The UK has gone cocktail crazy with people shaking, stirring and muddling like never before. Whether you’re mixing for fun or see yourself as a budding bartender, there are hundreds of kits available urging you to blend the booze, from simple starter packs containing all you need to create a few basic cocktails, to monthly subscription clubs for the more serious mixologists. As always with monthly services, check the small print for cancellation policies and delivery terms, and make sure your friends and family are willing to try out your new boozy creations: a good cocktail is something worth sharing.
Below is our pick of the kits currently on the market, all waiting for you to mix up a treat. Some include the booze but none of the equipment, others include the equipment but none of the booze, and some include everything.
1. Tipple Box cocktail subscription: £24 per month, Tipple Box
The Tipple Box website is rammed full with colourful cocktail kits available as one-off purchases from their marketplace or through regular monthly deliveries, each one simply packaged and extremely enticing. Our thirsty eyes lit up when we lifted the lid on our box to reveal bottles of top notch booze and juice lined up to make a bloody Mary and French Martini, including some knockout chilli vodka. Hot stuff.
2. Taste Cocktails subscription: £24 per month, Taste Cocktails
Taste Cocktails’ monthly boxes contain neatly packaged ingredients to make enough booze for five or six servings. Recipes and historical lowdown are included, with extended information available online. Our sample featured two tequila based recipes with a pair of 100ml bottles of high quality tequila, 60ml kahlua and smaller doses of agave and Angostura bitters. Simple and stylish boxes of boozy fun. For £15, you can also buy Taste’s ‘Bartender Essentials’ kit, which includes all the equipment you need to get going.
3. Craft Gin Club: £40 per month, Craft Gin Club
Get in with the gin crowd and treat yourself to a choice small batch spirit on a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly basis. Each delivery contains a few extras to make a range of cocktails with instructions featured in an informative and entertaining magazine. For those who believe a good gin is at the heart of the best drinks, these boxes are juniper heaven.
4. Edinburgh Gin Cocktail Set: £45 for 2 x 200ml bottles plus shaking equipment, John Lewis
Start assembling your cocktail cabinet with this kit from Edinburgh’s finest juniper magicians. A bottle of both their botanically brilliant gin and raspberry liqueur will give your recipes a touch of class while the shaker, strainer, pouring spout and measure give you the tools to get the job done. Let the merriment begin.
5. Tipplesworth Mini Classic Martini Cocktail Kit: £19.90, Fortnum and Mason
This kit contains all the ingredients you need to craft two fine martinis: a 50ml bottle of Sipsmith spicy, aromatic gin and 50ml of smooth, Blackdown silver birch vermouth. And for that professional flourish you get a nice pot of olives and a cocktail pick to impale them on. At a shade under £20, it’s a bit pricey, but you’ll have plenty of vermouth left over for further cocktail adventures, and the tin it comes in does make a splendid sandwich box. An Old Fashioned cocktail kit is also available.
6. Bitter Truths Cocktail Bitters Traveler’s Set: £18.95 for 5 x 20ml bottles, The Whisky Exchange
Tuck one of these retro tins into your suitcase and you’ll be prizing open the hotel minibar with added enthusiasm. Five bottles from Bitter Truths’ range await – including Orange, Celery and Old Time Aromatic Bitters, ready to transform even the most miserable selection of chilled liquor into an endless array of flavoursome delights. With so much mixing to be had you might want to put the sightseeing on hold.
7. Molecule-R R-Evolution Margarita Mixology Kit: £30, Waitrose
Here’s one for budding Hestons. This chemistry set/cocktail mash-up offers an introduction to molecular mixology, covering spherification (balls of liquid), gelification (jelly) and emulsification (foam). You'll need to supply the booze, but the kit provides the moulds, spoons and the chemical powders that work the magic. The recipes take a while to construct, but it's all good fun and, providing you follow the instructions, the results are both tasty and impressive to behold.
8. MicroBarBox Monthly Cocktail Club: £25 per month, MicroBarBox
Send your taste buds on a journey of discovery with these boxes of liquid treats. Packed with an assortment of spirits and mixers, our fruity selection included lemon, raspberry and rhubarb liqueurs. You can either follow the many combinations suggested by the MicroBarBox experts or let your inner mixologist loose with your own creations. They even throw in a snack to nibble on while contemplating what to mix up next.
9. Carry on Cocktail Kit, The Moscow Mule: £15.95, Harvey Nichols
Pack one of these in your cabin luggage and you can sup first-class cocktails even when flying budget. Simply procure the spirit and soda from the cabin crew, pop open the tin and get mixing. The Moscow Mule kit tested here contains a bottle of punchy ginger syrup, enough for constructing two feisty cocktails. Dinky bar equipment is also included: a jigger for measuring servings, a small bar spoon for mixing, and you even get a small linen coaster, handy for catching spillages should you hit any mid-flight turbulence. Bloody Mary and Old Fashioned kits are also available.
10. Bar-craft 5-piece Cocktail Making Tool Set: £19.99, Lakeland
Our final kit contains no booze but if you want to boss the bar like a pro you’ll need a set of tools that are as sleek as your mixin’ moves. Comprising a stainless steel strainer, bottle opener, bar knife and tongs, these trustworthy trinkets look the part in their custom made stand, which has a few cocktail recipes etched on the back in case you forget any basics while shaking it all about.
Cocktails don’t come cheap, so special marks are due to the monthly clubs for cramming in top notch ingredients at a reasonable price. We loved the extra information in Taste Cocktails’ packages, but for its huge range of recipes we think Tipple Box will tickle anyone’s fancy.
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