Drink mixers are the non-alcoholic ingredients in mixed drinks and cocktails. Mixers dilute the drink, lowering the alcohol by volume in the drink. They change, enhance, or add new flavors to a drink. They may make the drink sweeter, more sour, or more savory. Some mixers change the texture or consistency of the drink, making it thicker or more watery. Drink mixers may also be used strictly for decorative purposes by changing the color or appearance of the drink. They also simply increase the volume of a drink, to make it last longer.

Caffeinated beverages

Main article: Caffeinated alcoholic drink

Caffeine, a stimulant, masks some of the depressant effects of alcohol.[1]

Carbonated mixers and sodas

A glass of sparkling water
A glass of sparkling water

Carbonation adds a festive flair to drinks. It also increases the absorption of the alcohol into the blood stream due to increased pressure in the stomach, potentially resulting in faster intoxication.[2]

Dairy products

Milk products add a smoothing effect to the feel of the drink to counteract the burn of the alcohol. They also turn the drinks opaque, usually enhancing and lightening the color of the drink.


Orange juice.
Orange juice.

Juices are flavorful additions. Some add sweetness, others add a sour tang, and add a sweet-tart sensation. Fruit juices are common additions to rum-based cocktails.

Prepared mixes

Bloody Mary mix (far right)
Bloody Mary mix (far right)

Some suppliers now manufacture pre-made mixes, which contain all the ingredients for a particular drink pre-mixed. The only thing that needs to be added is alcohol.

Some ingredients may be homogenized to form an emulsion with the aid of an emulsifier containing refined vegetable oil. The process prevents the separation of alcohol and cream during storage for example.


The addition of a sauce usually imparts a surprising new taste to a familiar drink. Hot sauces are commonly used in drinking games.


Grenadine syrup
Grenadine syrup

The key ingredient in a syrup is sugar, which sweetens any drink into which it is mixed. Other flavors are often added to a sugar syrup.

Other mixers

Many other food and beverage items can be used in mixed drinks. These are some other common ones.

See also



  1. ^ "Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 20 Jul 2010. Retrieved 8 Mar 2012.
  2. ^ Roberts, C (16 May 2007). "Alcohol concentration and carbonation of drinks: the effect on blood alcohol levels". Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine. University of Manchester. 14 (7): 398–405. doi:10.1016/j.jflm.2006.12.010. PMID 17720590. Retrieved 5 December 2019.