Cocktail Kits Can Help You Master Mixology at Home

Cocktails often seem best when crafted by a skilled mixologist and enjoyed at a bar—but that isn’t always true! You can enjoy a top-notch cocktail from the comfort of your own home, even if you have zero bar skills. Enter cocktail kits, pre-made by professionals with all the fixins you’ll need to do it yourself, from classics like the Manhtattan and Old Fashioned to original creations.

Right now, many bars are offering cocktail kits as a way to serve their patrons while social distancing. Sometimes these kits include every ingredient—mixers, garnish, and more—except the alcohol, allowing at-home bartenders to choose their own. Others include the bottle in their kit, such as Chicago’s Bar Biscay, which sells a Manhattan kit that comes with Evan Williams Bottled in Bond bourbon.

Even if you aren’t near a bar offering to-go cocktail kits, there are a slew of options you can order online (most of these require you to provide the alcohol yourself). Read on for more information, and then get to mixing!

PICK UP A COCKTAIL KIT FROM ONE OF THESE BARS

A bottle of Angostura bitters, a bottle of vermouth, and a bottle of Evan Williams Bottled in Bond bourbon sit next to cocktail tools.

The Manhattan kit from Bar Biscay includes everything you need to make multiple cocktails. (Photo by Bar Biscay)

Bar Biscay—Chicago
If you’re in the Chicago area, you can now pick up a cocktail kit or have one delivered from Bodega Biscay, the to-go outpost of Bar Biscay. The Manhattan kit ($57) includes a bottle of Evan Williams Bottled in Bond bourbon, a bottle of Angostura bitters, a bottle of vermouth, two lemons, and 12 cocktail cherries. And Whisky Advocate has full instructions on how to make a Manhattan.

Blossom Bar—Brookline, Mass.
Brookline’s Blossom Bar is teaching its patrons how to be their own bartender, providing everything they need to do so. The website has instructions on how to craft a cocktail via shaking, blending, and stirring, and Blossom is selling everything but the alcohol, including fancy bar ice, prepared garnishes, and custom mixers. The mixers are released on a rotating schedule; follow Blossom’s Instagram account to see when new ones are available.

Employees Only—Los Angeles
The Los Angeles location of this bar mini-chain is offering its cocktails as DIY kits ($12) for pick-up and delivery. The kits come with all the ingredients—including alcohol—so all you have to do is add ice and shake. Try the EO Old Fashioned, which comes with bitters, brown sugar, an orange, and bourbon, and The Billionaire, which includes the bar’s house-made grenadine and absinthe bitters, fresh lemon juice, and bourbon.

Machine: Engineered Dining and Drink—Chicago
This Chicago bar and restaurant is a launching curbside pick-up cocktail kit service that includes several items from its menu. The Caged Old Fashioned kit ($60) is 12 servings and includes a full bottle of High West rye, raw sugar, lemon oil, and two Angostura caramel cages that surround the drink and are meant to be smashed into it. For $19 extra, your order can include a pair of Coupe glasses and hammers. The new cocktail kits debut with Machine’s Easter menu, which is available for pick-up April 12, but will be available on an ongoing basis.

Seven Reasons—Washington, D.C.
This Washington, D.C. bar and restaurant is offering takeout and delivery, including cocktail kits. The Seven Reasons Old Fashioned ($12) is made with Monkey Shoulder blended malt scotch, Santa Teresa 1796 rum, amaro, and fig, packaged in batches that come with instructions on how to prepare the cocktail that can also be found on Seven Reasons’ Instagram account. Best of all, the venue’s sales have been so robust that it’s been able to re-hire laid-off staff, and it’s putting 2.5% of all sales into an employee wellness fund.

TenTen—Austin, Texas
This bar and restaurant is offering delivery and pick-up in the Austin area, with 100% of the profits on to-go orders supporting staff who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Several cocktail kits are for sale, including multiple recipes that can be made with the customer’s spirit of choice. The kits are available in an individual size for $12 and a six-serving size for $50.

AT-HOME COCKTAIL KITS YOU CAN ORDER ONLINE

DIY Bourbon Punch Cocktail Kit—$10
Punches are usually a large-format cocktail perfect for a party, but you can also enjoy a good punch on a smaller scale! This sugar plum-themed kit includes a bottle of spiced poached plum syrup, a bag of rooibos tea, and a whole nutmeg. You’ll need to provide one lemon and the alcohol—the recipe recommends Buffalo Trace bourbon and La Marca Prosecco.

Carry On Hot Toddy—$24
While this kit is designed to be enjoyed on a plane with its ginger syrup, cinnamon sticks, and lemon, you can also use it to make a warming Hot Toddy at home. The Hot Toddy is an extremely versatile cocktail, and you can choose whatever whisky you’d like for the base spirit. Our Essential Whisky Cocktail: Hot Toddy recipe suggests a blended Irish whiskey like Powers or Tullamore D.E.W. If you’re in need of extra comfort, throw in a pat of butter to create a Hot Buttered Toddy.

Manhattan Cocktail Box—$24
With vermouth, bitters, and two 50 ml bottles of Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon—plus a jigger—this kit has everything you need to create two Manhattans. If you want to elevate your drink by adding a garnish, try a cocktail cherry or orange peel.

4 Craft Cocktail Delivery Services

Spiced Old Fashioned 5 O’Clock Box—$30
If you’re getting bored with the old standard Old Fashioned, kick things up a notch with these supplies for a spicy variation. Three-chile simple syrup and chocolate bitters provide a balanced complexity for just about any whiskey you choose (we’d opt for a wheated bourbon, like Maker’s Mark). Instead of the usual orange peel, a dried mandarin orange slice adds more intense citrus character.

Cocktail Box of the Month—$40
Shots Box offers monthly subscription boxes of various craft spirits, and in 2020 launched a Cocktail Box of the Month. The first box in the rotating schedule is the Old Fashioned, and the kit consists of extracts and syrups, sugar cubes, garnishes, four 50-ml samples of Balcones Texas Rye, a measuring spoon, and a recipe card.

Rusty Nail—$76
The Rusty Nail is one of the simpler whisky cocktails, but if you don’t have everything on hand, then this kit has you covered. It includes a 375 ml bottle of Drambuie—the cocktail’s most essential ingredient—a 375 ml bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label, a bottle of bitters, and two lemons. The kit serves six, but if you don’t want to share with your roommates, that’s your business.

Boulevardier Cocktail Kit—$80
This kit is simple, just like the Boulevardier. It comes with full-size bottles of Campari, Contratto Rosso vermouth, and Four Roses Small Batch bourbon—enough to make many servings of the cocktail. If you have an orange on hand, put on a finishing touch with a twist for garnish.

Laddie Highball—$97
This kit is intended for use while watching Scotch: A Golden Dream, a documentary (currently on Prime Video and Hulu) that features Bruichladdich. It includes everything you need to make Highballs for twelve—a bottle of Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie, seven cans of Q Mixers club soda, and three lemons—plus movie snacks (popcorn and Whoppers) and a $3.99 gift card to Amazon.

Just Add Whiskey—$104
Can’t decide on just one cocktail kit? This one offers several mixers and ingredients to employ in multiple drinks: bitters, ginger beer syrup, smoky Sour mix, gingery Mule mix, and more, plus cocktail cherries and bourbon-smoked sugar. A couple of shatter-proof glasses are included as well. As the name suggests, this kit doesn’t come with whisky, so you can go with your favorite, or try out a few different ones until you find the perfect match.

More From Cocktails

A Collins glass containing what appears could be blended scotch, gin, ginger beer, and lime juice, garnished with a lime wedge, rests on a wooden surface next to a jigger, more lime, and another glass.
A Collins glass containing what appears could be blended scotch, gin, ginger beer, and lime juice, garnished with a lime wedge, rests on a wooden surface next to a jigger, more lime, and another glass.

Suffering Bastard

This summery cocktail, featuring blended scotch and navy strength gin, is well-balanced and easy to make.