The Best Custom Bar Ingredients
These days, any cocktail bar worth its salt is producing house-made… well… something. From syrups and sodas to bitters and tinctures, custom drink ingredients are a must. And they’re used to make all kinds of delicious elixirs.
But what if you want to recreate one of these recipes yourself at home? Thankfully, a number of bartenders and watering holes around the country are selling their concoctions. Here are a few excellent products we suggest you try out.
In 2009, a pair of veteran barmen in Sacramento, Calif., Jason Poole and Brad Peters, started making jams inspired by staples, including a mojito jelly and a Screwdriver marmalade, under the Bar in a Jar moniker. The preserves work well in cocktails, and were such a success that the partners founded Preservation and Co. to market savory drink items like pickled vegetables and a Bloody Mary mix.
Back in the late 1800s, Orinoco Bitters was a popular brand in New York. And the managers of acclaimed Manhattan hot spot The Dead Rabbit paid homage to this long-lost product with the help of antique bitters expert Dr. Adam Elmegirab. Now, you can once again buy the cardamom-, chamomile-, raisin-, and sandalwood-flavored tincture.
Employees Only Grenadine and Bloody Mary Mix:
Employees Only is one of the finest watering holes in New York. And a number of years ago, co-owner and Liquor.com advisory board member Dushan Zaric helped to create a line of gourmet mixers bottled with the bar’s name. Currently, they’re available throughout the Five Boroughs and New Jersey (the grenadine is also sold online), and a Sangrita, grapefruit cordial, and several flavored agave syrups will be introduced later this year.
The cocktails at Atlanta’s Holeman & Finch are among the best in the entire South, and the bar’s sister liquor store just a couple blocks away sells lots of hard-to-find spirits, curated by head barman and co-owner Greg Best. It offers the joint’s house-made Bloody Mary mix, pickled okra, and maraschino cherries as well.
Chicago mixologist Revae Schneider was a personal stylist before working behind the stick at Gilt Bar and launching consultancy Femme du Coupe. So her drink syrups, which debuted last year, naturally have plenty of style: The winter spice syrup, for example, is "just like pulling on that classic Ralph Lauren sweater," according to Le Sirop’s website. A new batch of spring flavors — lavender honey, blueberry green tea, and ginger peach — will be released next month.
Portland, Ore., restaurant Pok Pok specializes in rigorously authentic Thai food, and ever since it opened in 2005, it’s been serving vinegars infused with various fruits and other ingredients. Combined with club soda, they’re refreshing non-alcoholic sippers, and they’re also featured in an array of cocktails at the establishment. These mixers, which come in a range of varieties, can now be shipped anywhere in the U.S.
This story was originally published at From Bartender to Manufacturer. For more stories like this, subscribe to Liquor.com for the best in all things cocktails and spirits.