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Homemade Sweet and Sour Mix Recipe (+ 7 Amazing Sweet and Sour Cocktails)

February 01, 2024 by Anna-Bet Stemmet

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Sweet and sour mix drinks are an absolute lifesaver when you need to serve cocktails to a crowd. Sure, a bright pop of freshly squeezed lime juice is completely amazing, but when you’ve got a bunch of thirsty folks waiting for a nice cool beverage, it helps to be prepared with an easy solution. Whip up a batch of our easy sweet and sour cocktail mix when you’re expecting a crowd and know the drinks queue is going to get busy 🍋🎉 

How to make your own sweet and sour mix for cocktails

Fresh lemons and limes scattered on a dark background

Drinks with sweet and sour mix tend to get a bad rap, partly because the store-bought version can be a little meh. The good news is that you can 100% create delicious sweet and sour cocktails at home by making a DIY mix that comes to the party with oodles of zest. Here’s our go-to recipe: 

INGREDIENTS 

Yields 15 oz  

  • 6 tablespoons sugar 
  • 3 oz (6 tablespoons) water 
  • 3 oz (6 tablespoons) fresh lime juice 
  • 6 oz (¾ cup) fresh lemon juice 

METHOD 

  1. Add the sugar and water to a saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is clear. Set aside to cool.  
  2. Juice your lemons and limes (fresh is best), stir it into your simple syrup mixture, and store it in a clean jar or bottle. This will keep in the fridge for up to a week. If you notice mold or if the sour mix becomes cloudy, it’s time to throw it out and make a fresh batch.  

TOP TIP! This sweet-and-sour mix recipe for drinks is suitable for vegans and vegetarians. As such, it makes a great edible gift that pairs well with a bottle of premium spirits like Bulldog Gin, SKYY Vodka, Wild Turkey Bourbon, or Appleton Estate Rum 

Now that you have your sweet-and-sour cocktail mix ready to go, here are a few drinks you can make with this handy premix:  

1. Gin Sour

Gin Sour with a white foamy top and lime wheel garnish

If you love sour cocktails and gin, then the Gin Sour will hit the spot. It’s simple, yet elegant – the little black dress of classy clinkers, if you will. Simply swap the lemon juice and simple syrup in the standard recipe for 1 oz of your homemade sweet and sour mix, and you’re good to go. This sweet and sour cocktail recipe pairs very well with finger foods like crostini with herbed goat cheese and figs, or spicy shrimp skewers.  

2. Amaretto Stone Sour

Two Amaretto Stone Sour on a table outside in a Greek courtyard on a sunny day

This easy recipe is a citrusy and refreshing riff on the original Amaretto Sour — perfect for brunches or lingering lunches! It combines 1.5 oz Amaretto, 1.5 oz fresh orange juice, and 1.5 oz sweet and sour cocktail mix. While a traditional Amaretto Sour recipe uses egg white, this recipe doesn’t, making it less tricky to master if you’re just starting out.   

Froth and fizz: Your Guide to Making Egg White Cocktails the Easy Way 

3. Junebug

A Junebug cocktail on a table in a modern lounge decorated in shades of green in daytime, light, bright

Craving sweet sour mixed drinks with a tropical twist? Try the Junebug, honey. Combine 1 oz pineapple juice, 1 oz sweet and sour mix, 0.75 oz coconut rum, 0.75 oz banana liqueur, and 1 oz melon liqueur in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to combine, strain it into a glass over fresh ice, and garnish with a wedge of pineapple.   

Also trending: 20 Soju Cocktails to Master at Home 

4. New York Sour

New York Sour Cocktail

The New York Sour is a classic cocktail enjoyed by bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts for over a century. This sophisticated twist on the classic Whiskey Sour features a bold combination of whiskey, red wine, lemon juice, and a kiss of sweet and sour. Make this alcoholic drink with sweet and sour mix even easier to pour by adding 1 oz of your DIY mixture.  

5. Joe Collins

Two Joe Collins cocktails on a window sill of a beach house on a sunny day overlooking the blue ocean

A fun variation on the Tom Collins, a Joe Collins features whiskey as a key ingredient and incorporates the sweet flavor of cola. To make this simple sipper, add 1.5 oz whiskey and 0.75 oz sweet and sour mix to a cocktail shaker with ice, and shake until frosty. Strain it into a rocks glass with fresh ice, top it off with cola, and garnish with a jaunty cherry. Sweet and sour mixed drink recipes don’t come any less complicated than that! 

6. Russian Sunset

Two Russian Sunset cocktails on a table in a traditional Russian home environment decorated in shades of red

You’ve heard of the Tequila Sunrise, and the Italian Sunrise, but have you tried a Russian Sunset? To make this festive drink, combine 2 oz Grand Marnier, 2 oz SKYY Vodka, and 2 oz sweet and sour mix in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until icy cold, strain into a tall glass over fresh ice, and add a dash of grenadine. Garnish with a cherry and enjoy! We love serving this sweet-and-sour recipe cocktail with garlic grenki and lavash rolls with smoked salmon. 

7. Italian Gentleman

Bright red Italian Gentleman cocktail

Campari stars in many aperitif cocktails, including the world-famous Negroni, and its distinctive flavor also makes it very versatile and great for experimentation. So, if you love the idea of a Campari bourbon combo, this cocktail will become your new favorite. Our Italian Gentleman cocktail recipe is fairly easy to prepare and comes together even more quickly if you use 1 oz sweet and sour cocktail mix instead of the simple syrup and lemon juice that’s called for in the original recipe. 

Learn more: 22 Sour Cocktail Recipes to Add to Your DIY Drinks Repertoire 

Excited to try these drinks made with sweet and sour mix at home? So are we! Lean into ease and be the host with the most! Remember to sign up for our newsletter to get more effortless DIY cocktail hacks like these, and keep your home mixology game strong 🍸🍋 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If you don’t want to use store-bought sweet and sour mix, you can make your own at home by combining simple syrup (a 1:1 mixture of sugar and water, combined over medium heat), 1 part lime juice, and 2 parts lemon juice. This DIY alternative is easy to make, and stores well in the fridge for up to a week

Sweet and sour mix and Collins mix are similar in that they are both non-alcoholic cocktail mixers used to add flavor to drinks. However, they are not exactly the same, and their ingredients can vary. Sweet and sour mix typically consists of equal parts sugar and water (to make a simple syrup), and citrus juice, often a combination of lemon and lime juice. It is sweetened and tart, providing a balance of flavors for cocktails. Collins mix, on the other hand, is specifically used in drinks like the Tom Collins cocktail. It usually includes simple syrup (sugar and water), lemon juice, and sometimes club soda. The key difference is that Collins mix often incorporates soda water for effervescence, giving drinks a fizzy quality.

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