Review: 2020 Holiday Cocktail Kits from Cocktail Courier

Review: 2020 Holiday Cocktail Kits from Cocktail Courier

With the imminent demise of the pandemic on the horizon, gathering together in favorite establishments will hopefully return to a state of safe and normal sometime in 2021. Until then, there are plenty of options: pre-made cocktails to go from small businesses or chain stores, attempting to make them independently, or a delivery service bringing ingredients to your door. Those lacking the gusto to craft their own via recipe book (or websites offering their own recipes on a regular basis) will be pleased to meet the acquaintance of Cocktail Courier: a monthly subscription presentation at your door, with everything one could possibly need to make a successful cocktail with confidence and competence.

We received three limited edition holiday cocktail sets from the outfit, delivered in packaging best described as “abundantly sturdy,” with no breakage or seepage through its multiple layers. Each holiday kit arrived with its own ingredients (enough to make 2 to 6 cocktails depending on the price point) and a foolproof recipe card. The subscription models are fairly straightforward: $30 for the kit without alcohol and $50 with alcohol supplied, a quiz to help customize your experience and a dashboard to report feedback – a nice touch.

Our first festive cocktail kit was a rum-based variation on an old fashioned, using Zacapa 23 Centenario Rum, simple syrup, chocolate and aromatic bitters, grapefruit peel and chocolate shavings (you have to grate those yourself using a supplied chocolate bar). It delivered a perfect tropical respite from the winter season.

Our second cocktail box was a no-frills, straightforward martini using Ketel One vodka. Not exactly the stuff winning medals in a local mixology competition, but I am fairly certain that’s not the target market for which Cocktail Courier is aiming.

Our final box brought the most joy of them all: three variations on holiday spritzers using Ketel One Botanicals. A portion of the proceeds from this box will be donated to Ladies Who Launch: an organization dedicated to mentor and empower womxn-run startup businesses. The Cucumber & Spritz was a bit earthy and really didn’t fit the mood. However, the Grapefruit & Rose and Peach & Orange Blossom cocktails scored much higher marks, with quality garnishes and some nifty stemware included to boot.

The presentation and recipes could not have been more pleasing, nor the directions more straightforward. The question of value may oscillate depending your level of experience, as well as your familiarity with the supplied recipes and ingredients. Those looking for cocktail construction requiring calculus, molecular gastronomy, or Hollywood stunt work may find these sets on the mild side. However, drinkers wanting an easygoing approach to making great cocktails will find no fault for quality or quantity. Folks looking to deliver a tasteful holiday gift to a casual cocktail fan would be hard pressed to find a better drink-for-drink subscription series on the market.

B+ / $30-$50 per month /

Rob Theakston is a contributing editor to Drinkhacker.

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