Locally Made Mixers for Nola-fied Cocktails
Local craft distilleries and liquor purveyors have certainly found their place in the proud cups of New Orleanians, but when it comes to mixers why should we have to leave the state? Fortunately, there are plenty of close by concoctions that please everyone from barflies to kindergarteners. Here’s a list of mixers made right in our own backyard:
Lafayette was recently named the happiest city in America, and it’s no wonder how they got that title if they’re sucking down this sweet stuff all the time. Swamp Pop comes in five flavors with more on the way. I recently had the pleasure of tasting this nectar of the Cajun gods from the makers themselves, and, while the flavors are all great, the Jean Lafitte Ginger Ale is absolutely my favorite. It would be perfect mixed with a little (or a lot of) Old New Orleans Dark Amber Rum for a local style Dark & Stormy.
Other Swamp Pop flavors include local throwback Ponchatoula Pop Rouge, refreshing Satsuma Fizz, Praline Cream Soda, and a Noble Cane Cola that’s made with sugar cane juice from right up the road!
Swamp Pop is sold locally at Rouses, but Nola expats can grab a six-pack at Cost Plus World Market. It’s totally up to you whether you toast to yourself or share with your cher…we won’t judge. This stuff’s kid tested, grown-up approved!
Garden District Bloody Mary Mix
Some days you feel like eating a salad for lunch, and some days you feel like drinking one!
Inspired by her Great Aunt Gladys from the Garden District, the creator of this delectable mixer had decades of input from uptown ladies who lunch. The Garden District Mix is smooth, but not thick, and sassy with a slow burn, just like Nola’s social elite. A sip of this stuff leaves you with a tangy finish to balance out the entire experience. Mix it up with some Oryza Rice Vodka for an Uptown brunch experience, and you should probably throw a few pickled okra in there for good measure.
Bonus points: the bottle doubles as a re-sealable carafe, so you can pour in some vodka, a few fixings, and mix your bloody mary
in a snap!
enough to have the opportunity to taste their amazing sweet and savory jams made from from fresh local fruits and vegetables. I was also absolutely thrilled to see a few fancy syrups on the table. Like a true New Orleanian, at 10am on a Saturday morning the only thought that raced through my mind was “COCKTAILS!” Locally preserved makes a plethora of (not-so) simple syrups and fruit syrups to suit any palate, such as Blueberry Basil and SPICEy Peach, but my absolute favorite was the Watermelon Creole Tomato. It was sweet and refreshing and would be almost as good in a mocktail. I recommend stirring it over ice with a generous pour of Atelier Vie’s Euphrosine Gin #9 and a splash of your favorite fizzy water. Garnish with a mint leaf from the garden and a big rocking chair, and you’re set for an afternoon of sweet sipping bliss.
Consider this mixer the healthiest on our list and drink up! Bissap Breeze is a local tea company founded by a couple who discovered the benefits of hibiscus while travelling the world. They’ve brought it back to Nola, all bottled up for your mixing pleasure and in a variety of flavors. Since I’m mint obsessed, I’d probably grab a bottle of Hibiscus Mint and mix it with some Bayou Silver Rum and a good squeeze of lemon. Bissap also offers a Hibiscus Concentrate for your more involved concoctions.
Bonus points: Hibiscus is known as a powerful antioxidant that lowers cholesterol and blood pressure while cooling the body on a hot summer evening. Now that’s something I can sink my straw into!
Here in Nola our cups are always full, so why not sip your local pride by mixing it up with something that supports purveyors from our neck of the woods? Check out these great mixers, and if you’re still lost you can always throw a little Big Shot into your glass. Cheers y’all!