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Homemade is Best: Fresh Ingredients Lend Superior Taste to Vintage Cocktails

Homemade is Best: Fresh Ingredients Lend Superior Taste to Vintage Cocktails


Back in the days before sweet and sour mix and store bought Grenadine, bartenders prided themselves on using only fresh ingredients in their cocktails. Somewhere along the way we all took a major detour thinking quicker is better. However, we ALL know better than that.

It's understandable, us American's are always looking to streamline, make things quicker and therefore easier. Yet, easier does NOT always equate to something better. Perhaps the time, or more importantly the pride, that goes into handmade-homemade is worth it's weight in gold. Ask yourself which is better: Grandma's homemade biscuits or store bought, canister biscuits?

Historically, there was an art to mixing drinks and we can be no less than ecstatic that the Craft Cocktail movement has taken America by storm. Bartenders are once again taking pride in the drinks that pass over the bar. Lounges and clubs across the United States are advertising local, fresh drink ingredients and we, the consumers, are once again getting our money's worth.

We have compiled a list of recipes for some of the most used mixes in cocktails. Don't be intimidated! As with all things: practice makes perfection. You can tweak any of the following to suit your needs/tastes.

The sources for all recipes are listed at the bottom of this page. **Note** Advice and ideas were pulled from the brain of my cousin Donnie Pratt. He began bartending when the Craft Cocktail Movement was in its infancy and is a true professional who takes pride in the drinks he mixes. If ever in the Asheville, NC area stop by Cucina and tell him Jig sent you. 😉

Simple Syrup

1:1 water:sugar

Sweet and Sour Mix

Recipe from The Spruce

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. water 
  • 1 c. fresh lime juice
  • 1 c. fresh lemon juice
  1. Combine sugar + water in pot, heat to boiling, then simmer stir until sugar dissolves
  2. Add lemon + lime juice
  3. Refrigerate


  • 2 c. fresh pomegranate juice or POM
  • 2 c. UNBLEACHED granulated sugar
  • 2 oz. Pomegranate Molasses 
  • 1 tsp Orange Blossom Water

Visit Jeffrey Morganthaler's website for detailed instructions prep instructions



Morganthaler, Jeffrey. "How to Make Your Own Grenadine". 10 DEC 2009. Web 21 July           2017

Rowland, Bill. "Grenadine Recipe: Quick + Easy". 14 Aug 2014. Web 15 July 2017

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  • Jennifer Benson
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