Margaritas, daiquiris, Long Island Iced tea and whiskey sours are among the dozens of cocktails that can be made quickly with ready-made sweet-and-sour mix. The solution is nothing more than simple syrup — usually made from equal parts sugar and water — with the addition of fresh lemon and lime juice. While you can purchase the mix at most liquor and drinks supply stores, making your own allows you to fine-tune the sweet and bitter flavors to your liking.

Things You'll Need

Purchase fresh lemons and limes. Approximately 10 or 11 medium-size lemons and 16 limes will yield enough juice to make 8 cups of sweet-and-sour mix.

Wash the lemons and limes under running water. Pat dry with paper towels or a dishcloth.

Roll each lemon and lime on a hard surface, pressing down firmly with your hand. Doing so will rupture segments in the fruit’s flesh, allowing you to obtain more juice from each. Cut the lemons and limes in half, lengthwise.

Juice the lemons with an electric juicer, citrus squeezer or hand juicer. Strain the fresh juice through a fine-mesh sieve into a large pitcher or jug.

Juice the limes in the same manner as the lemons. Strain the lime juice through the sieve into the same pitcher as the lemon juice. Set aside.

Measure water into a large saucepan. Use 3 cups of water for every 8 cups of sweet-and-sour mix you plan to prepare.

Add sugar to the water in the pan. Use an amount equal to the water, such as 3 cups of sugar if you’re using 3 cups of water.

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula. Remove the pan from the heat when the sugar is completely dissolved.

Let the sugar-water mixture cool. Pour it into the lemon and lime juice in the pitcher.

Stir to mix. Cover the pitcher and chill it in the refrigerator before using.