Stirrings makes a bazillion mixers, and the company recently sent us a ton of stuff — all in response to missing out on our grenadine roundup — so we figured it was best to put it all here in one mixed roundup. Note that all the products in this roundup are non-alcoholic despite the “bitters” name you’ll see below.
Stirrings Simple Sour Mix – “Made with a premium blend of lemon, orange, key lime juice, and slightly sweetened with pure cane sugar.” The lime dominates the blend for this shortcut bar staple, followed by lemon — but give it time and you can detect a tangerine-like note on the finish. It’s appropriately sour — pungent, really — though there’s a whiff of raw citric acid, which gives it a somewhat industrial vibe. As with any sour mix, its success in cocktails is highly dependent upon what you mix it with. B / $7 per 25.4 oz bottle
Stirrings Simple Mule – Making a Moscow Mule from scratch is embarrassingly easy, but for punchbowl-sized engagements, I suppose a large-size mix isn’t an insane idea. This blend of ginger and lime juices is a fair approximation of a carbonation-free ginger beer, mildly spicy and mildly sweet — though with an extra punch of spice above what you get with a mass-market ginger ale, a solid amount of bite lingering on the finish. You’ll get more of that gingery burn in a craft ginger beer, but this offering works reasonably well. B+ / $7 per 25.4 oz bottle
Stirrings Simple Old Fashioned – A mix of cane sugar, orange, and cherry juice, though there’s a lot of spice in here that makes the concoction come across like it’s been spiked with cinnamon. The cherry element really starts dominate as ice melts and the drink warms up, and depending on how much (and what kind of) whiskey you use, that can take the completed drink in an odd direction. This is one case where the “from scratch” recipe is a clear improvement over the shortcut. C+ / $7 per 25.4 oz bottle
Stirrings Simple Paloma – This blend of grapefruit, key lime juice, and sugar is actually quite solid — if a bit too heavy on the lime, but only a little. It’s not too sweet but full of flavor — and would make for a great base for a nonalcoholic cocktail, even. Pair it with blanco tequila only; reposado or higher washes out all the good stuff. A- / $7 per 25.4 oz bottle
Stirrings Grenadine – Water, cane sugar, pomegranate juice, and pomegranate flavor. 20% juice. It’s surprisingly light in color and a little thin in body — but it certainly tastes a lot like pomegranate, moderately sweet and with a gentle citrus note lingering on the finish. Hints of vanilla throughout are not unwelcome, though that may depend on the specifics of your cocktail. B+ / $5 per 12 oz bottle [BUY IT NOW FROM AMAZON]
Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters – Not bitters but rather a blood orange juice cocktail mix made from water, cane sugar, blood orange juice, and gentian extract (giving it the bitterness). 2% juice. The finished blend is somewhere between a fruit juice and a digestif, a gentle sweetness followed by the racy sourness of the blood orange, which sets the stage for a fairly gentle gentian character that lingers on the back end. It’s designed as a mixer for “the ideal Manhattan,” which seems awfully strange but maybe OK if you reset what a Manhattan is supposed to taste like. B / $6 per 12 oz bottle [BUY IT NOW FROM AMAZON]