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Strongwater named Best Craft Mixer

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Winning company crafts Cocktail bitters, herbal shrubs and health tonics

A killer cocktail calls for killer ingredients, and that applies to more than just the booze. The craft distilling movement has buoyed a similar wave of companies hand-crafting their own lines of cocktail bitters, tonics, mixers, syrups and sipping vinegars, all with an eye toward elevating the cocktail experience.

  • Strongwater
    Denver

    Inspired by the apothecaries of the 16th century, Strongwater adds a dash of botanical integrity to cocktails through their line of herb and hemp bitters, shrubs and cocktail syrups. 
    Photo courtesy of Strongwater

  • Element Shrub
    Arlington, Va.

    At Element Shrub, organic apple cider vinegar with the “mother” serves as a base for every shrub and sipping vinegar. Only organic cane sugar, whole fresh fruits, herbs and spices are added–nothing else. Options include cranberry hibiscus, blood orange saffron, chai pear, and honeydew jalapeño.
    Photo courtesy of Element Shrub

  • Bitter Girl Bitters
    Petaluma, Calif.

    The small batch bitters from Bitter Girl Bitters in Sonoma County are hand-crafted from both homegrown pears, hops, lavender, mint, prickly pears and pomegranates grown in their Petaluma garden, as well as locally sourced ingredients.
    Photo courtesy of Bitter Girl Bitters

  • Monarch Bitters
    Petaluma, Calif.

    Monarch Bitters takes inspiration from “the forgotten cocktails of decades past” when handcrafting their organic bitters from ingredients sourced in the Sonoma County countryside. Options include Citrus Basil, Wormwood, Cherry Vanilla, Bacon Tobacco, Cayenne Ginger, Celery Horseradish and Rose Petal, along with the classic orange and aromatic.
    Photo courtesy of Monarch Bitters

  • 18.21 Bitters
    Atlanta

    The goal of 18.21 Bitters is to craft better cocktails through its lineup of cocktail bitters, shrubs, syrups, tinctures, tonic water and ginger beer. Interesting additions to any bar include lavender and French sea salt simple syrup, tart cherry and saffron bitters or watermelon mint shrub.
    Photo courtesy of 18.21 Bitters

  • Shrub & Co
    Sacramento

    The Shrub & Co goal is to bring flavor and balance using minimal ingredients. Only non-GMO fruit, cane sugar, vinegar and aromatics go into these fruit-driven shrubs, with flavors like strawberry, ancho hibiscus, peach, coffee cherry cascara and Yucatan honey.
    Photo courtesy of Shrub & Co

  • Scrappy's Bitters
    Seattle

    Scrappy's Bitters never uses oils or extracts to craft their cocktail bitters. Ingredients, from hand-zested citrus to fine herbs, are all organic and processed and bottled onsite. There are 10 bitters to choose from, as well as a Firewater Habanero Tincture for adding heat to any drink.
    Photo courtesy of Scrappy's Bitters

  • Bittermilk
    Charleston, S.C.

    Bittermilk, a handcrafted all-natural mixers brand from Charleston, is run by a husband and wife team of cocktail enthusiasts. Options include classic cocktail mixers with a twist, like a bourbon barrel aged old fashioned, smoked honey whiskey sour or charred grapefruit tonic with Bulls Bay sea salt.
    Photo courtesy of Bittermilk

  • PROOF Old Fashioned Cocktail Syrup
    Decatur, Ga.

    PROOF Old Fashioned Cocktail Syrup were designed by Atlanta bartenders with one goal in mind, for guests to be able to mix the perfect Old Fashioned at home. These syrups, made from organic cane sugar, can be mixed with your favorite bourbon, rye or whiskey and come in traditional, maple bacon and pecan flavors.
    Photo courtesy of PROOF Old Fashioned Cocktail Syrup

  • The Bitter End
    Santa Fe

    The intense flavors of The Bitter End bitters give any cocktail a kick, whether you’re adding Chesapeake Bay (bay leaf, black pepper and cayenne), Memphis Barbeque (allspice, black pepper, cumin, coffee and chipotle) or Mexican Mole (cocoa, cinnamon, sesame and chile).
    Photo courtesy of The Bitter End

The top 10 winners in the category Best Craft Mixer are as follows:

  1. Strongwater - Denver
  2. Element Shrub - Arlington, Va.
  3. Bitter Girl Bitters - Petaluma, Calif.
  4. Monarch Bitters - Petaluma, Calif.
  5. 18.21 Bitters - Atlanta
  6. Shrub & Co - Sacramento
  7. Scrappy's Bitters - Seattle
  8. Bittermilk - Charleston, S.C.
  9. PROOF Old Fashioned Cocktail Syrup - Decatur, Ga.
  10. The Bitter End - Santa Fe

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning craft mixers!

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Brian Christensen

Brian Christensen

Brian Christensen

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Ziggy Eschliman

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Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

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