Austin company wins title of Best Craft Mixer

10Best readers choose Liber & Co. as best in the U.S.

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.

  • Liber & Co.
    Austin

    Liber & Co. in Austin crafts a lineup of bar syrups designed for the cocktail lover and made from the best raw ingredients available. Texas red grapefruits from a local orchard go into the Rio Red Grapefruit Cordial. Other flavor options include blood orange, grenadine, tropical passion fruit, fiery ginger and almond.
    Photo courtesy of Liber & Co.

  • 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

  • Cocktail Crate
    Queens, N.Y.

    The idea for Cocktail Crate was born out of a love of whiskey. The line of whiskey-centric classic cocktail mixers, made with all non-GMO ingredients, includes whiskey sour, old fashioned and ginger mule, while other non-whiskey-related flavors range from grapefruit daiquiri to sriracha margarita.
    Photo courtesy of Cocktail Crate / Facebook

  • Jack Rudy Cocktail Co.
    Charleston, S.C.

    Named after the founders’ great grandfather, this Charleston-based company produces small-batch bar basics–classic tonic, grenadine, sweet tea syrup and elderflower tonic. Cocktail enthusiasts will also find bourbon cocktail cherries, vermouth-brined olives and aromatic bitters.
    Photo courtesy of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co.

  • Hella Cocktail Co.
    Long Island City, N.Y.

    The folks behind Hella Cocktail Co. in New York believe in bold flavors and real ingredients. Their lineup of premium mixers, bitters and syrups features items like Mexican Chocolate Bitters, Old Fashioned Cocktail Syrup or Rosemary Lemon Cocktail Mixer made with real lime juice and pure cane sugar.
    Photo courtesy of Hella Cocktail Co.

  • The Bitter End
    Santa Fe, N.M.

    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

  • DRY Soda Co.
    Seattle

    DRY Soda Company, launched in 2005, produces two lines of soda–a lightly sweet DRY Sparkling Soda and an equally tasty DRY Zero Sugar Soda. Bold sparkling soda flavors like lavender, Fuji apple, blood orange, watermelon and cucumber inspire cocktail creativity, while the sugar-free line features a classic cola perfect for mixing.
    Photo courtesy of DRY Soda Co.

  • 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

  • Bradley's Tonic Co.
    Seattle

    Bradley’s Tonic Co. does one thing, and they do it well: tonic. Seattle's first tonic producer uses imported Peruvian Cinchona bark and a blend of whole spices and citrus oils to brew their Kina Tonic by hand in small batches. Blend it with seltzer and your favorite gin for a stellar G&T.
    Photo courtesy of Bradley's Tonic Co.

  • Dashfire Bitters
    Minnetonka, Minn.

    Dashfire Bitters claims to hand-craft the largest selection of bitters in the world, and that’s easy to believe. Single flavor options include orange, lavender, hibiscus and Sichuan peppercorn, while specialty blends feature flavors of spiced apple or Creole. The flagship Dashfire Vintage Orange No. 1 spends time in a barrel to develop flavors of oak.
    Photo courtesy of Dashfire Bitters

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

  1. Liber & Co. - Austin
  2. Monarch Bitters - Petaluma, Calif.
  3. Cocktail Crate - Queens, N.Y.
  4. Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. - Charleston, S.C.
  5. Hella Cocktail Co. - Long Island City, N.Y.
  6. The Bitter End - Santa Fe, N.M.
  7. DRY Soda Co. - Seattle
  8. Bittermilk - Charleston, S.C.
  9. Bradley’s Tonic Co. - Seattle
  10. Dashfire Bitters - Minnetonka, Minn.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Emily Arden Wells (Gastronomista); Brian Christensen (Artisan Spirit Magazine); Ziggy Eschliman, one of America's most authoritative and entertaining libation experts; Kevin Gray (Bevvy); and Eric Grossman (Craft Spirits) were chosen for their knowledge of the American craft spirits scene.

Congratulations to all these winning mixer companies.

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Emily Arden Wells

Emily Arden Wells

Brian Christensen

Brian Christensen

Ziggy Eschliman

Ziggy Eschliman

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Kevin Gray

Kevin Gray