7 Cocktail Supplies You Should Buy at Trader Joe's, According to an Expert

Let's raise a glass for some budget-friendly finds.

a diptych of cocktails with a orange, herb, and cranberry garnish on the left and a storefront of a Trader Joe's on the right
Photo: Getty Images

If you're in a scramble to plan your holiday party, the drinks menu might be the first thing to fall through the cracks. After all, you've got the house to clean, the appetizers to bake and an outfit to pick out—it makes sense that you'd want to cross your fingers that someone brings a good bottle of wine. But if you already keep your bar somewhat stocked, you're only a few ingredients away from serving up pretty, delicious cocktails that will have your guests singing your praises.

The good news is that some of those extra ingredients—including mixers and glam garnishes—can come at a pretty affordable price. Cocktail aficionado and author Camille Wilson (who goes by @thecocktailsnob_ on Instagram) has been sharing some of her favorite cocktail supplies to pick up at Trader Joe's, and her tips make us feel like we could become exceptional (and budget-friendly) entertainers after just one TJ's run.

Wilson has shared reels of her favorite garnishes and mixers to buy from the popular grocery. "Like I always say, you don't have to break the bank buying cocktail ingredients," Wilson wrote on Instagram. "Trader Joe's has soooo many great mixers, juices, sodas for all your happy hour at home needs."

Whether you're planning to mix drinks on the fly as guests request them or would rather make one or two big-batch drinks that you can mix once and serve all night, Wilson's suggestions will make your party feel a little more put-together. The best part is that most of her suggestions come in at around $5 or less.

Pair up your beverages with some of the fun Trader Joe's finds hitting shelves for the holidays, like tins of snack mix and simple charcuterie finds, and snag more of Wilson's wisdom by checking out her Free Spirit Cocktails (buy it: $19.95, Amazon) for some alcohol-free entertaining ideas.

7 Cocktail Supplies to Buy at Trader Joe's

1. High-quality sodas

Wilson uses Trader Joe's ginger beer in her carousel of examples, but you could amp up the ginger flavor even further with the store's Triple Ginger Brew, the seasonal mixer you can even use in TJ's-approved mocktails like their Gingerosa. Scope out the beverage section for other fun sodas, including seasonal options, like sparkling cider and the sparkling cranberry-ginger beverage, to make cocktail curation even easier.

2. Juices or other mixers

You'll find classic juices and ciders on the TJ's drink aisle and the in the refrigerated section, but there are also *plenty* of seasonal options to go looking for. If you want to have a fun party cocktail that is rich with flavor and seems like something you concocted with love (rather than just a handy bottle from TJ's), options like the store's Winter Wassail Punch (for $4.99) or Sugar Plum Sparkling Beverage ($3.99) are here to help. You could even pick up a classic drink like cider or eggnog and spike it with your liquor of choice for a super-easy batch drink. TJ's even has oat-based O'Nog, a vegan eggnog option that is perfect for a dairy-free crowd.

3. Sparkling water

Like most grocery stores, Trader Joe's carries bottles of their own brand of plain ol' sparkling water at an affordable price. But if you're in the market for something with a little flavor, there are tons of canned options on the shelves as well. Look around at the four-packs of Seltzers with a Splash to see if one of the flavor combinations appeals to you. I'm partial to the blood orange seltzer with a splash of orange juice, which has a touch more sweetness than your usual seltzer would have. Each pack of four costs $3.29.

4. Fresh herbs

Any TJ's shopper who loves to make a mean caprese salad or add some fresh rosemary to their roasted chicken knows that the store has incredible prices on fresh herbs. Find them in the produce section to add a fresh flavor to your big batch drinks, whether it needs rosemary, basil or mint. Add a little sage to our Sagey Gin Gimlet or a sprig of rosemary to our Cranberry-Prosecco Cocktail.

5. Fresh citrus

While you're in the produce section, stroll over to the bags of lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit for a sweet-sour twist in your holiday drinks. Whether you're making one big-batch cocktail or mixing things up by request, you're bound to need some slices and zest on the side. In a drink like Ina Garten's deliciously simple Pomegranate Gimlets, a lime slice adds a little extra zip, while this Slow-Cooker Mulled Wine uses an orange for more complicated flavor and some sweetness to balance the spice. You could even make citrus the star of the show, like in our Blood Orange, Gin & Prosecco Cocktail.

6. Dried fruit

A dried orange wheel would be a simple and classic garnish, but if your Trader Joe's dried fruit section is well-stocked, oranges are just the tip of the iceberg. You might find dried sweetened hibiscus flowers among the shelves—those would be super fun in an iced tea—or even a classic like freeze-dried berries. The fun thing with freeze-dried fruit is that you can even pulverize them in your food processor and use them to add color, flavor or even a fun rim to your drinks.

7. Candied ginger

The last garnish on Wilson's list brings sweetness and boldness to your cocktail glasses. Add it to your cart if you're planning to whip up a few Lime-Ginger Fizzes for your pals, or skewer it with a twist of lemon for our Rosemary-Ginger French 75. All your pals will be obsessed.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles