical sipper special. Three to four dashes might not seem like a lot (each dash is about a fifth of a teaspoon), but the potent combination of herbs and spices in those sparing drops is enough to flavor an entire pitcher. 

Get the recipe: Jamaican Rum Punch 

Muddled Fruit, Veggies, and Herbs

Muddling fruit or herbs in mixed drinks infuses fresh, natural flavors and aromas. Muddling (or crushing) releases not only juices and, in the case of fruit or veggies, color and pulp. While many recipes call for a special tool called a muddler, you can also use a spoon to release all those wonderful flavors and aromas. 

Blueberry-Basil Green Tea Spritzer 

This mocktail is a perfect maiden voyage into the world of muddled drinks. With no alcohol in the mix, you have a blank canvas to highlight the flavors the fruit and herbs bring to the table. Just make sure not to crush all the berries and save a few for a garnish. 

Get The Recipe: Blueberry-Basil Green Tea Spritzer 

Citrus Peels and Slices

Citrus peels and slices are a way to squeeze a bit of sunshine into your cocktails. From oranges to lemons, limes, or grapefruits, citrus adds a bright tang to drinks. Don’t forget the visual appeal, too. A slice or wedge of citrus used as a garnish adds a pop of color and style. 

Coconut-Orange Mock Margarita 

This big batch mocktail gets lots of flavor from freshly squeezed orange juice and lime juice. Coconut milk adds luscious creaminess to this drink that’s great for parties. 

Get the recipe: Coconut-Orange Mock Margarita 

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