Food & Drink

Portable Bar Essentials for the Apocalypse

Powdered mixers make delicious cocktails, wherever you are.

powdered cocktail mixers
Grace Han/Thrillist

As people solidify their quarantine pods, they’re looking outside for the safest hangouts possible. Whether that manifests in group camping trips, physically distanced picnics, or backyard movie nights, there’s nothing like a cocktail to take the edge off of that apocalypse anxiety.

But no one likes lugging mixers around and some people might not be comfortable sharing them. Powdered mixers are surprising solutions that come individually sealed and packed with more flavor than you expect. Despite different packaging and dissolving methods, these mixers generally just need a shot or two of water and a shot of liquor to make a cocktail. We went through several popular options and landed on three brands worthy of your next patio happy hour.

Mixallogy

One of the first powdered mixers on the scene, Mixallogy obliterates the competition. No, seriously, we were fully prepared for enjoyable simulacrums and got smacked in the palate with flavor. The delicious pods taste just like Cosmo, Lemon Sour, and Margarita liquid mixers thanks to a patented drying process. You can buy pods in packs of six or get a cocktail set that comes with a mini shaker. Even without the shaker, these pods were the easiest to mix because the pod also acts as a shot glass, so you can get accurate ratios on the fly.

When other brands use real sugar or sugar cane juice, they often supplement with an artificial sweetener which leaves a tell-tale aftertaste. Mixallogy, certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), largely relies on organic sugar, putting the dehydrated fruit juices front and center. The trade-off? With the highest calorie count of the powdered mixers, each pod comes in at 40 calories — comparable, if not lower than many liquid mixers.

True Cocktails

True Cocktails only comes in one flavor: a lime-forward citrus blend that works well to create anything from a Gimlet to a Margarita to a Whiskey Sour. The set also comes with a reusable mini cocktail shaker and six packets that clock in at only 15 calories. The citrus dominates, pushing the artificial sweetener taste to a whisper while not creating a puckering sour taste. Unfortunately, you can’t buy the packets separately, but the set serves well as a party gift.

Tabooze

The only one we found of its kind, Tabooze uses effervescence to deliver its four flavors. What Tabooze lacks in natural ingredients, it makes up for with Alka-Seltzer-like tablets that make Margaritas, Mojitos, and Martinis. The Martini tablets come in tropical citrus and pom wild berry flavors, and each box comes with a card encouraging users to think outside the box.

At only 5 calories per tablet, Tabooze is just as good a way to spice up a glass of cheap wine as it is for crafting fizzing cocktails. Okay, so you’re generally supposed to wait until it dissolves to add the booze, but that takes a few minutes and the drinks are way more fun halfway through the process.

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J. Fergus is a lifestyle writer known for food, alcohol, cannabis, and tech coverage -- the modern rhombus of vices. Their words have graced the likes of FoodbeastTastemadeThe Manual, and Chowhound. Their words have also been known to disgrace Twitter.