Cocktail kits are one of those things that make you wonder why something similar hasn’t existed since the beginning of time; they just make sense. The beauty of bottled cocktails or cocktail making kits lies in their simplicity, you can get a taste of the good life, right from the comfort of your own couch without hardly having to move a muscle.
Even before we knew what the past year or so would entail, postal cocktail kits seemed like a pretty good deal to us. Now, with various lockdowns and restrictions under our belts, we’re all very much equipped to deal with downtime hosted within our own four walls and the appeal only grows. We’re not suggesting readymade cocktails are a recommended coping strategy to all of life’s woes, but to brighten up a midweek slump or to mark the weekend with a special serve, they truly can’t be beaten.
Following the first lockdown plenty more companies offering bottled cocktail popped up, with lots even coming from the bar teams at some of our favourite restaurants (a great way to support them during a pandemic, we hope you will agree). These lifesaver bartenders and mixologists have got to work to stir up some seriously good serves, bottled said serves up and have arranged to get their drinks out to you in the post, to arrive at your door in just a couple of days. If that isn’t top quality service, we don’t know what is. Just. Add. Ice.
Below we’ve tried and tested (tough job etc, etc) our favourite premixed cocktails to come up with a list of the best cocktail kits you can get delivered in the UK. From the fruity, fresh bottles of Kocktail’s range to the harder stuff courtesy of No. 3 Gin, these are the perfect pick-me-ups should you need a little treat in your life. Of course, these aren’t just good for a little ‘to me, from me’ gift, they also make wonderful presents for friends and family, whether you want to wet a new baby’s head and can’t get there in person, or simply want to say ‘I miss you’ and fancy sending them a cocktail gift set to let them know. And even with all that being said, we’re of the understanding that actually you need a grand total of zero official reasons to indulge in readymade cocktails – they’re pretty much always a good idea. So, without further ado, here are some of our favourite tipples…
The Cocktail Society
Why: Award-winning and ready to drink, The Cocktail Society’s cocktail kits come pre-batched in pleasingly designed bottles that make them perfect for gifting. With these you’ll have the pick of classics like a Margarita or a bottle of smoky Old Fashioned as well as a few iterations that are twists on crowd-pleasers. Think a sloe flavoured Negroni and a salted caramel espresso martini. The concoctions are made by trained mixologists who use high end ingredients for clean, crisp flavour profiles throughout the range.
How much: From £12
Buy it: thecocktailsociety.uk
The Umbrella Project
Why: Umbrella Workshop is the parent brand of well-known London cocktail bars Discount Suit Company and The Sun Tavern, as well as having its own eponymous bricks and mortar site. The bottled cocktails are made in house so taste really fresh, but are stabilised at the same time, so can last up to a year in the fridge if you have the self-restraint for such a timeline. They're also available to send nationwide. We tried spicy seasonal specials with an Old Fashioned that wonderfully balanced the warmth of ginger and whiskey with the sweetness of a homemade syrup, while a chocolate orange Negroni brought a grown-up twist to a nostalgic childhood flavour. Aside from the seasonal specials, there is also a whole collection of classic and signature cocktails that make great postal presents whatever the time of year.
How much: From £15
Buy it: theumbrellaproject.co.uk
Why: Some canned cocktails can be overpoweringly strong, because of the need for them to have a long shelf life. Whitebox, however, taste fresh and are the perfect instant pick-me-up after clocking off work or as a pre-amble to a weekend night out. While not too strong, they still have robust flavours and come in a good range of mixes that should appeal to most cocktail lovers. Our favourites included a retro fruity cosmo and a margarita that we chilled hard in the freezer before pouring for an extra refreshing serve. Six cans cost just over £30, which makes them around a fiver each – a bargain if you ask us. Treat yourself - or someone else - to the classic cocktail selection for a taste of the best of Whitebox's bunch.
How much: From £5.80
Buy it: whiteboxcocktails.com
Why: Forget everything you thought you knew about bottled cocktails, these top-tier serves from black-lines are a cut above the rest. Made with quality ingredients (with plenty of spirits and syrups sourced right here in the UK), you can really taste the difference. As with restaurants, we think a short selection is a sign of confidence, and the team here have every reason to back themselves with their small handful of choices. The espresso martini is velvety smooth and packs a real punch, while the negroni has sharp flavour profiles and that characteristically bitter finish. Fancy trying something new? We loved the pear and white tea fizz made with vodka, sake, pear, white tea, fresh lemon and soda.
How much: from £19
Buy them: blacklinesdrinks.com
Why: We’ve often found bottled cocktails suffer from either being too sweet or two strong, but striking the perfect balance is LAIBA. These expertly crafted drinks taste as though they could have been poured fresh from your favourite bar, and in fact that’s not too far from the truth. You see, these luxury bottled cocktails are served in some of the world’s swankiest hotels – including the Shangri-La and the Four Seasons. Our favourite was a special edition Pina Colada Old Fashioned created by world-renowned Maxim Schulte, formerly of The American Bar at The Savoy. Caramel rich and warm with rum, this was a cut above our usual G&T in front of the TV. If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, the brand also does a good line in Espresso Martinis, Bloody Marys and Negronis.
How much: From £7.50 per bottle
Buy it: uk.shop.laibabeverages.com
Easy Social Cocktail Co.
Why: These petite canned cocktails might look a little on the small side at first glance, but they pack a real punch. With little by way of dilution, these are perfect for those of us who enjoy a *stiff* drink. Fruity twists on favourites like a peach cosmo, a mango margarita and a strawberry negroni are all firm fan favourites, while a traditional Bloody Mary ensures there’s something for even the most savoury of tooths among us. Also, if you find yourself in a pinch and need cocktails fast, you might like to know that you can order these on Deliveroo.
How much: From £10 for a two pack
Buy it: easysocialcocktail.co
Why: Sometimes it's tough to know what you're going to be feeling like when it comes to drinks time and you end up only having things on the shelf that you don't really want. That's why we love this set of premixed cocktails from Tapp'd, as it means you'll have twelve to choose from when they first arrive. Sustainably produced and hand-crafted in small batches, the cocktails on offer from Tapp'd are mixologist quality and come stylishly packaged. With classic concoctions such as a Pina Colada, a Sex On The Beach and a Cosmopolitan included, this set of cocktails is bound to go down a treat whether you keep it for yourself or give it to someone as a present.
How much: £39.99 for set of 12
Buy it: notonthehighstreet.com
World of Zing
Why: Set up by Sunday Brunch cocktail expert Pritesh Mody, World of Zing is a company that specialises in selling premixed cocktails made by professional mixologists. A particular focus of World of Zing is using only the highest quality spirits in its cocktails. While it does sell a variety of larger bottles of readymade cocktails, we particularly like this set of three miniatures which are all designed to be topped up with a bit of Prosecco for an added spritz. Included in the set are 50ml bottles of Passionfruit Spritz, Grapefruit & Thyme Spritz, and Negroni, along with a 200ml bottle of Prosecco, meaning you're ready to get pouring as soon as the set arrives.
How much: £20 for Prosecco mini collection
Buy it: notonthehighstreet.com
The Cocktail Man
Why: James Vyse is the man behind the brand at this premixed cocktail company, and his experience is pretty impressive. Having worked at some of the best bars in London, James is an award-winning mixologist in his own right and tells the tale that he turned down a dream job mixing up drinks at The Shard in favour of bringing you some of his favourite cocktails. The readymade cocktail options are all little twists on classics – like a rhubarb and ginger Negroni or a chocolate espresso martini, for instance – and there are also cocktail sets that you can purchase on a subscription basis. These kits span anything from three to twelve months and include premium spirits, garnishes, a signature bottled mixer and a recipe card, so all you need to do is add the fresh bits which is great for budding mixologists who like their cocktail kits a little more hands on.
How much: From £29.99, for four serves
Buy it: thecocktailman.co.uk
Why: If you like the finer things in life, then Kocktail might just be the cocktail kit for you. The company was started by two best friends who enjoyed putting the world to rights over a drink or two in some of the world’s best bars. Wanting to recreate the experience at home they brought on-board award-winning barman Neil Donachie – who previously ran the Beaufort Bar at the Savoy – to help them with their offering. Rather than being able to order a single cocktail kit, this service is a subscription, where you sign up for £29 a month and receive four different serves in line with your preferences profile. Unique garnishes are included, and because each batch is made freshly with high end ingredients they taste as good as if they’d just been mixed for you at a bar. The team guarantee you’ll never try the same drink twice, and if you don’t like them, they’ll give you your money back.
How much: £29 per month, for four cocktails
Buy it: kocktail.co.uk
STIR-UP cocktail subscription
Why: Stir-up is a cocktail club which gives you everything you need to make four delicious cocktails each month. Before your drinks arrive, you’ll be sent a short shopping list for any fresh ingredients or garnishes you need and then included in each box are all the alcohol and mixer elements. We love that these aren’t just canned cocktails or ready-to-pour. Instead, the instruction sheet takes you through how to stir up the perfect serve from your handful of included ingredients, arming you with the know-how for making the cocktails again in the future if you wanted to. The sleek packaging and modern design are other plus points, while you can really taste that quality of the ingredients used which result in fresh, punchy cocktails that are a (little too!) drinkable.
How much: From £29.95 per month, including delivery, with no contract
Buy it: stir-up.com
No. 3 Vesper Martini
Why: Berry Bros. & Rudd is an iconic wine shop in the heart of St James which holds the accolade of being Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant. We think it’s safe to say that with this much history behind it, this is a company that knows a thing or two about making a damn good drink. This bottled cocktail is made from the brand’s No. 3 (award-winning) gin, and has been expertly mixed by Alessandro Palazzi of Mayfair’s iconic DUKES Bar. While you can serve this straight from the bottle over ice, it’s suggested that for the best drinking experience you chill it down in the freezer for a couple of hours first, if you can wait that long. Expect notes of juniper, citrus and spice. Use the QR code on the packaging to get great tips from Alessandro, including the best garnish to use and how to mix the perfect martini at home.
How much: £35.95, for five serves
Buy it: selfridges.com
Buveur readymade cocktails
Why: Sometimes you just want a simple drink that’s ready to pour, hold the fancy garnishes and glassware. Buveur specialises in single serves of cocktails, so these little chaps are perfect to tuck away in your drinks cabinet ready for when you have guests or even for taking with you on the go (they suggest they’re great for a flight, which we very much enjoy the thought of). Because the team only uses British ingredients and 100% vegan products these have wide-appeal and the range is short but sweet, heroing classics. Take your pick of a White Russian, an Old Fashioned, an Espresso Martini or – our favourite – the Negroni which is herbal and well balanced with that signature bitter edge.
How much: £7.49 per serve
Buy it: masterofmalt.com
Mr Lyan's handcrafted cocktails
Why: Ryan Chetiyawardana – otherwise known as Mr Lyan – has been named the UK’s best bar tender multiple times, won the title of world’s best bartender in 2009 and even previously headed up a bar which won best bar of the year. In other words, Mr Lyan knows his stuff. His revolutionary approach to mixology has meant he’s done away with perishables such as fruit and ice in a bid to tackle waste in the industry, and a product of this approach is his range of bottled cocktails. Using high-end ingredients his bottled cocktails are refreshing and light, with distinct flavour profiles. Our favourite is the Rainy Day Spritz which combines raspberry eau de vie with vermouth and bitter rhubarb liqueur. All you need to do is add the fizz, using soda or prosecco.
How much: From £23.95
Buy it: masterofmalt.com
Not Another Bill Emergency Bloody Mary Cocktail Kit
Why: If you’re looking for a cocktail set that will impress on arrival then you can’t beat this jazzy little number from Not Another Bill. As the name suggests, this kit is designed to be pulled out in the ultimate emergency: when a hangover strikes. Presented in a fun red medical tin, the case can be personalised, and this would make a great gift for a hen or stag do, or even a Christmas present if you have a party-going-pal. Inside you’ll find everything you need to be able to throw together a Bloody Mary, including glasses, a bottle of Absolut vodka, tomato juice and Tabasco – with the added bonus of a few Berroca tablets and Alca Seltzers thrown in for good measure.
How much: £80
Buy it: notanotherbill.com
Why: With a whole host of awards to their name Tom Savano cocktails are inspired by the team’s passion for travel. In the drinks themselves this translates to things like a Caribbean Mai Tai or a Devon Coastal Negroni. Our favourite, though, is the Single Estate Reposado Margarita which mixes an old-fashioned tequila with lime and bitters for a slightly smoky drink. Stand-out points include the cocktails being made purely from artisan, founder-run spirits and the company’s charitable credentials (they donate money from their Christmas hampers to good causes each year, for instance). The serving sizes vary between a double and enough for five cocktails – perfect for parties.
How much: From £12, for two serves
Buy it: tomsavano.com
Lockdown liquor Co
Why: As the name suggests, this bottled cocktail company was launched in the midst of the UK’s first lockdown, in April 2020. Offering discerning drinkers a premium postal option, their business took off with fans up and down the country buying into the concept (well, anything that helps us get through another Zoom quiz, right?). Bottles are super sleek in design, so would make a great postal pressie, and also come in three handy sizes – little, midi and biggie which serve one, five and twelve respectively. The cocktail sets include options for gin, tequila or vodka mixes, so you should be able to find something to suit anyone you’re looking to treat. Our favourite is the Espresso Martini, which has been kept clean and classic in its ingredients but makes use of cold brew coffee for an amazingly intense hit of rich, chocolatey bitterness.
How much: From £12.99 for one serve
Buy it: lockdown-liquor.com
Hawksmoor Cocktail Bottles
Why: Well known for its steak restaurants, Hawksmoor has been diversifying in the year that has required nearly all businesses to ‘pivot’. Alongside the brand’s popular home at food kits (which are another story altogether) Hawksmoor has started selling bottled drinks, and we’re not mad about it. In each cocktail set you’ll receive four bottles of delicious concoctions ready to pour and enjoy. There’s a citrusy dry martini, a rich cherry Negroni, an old fashioned spiked with the flavour of brown butter and a gimlet flavoured with the wonderfully earthy flavour of blackcurrant leaf.
How much: £48, for four bottles
Buy it: thehawksmoor.com
Why: Standing for Needs Ice Only, these clever cocktail kits deliver to your door everything you need to enjoy a complexly designed drink in one simple pour. Packaged in a genius flat box, these slip right through the letterbox, and you can choose between trying three, six or nine cocktails in each package. These would make a lovely surprise gift or can be stashed away in a drawer at home to be pulled out at a minute’s notice when you’re looking to impress. All the classics are present and correct to pick from, but there are also some more unusual serves on offer like the apple rum punch, a garden of Russia which combines vodka with elderflower and a brown gold which is made from bourbon, coffee and vanilla.
How much: From £19.50, for three serves
Buy it: niococktails.co.uk
Mr Black Espresso Martini Kit
Why: Bringing espresso martinis to your door is the team behind Mr Black, the coffee liqueur people. In this cocktail making kit you’ll receive a bottle of the liqueur, a bottle of Solo coffee concentrate and two jartini shaking jars. Giving you that rich, velvety serve in minutes, this set is perfect for keeping in your drinks cupboard for unexpected guests, or for when you fancy treating yourself to a drink or two post-work one evening. The kit will make around 11 cocktails.
How much: £39.99
Buy it: mrblack.co
The Cocktail Delivery Company
Why: For those looking for readymade cocktails with the depth of freshly muddled drinks at a bar, The Cocktail Delivery Company is perfect. With classic and house specials available, each of the cocktails mixed by the team are made to order using fresh juices and citrus, high-quality spirits and homemade syrups. The results are incredibly vibrant drinks that will give your favourite drinking den a run for its money. Signature serves include the ‘Fallen For You’ which combines cider brandy, bourbon, apple shrub and ginger cordial as well as regular seasonal specials. In addition to its premixed cocktails, The Cocktail Delivery Company also has a range of mocktails, should you fancy a little something special sans alcohol.
How much: From £12.49, for two serves
Buy it: thecocktaildeliverycompany.co.uk
Why: Drinking aficionados who are well versed in London’s cocktail scene may well recognise Bar Swift from many a round-up of the best places to enjoy a jar or two in the capital. This award-winning bar has started doing bottled cocktails, and aren’t we glad they have? Choose from classics like a Negroni, an Old Fashioned or a Martini, or go for a house special like the Woodstock which combines rich cognac with whisky, passionfruit and orange bitters. You can pick between two sizes depending on preference, and each drink is made fresh, so should be drunk within a week.
How much: From £15
Buy it: speakeasyathome.co.uk
Why: Now available at Waitrose, MOTH (which stands for Mix of Total Happiness) cocktails are a cut above anything else you’ll find on the supermarket shelves. We love the fresh flavours coupled with the long shelf life and think these would make the ideal thing to stash way in your fridge for an impromptu Friday night in or even to take with you on a picnic with friends. Mixes are clean and classic – think a Negroni, an Old Fashioned or an Espresso Martini – and come in serve-one sizes which means you won’t even be expected to share, ideal really.
How much: From £3.99 per can
Buy it: waitrose.com
Cocktails by Candlelight
Why: We love this sweet pairing of cocktails with candle making, the perfect gift to send to someone you haven’t seen in a while, or a lovely way to treat yourself for getting through another week. Each kit comes with a couple of cocktails – you can choose to have non-alcoholic ones if you prefer - and all the things you’ll need to make a candle of your choice in the jar the cocktail came in. For added bonus points, everything comes really beautifully presented too with individual elements nicely wrapped in pretty pink tissue.
How much: From £23.50, for a kit for one
Buy it: cocktailsbycandlelight.co.uk
Fancy enjoying a cocktail in a real life bar? These are the best cocktail bars in London