The Best Mixers For Cocktails. Voila! you’re Now A Mixologist.

Life’s just a cocktail party – On the street. – Mick Jagger

When creating delicious cocktails, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Fresh citrus, herbs, your favorite spirits and quality mixers are all you need. I like to keep mixers on hand that have fewer ingredients and those that use real fruit. I have tried many and now my selections are not only refreshing, but healthier and offer versatility to create almost any cocktail. And they are also fantastic straight-up. Fever-Tree’s sparkling pink grapefruit and lime & yuzu are my favorites to enjoy right out of the bottle. Belvoir Fruit Farms is another one that is so good over ice or from the bottle. The elderflower and rose lemonade is like summer in a bottle.

Buy a bunch of mixers, ring up your friends and meet on the porch to exchange words of wisdom, vent and solve most of the world’s problems. Or maybe just your own. If anyone comes up with a solution to get your kids to heed your every word, please share. Please.

Here are my favorite mixers I use to make easy cocktails that look serious:

Belvoir Fruit Farms

Elderflower Rose Lemonade – just mix with sparkling wine, champagne, vodka or gin. Add a slice of cucumber if you want. No pressure. I make the effort and it’s really good, just saying….

Cucumber & Mint Lemonade – so very good with gin or vodka. Hendrick’s Gin is my favorite. Add muddled basil and lime juice to 2 oz gin or vodka over ice. Mix in Belvoir Cucumber & Mint. It’s a health drink.

Also makes a delicious martini. Pour 2 oz gin or vodka into a shaker filled with ice, add 1 oz Cucumber & Mint Lemonade and a squeeze of lime. Shake it like you mean it. Strain into a martini glass. Add a cucumber slice. Hendricks or The Botanist makes a great gin martini.


I keep these stocked in my fridge at all times. How cute is my egg basket? My cousin Cara gave this to me.

Lime & Yuzu – Made from limes from Tahiti and Japanese yuzu. I don’t know anything else about either except they are magic. Add 2 oz of tequila and fresh lime juice in a margarita glass. Top with Lime & Yuzu. Tastes like a delicious margarita. Salt the rim if you are into that kind of thing.

Sparkling Pink Grapefruit – add 2 oz tequila and fresh lime juice for the best Paloma. You can make one using fresh grapefruit juice if you want. Also amazing. But Fever-Tree makes it easier with their delicious mixer. Some like a salted rim with this one too. I do not. Suit yourself.

Elderflower Tonic Water – pairs perfectly with Hendricks Gin or The Botanist for the best gin and tonic. Add fresh lime juice.  Excellent with vodka too!

Mediterranean Tonic Water – Herbaceous and Mediterranean-y. I’ve used this in countless ways. Vodka and gin mostly. Add St. Germaine elderflower liqueur with fresh lemon or lime juice – or both. Go crazy!

My favorite over ice in a chilled red wine glass:  1.5 oz of gin or vodka, 1 oz St. Germaine, squeeze of lemon slice or lemon quarter and drop in the glass, top with Mediterranean Tonic Water. Rub fresh rosemary and thyme sprigs between your fingers to release the aroma and add to the glass. Don’t have fresh rosemary or thyme? It’s still good without it. But put it on your grocery list. Or plant some. Enjoy all summer!

Ginger Beer – I only use Fever-Tree for my Kentucky or Austin Mules. Kentucky Mule – I pair with Elijah Craig or Woodford Reserve. Add a bourbon cherry. Austin Mule – I use Tito’s Vodka (made in Austin, TX) and fresh lime juice. Serve over ice in a rocks glass.


My absolute favorite batch cocktail mixers. These are not for drinking straight. They are concentrated fresh and natural ingredients to add to spirits or sparkling water. Before using, shake each one with vigour. Vigour I said.

Ellis Old Fashioned – flavored with bitters, cinnamon, orange oil and vanilla. Makes a classic old fashioned.

I add 2 oz to 2.0 oz of bourbon over ice. I add a bourbon cherry too of course.

SweaterWeather – Apple, honey and spices such as cardamom, rosemary, all spice and others. Enjoy cold or warm in a sauce pan or crock-pot.

Add 2 oz to 1.5 oz bourbon. I don’t add anything else. Not even my beloved bourbon cherry. It’s so good just like this. It’s perfect for fall and winter – but I’m going to try it this spring and summer with vodka. I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel. (look it up)

Bouquet – I’m in love with this. It smells so good. Which is why it’s called Bouquet I think.

Here’s how they describe it: “Dreamy notes of lavender weave through fresh-squeezed lemon and rosewater.” Like a drink at the spa.

I pour 2 oz in a glass filled with ice. I add 1.5 oz of gin or vodka. Then I top with Fever-Tree Sparkling Soda. You can add a twist of lemon if you want. I do not because it is perfect without it. But you do you.

Champagne cocktail – 2 oz of Bouquet and top with champagne or another sparkling wine. Fancy.

Cheers Friends!

Cocktails That Taste Like Summer

When life gives you lemons, mint, basil, and thyme add some vodka and hurry to the porch.

-Shannon Hunter (that’s me)

Summertime brings about the most delicious herbs. Whether you grow them yourself, go to the farmer’s market or the grocery store, now is a great time to enjoy fresh basil, thyme and mint. My neighbor, Elizabeth, brought over an entire bouquet of basil and a craving for a lemon, basil and vodka cocktail. So I made her one. I always have lemons and vodka just in case.

I like to grow basil and mint in containers on the porch near the kitchen door. That way I can run out with my kitchen shears and cut some to add to whatever is on the stove or muddle in a drink. Basil and mint together is so good in sweet iced tea with lime. Love it!

So far this summer I have three delicious cocktails that are my favorites! I will say a gin and tonic is my absolute favorite in the summer, but I decided to make use of overflowing pots of basil and mint. I am not growing thyme so I have to get that from the farmer’s market or the grocery store when they have it.

They are so easy to make but you must have two things on hand…simple syrup and good quality tonic and soda. I highly recommend Fever-Tree. It truly is the best brand of tonic and soda I have ever had. Indian, Mediterranean and Elderflower are my favorite flavors. Here is a picture in case you aren’t familiar:

The best bargain for Fever Tree is to order it by the case on Amazon – otherwise it is between $5 – $6 for four bottles. Here are the links to my favorites:

Indian Tonic Water:

Elderflower Tonic Water:

Meditarranean Tonic Water:

To get started on porch sitting and sipping, you must have chilled simple syrup.

Simple Syrup:

1 cup of sugar – I also squeeze in a little honey. Especially if I add a sprig of thyme to the water.

1 cup of water

Bring water to a boil and stir in the sugar and honey. Turn heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk. Pour into a Pyrex cup or heat resistant container and let it cool. I keep in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

Thyme infused simple syrup – add a sprig or two to the simmering water.

Basil, Lemon, Vodka Cocktail:

Muddle 2-3 leaves of fresh basil in a glass – leave them in the glass

Fill glass with ice

Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the ice

Add a shot of vodka – roughly 1.5 ounces

Add 1 tablespoon of simple syrup or more to taste

Top with Fever-Tree Indian Tonic

Garnish with a lemon slice and basil leaf

Stir and Serve!

Thyme, Lemon, Vodka Cocktail:

Fill a glass with ice

Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the ice

Add one shot of Vodka – roughly 1.5 ounces

Add 1-2 tablespoons of thyme infused simple syrup or more to taste

Add Fever-Tree tonic or soda to top – I prefer tonic but others prefer soda – make two and decide!

Stir and garnish with lemons and a sprig of fresh thyme.

Mint Juleps aren’t just for The Kentucky Derby ya’ll. It’s a great drink that is so refreshing during the summer. And helps with what to do with all that overflowing mint.

Mint Julep:

5 fresh mint leaves, muddled

2 ounces of simple syrup

2 ounces of bourbon – Woodford Reserve is my favorite mixing bourbon

Muddle 5 mint leaves in a glass. Fill the glass to the top with ice. Add simple syrup and bourbon. Garnish with mint sprigs.

What is your favorite summer cocktail? You know I’d love to hear!