If you’ve ever had a good drink ruined by bad bottled sour mix, then you understand the value of learning how to make your own sweet and sour mix for cocktails. This ubiquitous ingredient plays a feature role in everything from the Whiskey Sour and Pisco Sour to the Appletini and the Lemon Drop. Just a simple combination of lemon or lime juice and sugar syrup, sweet and sour mix is a fundamental ingredient that can make or break your drink. Luckily, it only takes a few minutes to prepare your own sweet and sour mix for cocktails. Just follow the recipe below, and never have a drink ruined by sickly sweet, premade mix again.
To make your own sweet and sour mix for cocktails, you’ll need:
- A sauce pan
- A spoon
- Fresh lemon or lime juice
- A glass bottle or container
- Before you make sweet and sour mix for cocktails, decide which citrus juice to use. You can choose lime juice or lemon juice, or use a combination of both to prepare an all purpose mixer. You may even want to make several batches, since lemon juice sour mix is necessary for the perfect Tom Collins, while only homemade lime sour mix will do for a margarita.
- To make your sweet and sour mix for cocktails, prepare the simple syrup. In a saucepan, combine 3 cups sugar and 2 cups water. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, and allow it to boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Let the mixture cool. Feel free to adjust the ratio of sugar and water to achieve the sweetness you prefer. Many bartenders prefer an even balance of 1 cup sugar to 1 cup water. If you find yourself without a stove, you can make homemade sweet and sour mix by combining sugar and lukewarm water in a sealable container and shaking it vigorously until the sugar dissolves. It won’t have the same thickness as the stovetop syrup, but it will work in a pinch.
- When your simple syrup has cooled, prepare your sweet and sour mix for cocktails. Add one cup of syrup to one cup of fresh citrus juice of your choice. Again, you can use lemon juice, lime juice, or a combination of the two. While bottled juice will work, it won’t have the same zing or flavor that fresh juice will provide. Stir the mixture and taste it, adding a little more syrup or juice if necessary until you strike the perfect balance of sweet and sour.
- If you prefer your drinks with a foamy texture, add 2 egg whites per liter of prepared mix. Egg whites are optional, but many bartenders prefer the consistency they add to sweet and sour mixes. However, keep in mind that if you add egg whites, your homemade sweet and sour mix can only be stored for one day.
- Pour your sweet and sour mix into a glass bottle and store it in the refrigerator. It should keep for several months – although chances are that you’ll run out before it goes bad!