What Kind of Mix Should You Buy for a Party

A mixer is a beverage (often carbonated) that is added to a drink.  Juice, syrup mixed with water and fruit waters can also be used as mixes.

Club soda is great to have around for drinkers who want to order a hard drink “tall.”  A typical example is the proverbial Scotch and Soda.  It is used to add flavorless bubbles to any cocktail.

A bottle of cola allows you to make simple cocktails such as rye and coke, bourbon and coke and rum and coke.  Coke is also sometimes used to top off specialty cocktails such as a Long Island Ice Tea.

Gingerale is mainly mixed with rye or whiskey to give those spirits a bit of a sweet nip

Sprite and 7UP are good examples of a lemon-lime mixer. With a bottle of this on hand you can make vodka and 7s, gin and 7s, rye and 7s, rum and 7s and other simple cocktails.

Tonic water has quinine in it, which gives it a slightly bitter taste. It goes well with gin, rum, tequila and vodka.

Lemon Juice is probably the most common juice used in cocktails but there are several other juices you might want to have on hand.  Remember that the more mixes and juices that you behind the bar, the more cocktails you will be able to create.

Vodka and Cranberry juice is such a popular cocktail that you will want to keep this on hand because you are bound to get an order for it.  Cranberry is also the base juice used to create the very popular Cosmopolitan.

Grapefruit juice is good to have on hand to make tropical drinks as well as the classic vodka and grapefruit cocktail called The Greyhound.

Lemon Juice is part of many classic cocktails. You should always make every possible attempt to use freshly squeezed lemon juice; it does make a difference.

Like Lemon juice, Lime juice should always be freshly squeezed. Lime juice is usually used in tropical style drinks such as Daquiris and Margaritas.

Orange juice, one of the all purpose mixes,  is used to make many classic cocktails including Mimosas, Screwdrivers and Harvey Wallbangers.

A syrup is a concentrated flavoring, often very high in sugar that can be added to a drink.  Mainly syrups are used to take the edge of the taste of alcohol by adding a tart or very sweet flavor. Think of a syrup as a non-alcoholic cordial.

Grenadine is a sweet red syrup, originally made from pomegranates, but most brands are now artificially flavored. There is also a “cordial” available that goes by this name as well.

Actually a cross between lime juice and a lime syrup, time cordial can be used to replace limes in a drink recipe.  Rose’s Lime Juice is a dependable brand that you can buy in the supermarket.

Having even half of these mixes on hand for a party should satisfy most guests.

Basic Glassware for Every Girl’s Party Needs

Stocking your bar with glassware can be as daunting and expensive as stocking it with liquor.  Some people would say that all you really need to stock a bar is deep wine glasses because you can serve everything from cocktails to beer in them.  Others would say at the bare minimum you should have short old-fashioned glasses and tall high ball glasses.


Whatever you decide to add to your collection of glassware, remember that the most important thing is to keep it shiny and clean.

Here is a run-down of the most common cocktail glasses on the market.

Beer Mug: This is made of large thick glass, looks like a coffee cup and holds about 12 oz. of liquid.

Brandy or Cognac Glass: These come in all sorts of different sizes but can mainly be identified by a short stem and a deep balloon shaped receptacle.

Champagne Flute: These are narrow stemware with a balloon that narrows towards the top to direct the bubbles to the nose.

Cocktail Glass: This is the classic long stemmed  v-shaped glass that is universally associated with the Martini, the Manhattan and the Stinger.


Coffee Glass: This looks like a tubular coffee cup sitting on a stem and is intended for hot drinks and toddies.

Collins Glass-This is a long tubular glass that is also sometimes called a “cooler” glass.  It is used for tall long drinks like the Tom Collins and the Singapore Sling.

Cordial Glass –  Sometimes called a pony glass these small stemmed one-ounce shot glasses have a narrow snout and a ballooned bottom.

Highball Glass – This is a tall glass with a wider rim than the Collins glass that is intended for drinks on the rocks such as gin and tonics and scotches and sodas. They hold about 8 to 10 oz.


Martini Glass – The mouth of a true Martini glasses is broader and flatter then just a long stemmed cocktail glass. It is also slightly shallower and does not taper into as sharp of a V as a cocktail glass.

Wine Glass – The wineglass is stemmed glassware that is usually bubble shaped. It is available in all kinds of shapes, colors, styles and sizes.

Rock Glasses: These glasses are also called Old Fashioned or Low Ball Glasses. This is a short squat glass with no stem that holds six to ten ounces.

Sherry Glass –  This is glassware with a short stem and a tall balloon like receptacle. It is sometimes used for aperitifs and liqueurs.

Shot – This is a short round glass with no stem that holds one ounce and is used for tequila shots and layered drinks.

Whiskey Sour Glass: This looks like a shorter, slight narrower version of a wine goblet.

A Crash Course in Cordials and Liqueurs

Sweet and colorful liqueurs are a familiar component in both cocktails and shooters. They are used to soften the sharp taste of alcohol and color the cocktail. The oddly shaped decanters and jeweled colors of liqueurs also greatly enhance the look of your home cocktail bar.


Cordials are a hybrid where brandy, whiskey, or to a neutral spirit like vodka


Although there are thousands of liqueurs and cordials available on the market here are some of the basics you might want to have on hand for a cocktail party.


Bailey’s Irish Creme

This is a very popular and smooth Irish Whiskey that is flavored with cacao and cream.



This sweet dark brown liqueur is named after the Benedictine monks who first produced it at the Abbey of Fecamp in the 16th century. It is made of herbs and peels.



Campari is a very bitter aperitif that is flavored with various herbs, but the actual ingredients are a closely guarded secret. Gaspare Campari invented it in 1860.



Chartreuse is very strong flavored liquor that comprised of 130 herbs and spices. It is either a sunny yellow or light green in color. It was invented by monks in 1605, boasted a 90% alcohol content and was originally called the “Elixir of Long Life.”



This is a fragrant high quality brandy based liqueur that is a flavored with sweet and bitter orange peels. It is a premium brand of Triple Sec. Both are used to flavor Margaritas.


Creme De Cacao

This is a chocolate flavored alcohol distilled from cacao beans that is sold as a clear or brown colored liqueur.


Creme De Menthe

This is a mint-flavored alcohol that is sold either as a clear or a bright green liquid. It is used to make Stingers and other classic cocktails.



Curaçao traditionally is made from the peels of the bitter oranges from the island Curaçao. It is a type of Triple Sec. Curaçao can be colored orange, blue or left clear (white). All of these taste the same, but provide a different visual effect.



Galliano is a sweet golden liqueur infused with many herbs, including anise that gives it a bit of a strong licorice flavor.


Grand Marnier

Grand Marnier is a very sweet golden cognac that is blended with distilled orange peels and sugar syrup.



This is a high quality chocolate flavored alcohol distilled from coffee beans.



This sweet liqueur is worth mentioning because it is the favorite shooter of Goth, Rave and other alternative crowds. It has a sweet, medicinal taste that is probably due to the fact that is made from a fermentation of over 120 botanicals and herbs .



The unique licorice flavor of Pernod comes from a secret blend of essential fennel oil, and extracts of aromatic plants obtained through distillation. It is a thick yellow colored liqueur that is common substitute for Absinthe in cocktails.


Triple Sec

Triple Sec is an orange flavored liquor. The term Triple Sec means triple dry.