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It doesn't take much to elevate a homemade cocktail to bar-level standards with small-batch syrup or mixers.
Most of the new crop of craft mixers are designed for use in quick concoctions, with suggestions for simple gin and tonics, old-fashioneds or mojitos right on the label.
"It's as simple as two parts brew, one part booze," said Maria Littlefied, a partner at Owl's Brew. Their Pink & Black—darjeeling tea with hibiscus, lemon peel, strawberry and agave—is a good pair with whiskey or tequila.
Want something more complex? That's not a problem, either.
(Modified from Julie Reiner of Flatiron Lounge's recipe, on Chow.com)
Combine the gin, syrup, and several ice cubes in a shaker. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Strain into a champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine; garnish with a cucumber wheel.
(Modified from Meaghan Dorman's recipe at Dear Irving in New York.)
Stir all ingredients together in a glass with a large piece of ice. Garnish with an orange twist with a clove spike.
(Recipe from Missy Koefod of 18.21 Bitters)
Stir together and pour into a glass over a large piece of ice. Garnish with a peach slice.
(Recipe from Chakkra Rath for Owl's Brew)
Add tequila, orange juice, Owl's Brew and Grand Marnier to a beer glass, with ice cubes. Top with Hefeweizen beer.
(Modified from Eben Freeman of Tailor Restaurant's recipe, on Epicurious.com)
Spread sugar on a small plate. Rub the lemon wedge around the rim of a chilled coupe glass. Dip moistened side of glass in the sugar to lightly coat. In cocktail shaker, combine the spirits, lemon juice and Cocktail Crate. Add ice and shake, about 30 seconds. Strain into prepared glass.
(Recipe from Jason Albaum of Blue J Syrups)
In shaker, combine vodka and syrup with ice. Stir for a count of 30. Strain into chilled martini glass. Add lemon juice and garnish.