Sweet and sour mix is a classic cocktail mixer you can find behind any bar. It’s sweet but has just enough tartness to make you pucker, and it’s extremely versatile. We use it in various cocktails and love how it makes an easy substitution when a cocktail recipe calls for simple syrup and lemon juice or juice from other types of citrus.
Are you ready to try something delicious and refreshing in your cocktail glass? Here are our favorite sweet and sour drinks with vodka, tequila, rum, whiskey, and gin!
- Sweet and Sour Mix Drinks with Vodka
- Drinks with Sweet and Sour Mix and Tequila
- Sweet and Sour Mix Drinks with Rum
- Whiskey Drinks with Sweet and Sour Mix
- Gin Drinks with Sweet and Sour Mix
- Bottom Line
Sweet and Sour Mix Drinks with Vodka
1. Cherry Vodka Sour
This Cherry Vodka Sour recipe is so sweet and refreshing that it almost tastes like candy. This one is perfect for a summer day on the patio or anytime you’re craving a drink that goes down easy without tasting like alcohol. The recipe is simple. You only need the sweet and sour mix, vodka, grenadine, and an orange slice or cherries to garnish. We also tried this using citron vodka, and it was delicious.
2. Sweet and Sour Lemon Drop
The lemon drop cocktail is considered among the ranks of royalty in the world of sweet and sour cocktails. The bright tart taste of lemon and a bit of sweetness make this a mixed drink that goes down really easily. You can barely taste the vodka at all.
For the classic lemon drop, all you need is a good quality vodka, fresh lemon juice, sweet and sour mix, triple sec, and a bit of sugar. Shake it up with some ice in a cocktail shaker, strain it into your favorite cocktail glass, and enjoy. We like this one with a nice twist of lemon and a lightly sugared rim on the glass. For a different version, try adding a splash of cranberry juice to this.
3. Vodka Gimlet
A vodka gimlet is traditionally made using vodka, lime juice, lemon juice, simple syrup, and sometimes a sweetened lime cordial, like a lime syrup or sweetened lime juice. If you love the flavor of a vodka gimlet but don’t have the long list of ingredients needed, like in this recipe by Difford’s Guide, you can easily make some substitutes with a little sweet and sour mix.
The sweet and sour mix can replace the lime cordial or lime sweetener in this cocktail recipe, and it will also offer a bit of tart citrus, just in case you don’t happen to have any fresh lemon or lime on hand. If you use sweet and sour mix, use any additional simple syrup sparingly, as it can easily take this refreshing cocktail too far over to the sweet side.
4. Homemade Zima
If you’re of a certain age, there’s a good chance you might remember a malt beverage alternative called Zima, circa 1990-something. Zima almost tasted like a malty lemon-lime soda and was similar in taste to some of the hard sodas and citrus malt beverages that line the shelves of liquor stores today. If you’re feeling a bit reminiscent of the past, you can recreate Zima right in your own kitchen or home bar.
We took this recipe from Liqour.com and took a few liberties with it. Mainly, we used sweet and sour mix in place of the sugar and lime juice that the recipe calls for. If you have fresh citrus on hand, then definitely go for it and follow the original recipe, but we received zero complaints from our eager taste testers when we subbed in the sweet and sour mix instead.
5. Kamikaze Cocktail
Kamikazes are one of those shots that it seems almost everyone has had a few too many of at some point in their lives. As easy as this drink goes down as a shooter, it also makes a very tasty, very sippable cocktail when served in a more elegant glass.
We included the kamikaze on this list because practically every bar uses sweet and sour mix or lime syrup when making up a batch of shots. When transitioned into cocktail form, you’re more likely to see the kamikaze prepared with simple syrup, lime juice, and triple sec instead. For the easiest version of this cocktail, take this wonderful recipe by Cookin Canuck, and keep the vodka and triple sec. Then, switch out the simple syrup and lime juice for a premade portion of the sweet and sour mix.
Drinks with Sweet and Sour Mix and Tequila
6. Traditional Margarita
by Simple Joy
You might be surprised to know that you don’t need premade margarita mix for the perfect margarita cocktail. Don’t get us wrong. Those premade mixes can be really great. The problem is that you might end up with half of a jug of premade mix sitting in your refrigerator for months because you just don’t make margaritas that often.
This recipe by Simple Joy offers the perfect solution. This recipe uses a good tequila, triple sec, and sweet and sour mix. That’s it. Well, except for the salt and lime, of course! We really like that they share recipes for one margarita cocktail or an entire pitcher of them. Also, they include a recipe for homemade sweet and sour mix, which is the perfect balance of lime, lemon juice, and sweetness.
7. Sour Patch Margarita
Drinks with a sweet and sour mix can take so many different taste directions. We love how this mixed drink tastes like one of our favorite childhood candies. Plus, you can purchase a bag of sour patch kids to garnish these margaritas and indulge in sneaking a few into your mouth while you play bartender.
The sour patch flavor comes from a combination of tequila, melon liqueur, triple sec, orange juice, and sweet and sour mix. Toss all the ingredients with some ice in a cocktail shaker and strain into a sugar-rimmed cocktail class. Add a few of your favorite sour patch candies as a garnish, and enjoy.
8. Sangria Margarita
Two of our favorite cocktails, margaritas, and sangria, are combined into one incredible drink with this Sangria Margarita. This is a layered drink with the margarita on the button and the red wine sangria floating on top. Lots of fresh fruit is added to complete the sangria flavor, but what’s key here is the fresh sweet, and sour mix, which Seasoned to Taste gives quick and easy instructions on how to make.
9. Pineapple Margarita
Friends, drinks with sweet and sour mix don’t get much better than when crafted into a frozen pineapple margarita. This recipe by Tornadough Alli features frozen pineapple as the star of the show, along with tequila, triple sec, and lime. This is truly delicious as is, but we whipped this up using a homemade sweet and sour mix and added an extra splash of pineapple juice. You’re going to want more than just one of these.
Sweet and Sour Mix Drinks with Rum
10. Mai Tai
The Tiki culture that was so popular in the mid-twentieth century is making a return big time. One of the classic tiki drinks that any serious home bartender should have mastered is the Mai Tai. For this, you need a high-quality white rum (although some non-purists like to sneak coconut rum into the mix), dark rum, orange curacao, pineapple juice, a sweet almond syrup called orgeat, and a homemade sweet and sour mix.
Tiki recipes are often a little extra and require a bit of prep time, but they’re totally worth it.
11. Bacardi Cocktail
Of all the drinks with sweet and sour mix on our list, this one is probably the simplest – and it’s bursting with fruity flavors too.
This sweet and sour drink calls for a good rum, like Bacardi Superior, grenadine syrup, and sweet and sour mix. Add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and give it a whirl or two. Pour into a martini glass or highball glass and enjoy. If you don’t have grenadine on hand, a nice splash of pomegranate juice works beautifully in this and isn’t as sweet.
12. Blue Hawaii
Blue Hawaii joins the Mai Tai in the category of Tiki drinks, and it’s also one of our favorite drinks with blue curacao. This is one of those drinks that will have you daydreaming of sitting on a beach unless you’re already there!
For Blue Hawaii, you need light rum, vodka, blue curacao, pineapple juice, and a sweet and sour mix. It’s up to you whether you want to serve this ode to Hawaii on ice or whipped into a slushy treat in the blender. Either way, don’t forget the little paper umbrella!
13. Adios MFer
We’re a sucker for cocktails with funny, or even raunchy, names. The Adios MFer certainly fits the bill, but it also happens to be a sweet and sour cocktail that tastes amazing. By the way, its name comes from how deceptively strong the drink is, so proceed with caution.
For this, gather your favorite rum, vodka, gin, and tequila. Yes, all of them! Add some sweet and sour mix, blue curacao, and some citrus soda to the mix, and you have one strong, yummy, and very blue cocktail. Garnish with a cherry, orange, pineapple, or whatever fun fruit you happen to have on hand.
14. Rum Sour
Ok, so we’re cheating a little hear by adding this recipe to our list. We absolutely love this sour rum recipe by Burrata and Bubbles. And they use the classic ingredients of dark rum, lemon juice, orgeat syrup, and a few dashes of bitters, and she adds egg white to the mix, too, for an authentic drink.
Honestly, this is perfect as is, but if you have a bottle of sweet and sour mix on hand and are looking for a way to use it, replacing the lemon juice with the sour mix and keeping the rest the same is still a wonderfully delicious cocktail.
Whiskey Drinks with Sweet and Sour Mix
15. Whiskey Sour
It’s hard to pass up good whiskey sour, and this recipe by Taste of Home has all of the components for the perfect version of this classic drink. This is also a very simple version too. All you need is a good bourbon whiskey and your favorite sweet and sour mix.
We really prefer a homemade sweet and sour mix rather than a store-bought one for this cocktail. You can also add the ingredients along with an egg white if you want, and do a dry shake until frothy. Add ice and shake again. This creates a delicate, creamy, frothy drink.
16. Apple Whiskey Sour
The Apple Whiskey Sour is perfect for those of us who like to mix things up and create all sorts of fun variations on the classic whiskey sour. As the name implies, this one is infused with the flavor of apple, and it’s simply delicious for summer, fall, or really any time of year.
This recipe uses lemon juice and simple syrup, but you can easily substitute sweet and sour mix for that. You might still want to add in a dash of fresh lemon juice, which compliments the apple flavors really nicely. Also, if you have it available to you, local, fresh-pressed apple cider is the absolute best in this.
17. New York Sour
If you’re not familiar with the New York Sour, this is definitely one to add to your list of new cocktails to try. At its base, this is a sweet and sour recipe that features rye or bourbon whiskey. Once you make the whiskey sour part of the cocktail, you add a floater of red wine. It’s an unlikely combination, but one that will surprisingly knock your socks off.
Gin Drinks with Sweet and Sour Mix
18. Tom Collins
Another classic drink with a sweet and sour mix on our list is the Tom Collins. This is one of the originals of the Collins Family of cocktails, and it’s also a perfectly light and refreshing drink if you’re a fan of gin.
This recipe by Deish calls for Tanqueray Lond Dry Gin, lemon juice, sweet and sour mix, club soda, and a juicy orange slice as a garnish. Simple, yet perfect.
19. Peach Violet Empress Gin Sour
In the realm of gin drinks with sweet and sour mix, this one is top-notch. In full disclosure, this recipe doesn’t actually use sweet and sour mix but features lemon juice and simple syrup instead. We made this using a batch of the homemade sweet and sour mix instead of the simple syrup and lemon, and trust us. We have no complaints!
To make the perfect version of this cocktail, you need Empress 1908 Gin, peach liqueur, violet liqueur, mint leaves, and either lemon and syrup or a nice homemade sweet and sour mix. Don’t use the store-bought stuff for this one. It deserves something more refined. We also like how this article told us how to make a violet version of the classic daiquiri, which we’re excited to try next.
Is sweet and sour mix the same as a whiskey sour?
Sweet and sour mix is a syrup that can be used in whiskey sour recipes, but the two are not the same. Sweet and sour mix is similar to a simple syrup that’s flavored with citruses, such as lemon and lime. Some sour recipes call for sweet and sour mix, while others will suggest just using simple syrup and lemon juice instead.
Does the sweet and sour mix contain alcohol?
The sweet and sour mix doesn’t contain any alcohol until you add it! It goes well in a variety of cocktails and mixes nicely with just about any spirit you can name, from bourbon whiskey to amaretto, vodka, gin, tequila, and even something a little more exotic, like a banana liqueur.
For a well-stocked home bar, adding the sweet and sour mix to the shopping list is a must. You can also make it from scratch, using just simple ingredients that are probably already in your kitchen. We encourage you to experiment, play, and find your own favorite sweet and sour cocktails. With a mixer that’s so sweet, tart, and delicious, it’s hard to go wrong.