When enjoying whiskey at home, the first mixer you reach for is coke. But why, when you have other options in your kitchen?
What is a Drink Mixer?
Drink mixers refer to a variety of different ingredients that can be added to liquors. These mixers are not alcoholic, and some of them have been created for the purpose of mixing with alcohol. They help to dilute the drink and lower the alcohol volume. Drink mixers were first used in the 17th century and prevail today.
Jack and Coke
Though whiskey can be mixed with any ingredient, the most popular option is a Jack and Coke, which refers to the Jack Daniel’s brand of whiskey. For many, a Jack and Coke is one of the go-tos when drinking, and it’s not difficult to see why. Coke has a sweet, caramel flavor, which pairs well with the subtle vanilla notes in whiskey.
5 Best Whiskey Mixers
While Jack and Coke have stood the test of time and remained a popular option, sticking with the basics ignores all of the other mixers and the unique ways they can transform the taste of whiskey. Below are five good mixers for whiskey you are sure to love.
Yet another great whiskey mixer, vermouth is a fortified wine that is flavored with herbs and spices. It typically comes in two different styles: dry vermouth (white) and sweet vermouth (red).
Dry vermouth is very pale in color, either clear or a light yellow. It can have up to 5% of sugar, and it blends well with whiskey. Sweet vermouth is significantly sweeter than dry vermouth and is often referred to as sweet vermouth; it can include up to 15% of sugar.
Whiskey and vermouth are great together and naturally balance each other out. Whiskey can be very strong, and both types of vermouth can help soften it. A popular whiskey and vermouth drink is the Manhattan, which is two parts whiskey and one part vermouth, mixed well with ice.
Club soda is water that has been carbonated with CO2 and infused with minerals. When added to whiskey, club soda can open up the whiskey’s flavors. Club soda can dilute the whiskey just enough that it’s not overwhelming and adds a fun fizziness that pairs well while at the same time allowing the whiskey to retain its flavor. Whiskey and club soda can be enjoyed by mixing 2 ounces of whiskey with 4 ounces of club soda into a tall glass with ice; it’s commonly referred to as a highball.
Surprisingly, coffee and whiskey taste delicious together; their pairing is sometimes called the Irish Coffee. It is a combination of strong whiskey with lighter notes and rich black coffee that has been sweetened. Both hot and iced coffee go well with whiskey, and you can sweeten up the pairing with a little sugar.
Ginger has a flavor profile that can range from sweet to spicy, and it works well to enhance the flavor of the whiskey. It is a versatile ingredient that can be employed in many different alcohols. With whiskey, a tasty beverage can be made by stirring 1 ½ ounces of whiskey with 5 ounces of ginger ale into a highball glass with ice.
The citrus family is an extensive family, and the different fruits within the family work well with whiskey.
- Lemon: Lemon has citric acid, which is a combination of citric acid and malic acid, and it immediately hits your palate and then fades just as fast. The lemon can be a nice source of vitamin C, and its zing can help temper the booziness of whiskey. A delicious whiskey lemonade can be made by mixing 1.5 parts of a whiskey of your choice and 2 parts of homemade lemonade, with a small sprig of rosemary for a garnish.
- Orange: Oranges are either sweet or slightly tart, and they can help to enhance the caramel and vanilla flavors of a whiskey, as well as temper its taste. A delicious whiskey and orange can be made with a muddled orange, 3 ounces of a whiskey of your choosing, and 1 ounce of a liqueur of your choice.
- Lime: Yet another popular whiskey mixer, lime pairs very well with whiskey. Similar to a whiskey sour, lime can help cut the sting of straight whiskey. Lime juice is made up of malic acid, whose effect on the palate is somewhat delayed but sticks around.
- Grapefruit: Juicy with a bitter aftertaste, grapefruit and whiskey pair very well together. The tart of the grapefruit and the smooth, smoky flavor of the whiskey creates a marvelous flavor profile. Mix 4 ounces of grapefruit juice with 2 ounces of whiskey and garnish with a lemon wedge.
So skip the traditional Jack and Coke and try something different the next time you’re enjoying whiskey. There are plenty of mixers to choose from.