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Homemade Cocktail Mixer Recipes

Simple Syrup, Skim Milk

Spring is the perfect time to enjoy cocktails with your friends or your significant other. The sun is out, the weather is warming up, and it’s lighter longer. All of this helps us throw off the lethargy of winter and want to mingle more. While store-bought mixers can be very convenient they are usually made out of high fructose corn syrup, food colorings, and in some cases are also high in sodium. It’s not difficult to make your own and your friends and family will love the fresh vibrant flavors.

The first thing to make is a simple syrup. The ratio is 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. Bring water to a boil and add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool before bottling and storing in the refrigerator. The amount you make is dependent upon how many people will be drinking your cocktails. If you’re having a party or a get-together make a large amount, and if it’s just you and your spouse make a smaller amount.

There are many variations on the simple syrup. You can infuse it with mint, lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit zest, vanilla bean, cinnamon sticks, or ginger. Just boil the flavoring with the water and sugar and strain after it’s cooled. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

A refreshing cocktail mixer is homemade lemonade. Combine 2 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 cups of cold water, and simple syrup to taste. Add some vodka, gin, or whisky, ice cubes and a sprig of mint for a tart thirst quencher. You can also make a similar drink using limes instead of lemons for something different. Use the limeade to make homemade margaritas by adding tequila, triple sec or Grand Marnier, lots of ice and a slice of lime.

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You could also use the lemonade as a base for a white wine sangria. Fill a pitcher or punch bowl with lemonade, a bottle of your favorite Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay, sliced fruit- such as lemons, limes, oranges and grapes. Or you could make a tropical sangria with sliced mango, pineapples, citrus, and a splash of coconut milk. Let sit for an hour in the fridge before serving.

Homemade ice tea is a great mixer. You can brew regular ice tea or an herbal variety, such as Red Zinger, Mint, or any of your favorite teas. Pour some over ice and add your favorite liquor. Regular tea with vodka and lemon is very refreshing. Another great combination is Red Zinger, Gin, and some lemon simple syrup.

Skim milk is a good base for a healthier version of your favorite creamy cocktails. In a blender combine skim milk, ice, Kahlua, vodka, and a teaspoon of instant espresso powder or a splash of brewed coffee or espresso. Blend until frothy. Or blend skim milk, pineapple juice and/or pineapple chunks, light coconut milk, ice and rum for a healthier daiquiri.

Experiment with some new cocktails that will cool you off but won’t weigh you down this spring and summer. Cheers!