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 full wrath of 2020 would look like, 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…
Crockers at home
Why: With hugely popular restaurants in both Henley and Tring, Crockers is already doing plenty right, but it has now chosen to add another string to its bow in the form of premixed cocktails. Offering a huge variety of different cocktails which can be bought either invidually (200ml or 500ml bottles) or as part of a set, every bottle is made following the same recipes used at the restaurants. The result is beautifully balanced cocktails, which come stylishly bottled. Classics on offer range from a traditional old fashioned to a cosmopolitan made with vanilla vodka for an added touch of class, while a special edition mojito from Mixologist Ryan Osnowski comes finished with mint and basil oil.
How much: From £12
Buy it: crockersathome.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
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
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: selfridges.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
Mac & Wild
Why: Having already mastered the restaurant scene, popular Scottish group Mac & Wild have now added bottled cocktail kits to their armoury and aren’t we glad they have? These are produced in Edinburgh, in small batches, using Scottish spirits and wild botanicals for drinks that really pack a punch in the flavour stakes. Most of the range can simply be poured over ice, or if you fancy being fancy the instructions detail how you can take things up a gear – with the addition of fresh lemon juice or a splash of bubbles, for instance. While there are all sorts of mixes to try, our favourite has to go to the Forth Bridge which combines the legendary Irn Bru with vodka for a sour-style serve.
How much: From £25
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
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: 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
Corbin & King Bottled Cocktails
Why: Corbin & King are the company behind some of London’s best-loved restaurants, including The Wolseley and The Delaunay. In short, this team are a dab hand at shaking up a pretty decent cocktail or two. Not only do these bottled cocktails taste great, they also help top up staff wages who are unable to work due to restrictions. Choose between classics like a Margarita or a Manhattan, or plump for something decidedly British with the English Rose which combines infused vodka with lemon, grapefruit and elderflower. There’s a minimum spend of £40, and the delivery range is currently within 8 miles of SW1W 8AX.
How much: From £15 for two serves
Buy it: Corbin & King Bottled Cocktails
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 cocktail shaker and some Allpress coffee concentrate, as well as caramel, gingerbread and rRoasted hazelnut Monin syrups to flavour your drinks with. 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.
How much: £65
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
MEDA ultimate party box
Why: There's no doubt that this is the most premium kit on our list, and has a hefty price tag to boot. However, MEDA's hefty box full of goodies features premixed cocktails as well as full-sized bottles of some top brands of spirits such as Grey Goose vodka and Harrogate rum, alongside a selection of fantastic mixers and garnishes too. This means that you have the ingredients for a number of different cocktails, and there's even the potential to come up with some conconctions of your own. If you're feeling lazy, there are also two bottles of wonderful premixed 'Medatini' espresso martini included in the box. To cap it all off, there are steel straws provided as well, to add that extra touch of class to your cocktails.
How much: £345
Buy it: medahuman.com
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