Cocktail Subscription Boxes: Everything You Might Need to Know

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These days, with bartenders creating quality drinks even in the diviest of bars in every corner of country, we thought it couldn’t get any easier to have a great cocktail. We were wrong. Now you can have great cocktails right in the comfort of your own home—without ever leaving.

The world of subscription boxes has brought everything from razors, coffee and toothbrushes to diapers and practically everything else under the sun to people’s doors, and alcohol has taken the leap as well.

The market for cocktail subscription services has grown, as has the diversity of options. Not sure which one is for you? We sampled a few boxes and compiled the all deets for you.

One thing to note: For all of the boxes, you’ll need some essential tools. If you’re committed to not leaving the house, Amazon is your friend.

Bitters + Bottles

Not just a small craft spirits store in South San Francisco, Bitters + Bottles has a pretty awesome cocktail subscription service. With a goal of helping you build a complete, cohesive home bar, B+B sends you four to six full-size bottles every month for a full year for $85 per month. (Don’t worry, you can pause or cancel anytime.) The service builds on each delivery, so no bottle is sent to the same person twice. Accompanying the booze are cocktail formulas and recipe cards with instructions, as well as tips and tricks for making the cocktails—all in a box that’s beautifully designed to boot.

This is the box for you if: You’re a budding cocktail enthusiast starting from scratch. If you stick it out for the entire year, you’ll essentially have everything needed to make virtually any cocktail, and the instructions inside will make you a cocktail-slinging pro. The boxes come with everything from spirits and mixers to bitters and maraschino cherries. While $85 is a pretty penny to spend every month, it may be worth it if the only thing you’ll need to head out for is a lemon or two.

SaloonBox

Tired of drinking the same ol’ cocktails all the time? SaloonBox offers enough ingredients to make four cocktails made by top mixologists all over the country for $37.50 per month (not including shipping and taxes). Armed with mini bottles, mixers and everything else you may need (except citrus, but you have that already, right?), all you have to do is open the box and read the ingredients, and you’ll have a delicious and unique cocktail in minutes. Like it? Make another one! You can make two of each.

This is the box for you if: You like mixing drinks but you don’t need or necessarily want to build a huge bar. This is the box for the casual drinker who loves to try new things. And where else can you get four cocktails less than $40?

Flaviar

Let’s get one thing straight: Flaviar is not a monthly cocktail subscription service. There are no mixers, limes and bitters in these boxes. Flaviar is a service that ships rare and exclusive spirits to your door. As stated on its website, this is a service for explorers. Also, Flaviar doesn’t automatically ship every month. Once you become a member (a $60 fee per quarter), you have the option to pick one of the themed tasting boxes (containing three to five two-ounce bottles, with boxes ranging from $40 to $60 and the Cocktail 101 box at $75) or have dealer’s choice. The box comes with tasting notes, tasting tips and everything you need to know to experience the best of each spirit. If you enjoy one of them, you can buy it right off Flaviar’s website—a one-stop shop.

This is the box for you if: You have a lot of snifter glasses you love to use. If you enjoy exclusive high-end spirits, it’s a no-brainer.

Crafted Taste

Can’t find those super exclusive bitters filled with distilled unicorn tears? Chances are they might come in a box from Crafted Taste. This subscription service prides itself on sending small-batch syrups, unheard-of bitters and new cocktail recipes to your door every month in a well-designed box. You can choose from $200 premium, $130 standard or $65 mixers-only boxes and get foolproof instructions that tell you exactly what to expect and how to make the featured cocktail. Also in the package are ideas for food pairings, other cocktails to make with your full-size bottles and maybe a little something special. This box is just fun.

This is the box for you if: You’re beyond the basics. You’re more likely to get a bottle of premium small-batch persimmon bitters than a bottle of Angostura. Crafted Taste provides ingredients that look like they belong in a fancy cocktail bar instead of your living room. And with cocktail napkins and food pairings included, your menu is already ready for planning your next party.

Shaker & Spoon

Does the thought of another bottle of liquor in your house give you claustrophobia? Shaker & Spoon is the only box on our list that doesn’t supply alcohol in its shipments. Instead of sending booze, this box comes with new and rare ingredients to make creative cocktails with the spirits you have in your own collection. The boxes cost $50 per month with the option to prepay three months to a year in advance. Inside is enough ammo for 12 cocktails, three cocktail recipe cards and two other cards with information, tips and techniques.

This is the box for you if: You already have a large liquor collection and want to play with cocktails, or if you don’t want a liquor collection but still want to play with cocktails, because each box only requires one type of spirit to be on hand. Shaker & Spoon delivers mixers, bitters and other goodies for creating an array of delicious cocktails with flavors you may not have tried otherwise.

Thirty3Club

As one of the newest services on the block, Thirty3Club has a some huge shoes to fill, and luckily it’s doing a good job so far. At first glance, Thirty3Club looks like a lot of the other boxes on this list. The box includes enough ingredients for four cocktails, there’s the option of getting a booze-free “prohibition” box for half the price ($15 as opposed to the standard $30 “speakeasy” box). However, once you dive in, you’ll find reading material ranging from historical facts, tips and tricks, videos on technique and information about where all of your produce is coming from. It’s almost like having David Wondrich in a box.

This is the box for you if: You need a one-stop shop for all of your cocktail needs. Thirty3Club also has an online store for buying cocktail tools and glassware that you can add to your delivery. At $30, this box is great for those who don’t want to break the bank while getting their cocktail on. For those of you who don’t like the mini bottles, Thirty3Club is developing a new box with full-size bottles at $119.

Cocktail Courier

image: Erick Leinberg

Cocktail Courier is one of the oldest and most popular cocktail subscription services on the market. As opposed to boxes that come with a theme every month, this one is personalized to the subscriber by spirit preference. Once you’ve decided on the types of spirits you like, Cocktail Courier works with bartenders across the country to deliver unique cocktail recipes to your front door. In the box, there are plenty of ingredients for four to 10 cocktails, including garnishes, as well as information about the recipes and the bartender(s) who created them. You have the choice to order multiple boxes at once, as well as decide on the frequency, because who doesn’t want to have a new cocktail at their door every week instead of once a month?

This is the box for you if: Well, to be honest, this is the box for everyone. All of the drinks are simple enough to make for a beginner but have ingredients that can intrigue a more experienced mixologist. The flexibility of delivery makes the customer king, and with such generous portions, you can build a liquor collection. If you get a second box, you can switch up ingredients and easily make something new to brag to your friends about.

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