We've had less than two tantalising weeks of dining and drinking back out in the real world, but London's continuing lockdown is sending us all back to our homes, thirsty and hungry for more.
We've been raiding our own cocktail recipe section for inspiration, but no matter how good our mixing skills we haven't quite been able to recreate the same vibe ourselves – but these home cocktail kits are raising the bar by bringing the drinks to our doors.
From how-to videos to paired snacks to playlists, these kits give you just about everything you need to recreate your favourite serves. Mix your own or get them pre-bottled – and they make pretty good gifts, too.
The only thing that's missing is the bartender… And we suppose you could train your significant other/child/pet, if you really wanted to.
And if you want to go the whole hog for a special night in, you could order one of these restaurant meal kits. Job done.
Home cocktail kits: 8 that deliver direct to your door
1. Nine Lives [pictured above]
Bermondsey's Nine Lives has long been one of our favourite haunts thanks to its tropical vibes and low/no waste approach to cocktailing. And even when it can't open its doors, it's managed to keep its status as totally brilliant, thanks to three cocktail kits: the Moby Dick, the Paloma, and the Nine Lives Ballers. These kits are about way more than the booze: you'll get bamboo straws emblazoned with the Nine Lives logo, the same incense that gets burned in the bar, a bag of popcorn and the bar's ultimate playlist. Just close your eyes and you could almost be there.
2. Rémy Martin 1738 Old Fashioned Kit
£39.99 for two people
The old fashioned is, in our humble opinion, one of the best cocktails out there. Drink it before dinner, after dinner, with dinner, in the morning – just ask Don Draper. And with Rémy Martin's kit, you can put your own twist on the classic, thanks to a variety of different syrups, bitters and garnishes. You even get two complimentary glasses so you'll look the part, and if you really want to take it to the next level, there'll be a virtual masterclass, so you can get your tekkers nailed.
3. Mr Black Paloma Negra kit
£45 for a kit that makes four paloma cocktails, with Mr Black's left over.
Move over margaritas: there's a new tequila-based cocktail in town and it is seriously fresh. The traditional paloma is a long drink made with tequila, grapefruit soda and a squeeze of lime, but Australian-made coffee liqueur Mr Black has put a tall, dark and handsome twist on the classic with its new Paloma Negra kits, which are bound to put some pep in your step. Did someone say "day drinking"?
4. Homeslice and Jameson JGL kit
£25 for two, plus cocktails
This cocktail kit comes with a full-blown pizza attached – which is definitely the kind of kit we can get on board with. Homeslice is now offering its pizzas for pickup and delivery for you to bake at home, complete with all the essential ingredients for a JGL cocktail (or a Jameson, ginger and lime to you and us). Worried about how you'll fit one of Homeslice's trademark 20-inch pizzas in your oven or your belly? It's downsized its pies to a slightly more manageable 12 inches. Choose from classic margherita; chorizo, corn and coriander; and 'nduja, tenderstem broccoli, fior di latte and chilli oil (you can also swap for vegan nduja if you're that way inclined); and three more of Homeslice's creative combos.
Available nationwide. homeslicepizza.co.uk
5. Swift At-Home Irish coffee kits
£55 for 16 serves
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Cocktails aren't just for the evening, you know. In fact, we say they're definitely for breakfast – especially when the cocktail involved is an Irish coffee. Go the whole hog and order yourself the bottle of Jameson – which makes 16 cocktails – sit down and buckle up for the ride. If you're after bottled cocktails, Swift is offering plenty of those, too – including their famous gin basil spritz and the pear collins.
6. Cointreau Margarita kit
The margarita is certainly one of the most iconic cocktails out there. That being said, we've spent many hours and sampled many recipes in our quest to achieve the perfect level of zingy lime acidity, and, to be honest, we usually get it wrong. So it's with a sigh of relief that we've found these Cointreau margarita kits that come with VIVIR Tequila, Cointreau, Maldon sea salt, plus all the gear you could possibly need. The only thing you need is limes, and loads of 'em. And possibly some tacos (and there are plenty of meal kits for that).
7. Chapel Down's English 75 kit
This cocktail recipe kit gives everything you need to make a distinctly English twist on the French 75, using a bottle of Kentish vineyard Chapel Down's brut as well as its own gin. And because you get a full bottles of the booze, you can make a whole host of cocktails. Go on, buy a bottle of Chapel Down's sparkling wine for Christmas while you’re at it.
8. The Original Pornstar Martini Kit, £24.99
The Pornstar Martini might bring to mind leopard print velvet cushions, oversized sunglasses and those big moustaches, but it still reigns supreme as the UK's most popular cocktail. Designed by its creator Douglas Ankrah as the kind of thing he imagined a pornstar might enjoy drinking, it’s packed with tropical fruits and vanilla and topped with champagne (strictly not prosecco). To drink it as it was meant to be made, get yourself one of Ankrah's Original Pornstar Martini kits – or for extra oomph, spring for the deluxe kit, with Grey Goose La Vanille Vodka, passion fruit syrup, Passoa and vanilla sugar.
Pre-bottled cocktail kits: 8 to sip
9. Tayer + Elementary's Off Licence, from £30
Tayer + Elementary shot to London food fame thanks to a killer combo of cocktails in the bar and Iberian pork sandos from resident kitchen TATA Eatery. The sandos aren’t making their way to people's homes just yet, but the cocktails – devised by Moncia Berg and Alex Kratena (previously of the Artesian) – thankfully have. The duo have managed to bottle some of their most popular serves, like the Palo Santo gimlet, sandalwood martini and bergamot margarita.
10. Hacha's Mirror Margarita, £35
There's not much we won’t do for a seriously good margarita, and Hacha's are regarded to be some of the best around. You can now get the bar's signature margarita delivered to your door – and the team has even gone one further by creating two new expressions of classic, one with kaffir lime and one with Himalayan pink salt. After more to wet your whistle? Try the luxury agave flights (featuring tequila, mezcal and sotol), which even comes with snacks.
11. Dishoom's Permit Room Collection, £38
It made a first foray into home delivery with the legendary bacon naan roll kits, now Dishoom has launched a bottled cocktail kit from its Permit Room. With the restaurant group's characteristic flair, the kit comes with three serves: the Permit Room old fashioned (Woodford Reserve bourbon and bay leaf reduction), Sonia's negroni (with Dishoom's own vermouth) and the India gimlet (London Dry gin and celery bitters). You might as well order a bacon naan roll while you're there...
12. Coupette's pre-bottled Apples Special Edition, £40 for 75cl
Sitting pretty at 23 in the World's 50 Best Bars List, Bethnal Green's Coupette is a pocket-sized venue whose compact space belies a large collection of specialist French spirits including calvados, the apple-based brandy. And you now have access to Coupette’s stocks at home, thanks to a pre-bottled version of its signature serve Apples Special Edition cocktail made with Avallen calvados and homemade carbonated apple juice. You can also order its other award-winning drinks, like the Grey Goose and cherry soda, or the special chocolate and red wine kit made in partnership with Flor de Caña.
13. Umbrella Project Quarantini Cocktail Kit, £30 for 480ml
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You might not have heard of the Umbrella Project, but if you're a regular barfly you've probably heard of both the Sun Tavern and Discount Suit Company, the Bethnal Green pub and Shoreditch speakeasy the group operates. And if you, like us, are missing proper cocktails made by proper bartenders, you can bring a slice of them to you with its Quarantini Cocktail Kits. Choose from eight classic cocktails – from the lip-smacking banana daiquiri made with Bacardi Añejo Cuatro to the sazerac made with Seven Tails brandy and rye, rob roy made with Dewars 12 scotch – and you'll get two generous bottles delivered to your door.
14. Black Lines Pear & White Tea Fizz at Shop Cuvée, £19 for 750ml
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Top Cuvée vowed to take on Amazon with its commerce arm Shop Cuvée, delivering deli items and booze during the pandemic – and let's say it's giving it a damn good go. You buy anything your hungry heart desires, and the selection of natty wine and bottled cocktails is particularly good. The online shop (and Highbury-based bricks-and-mortar store) have numbers from some of London’s best cocktail bars including Tayer + Elementary, Three Sheets, Mr Lyan and more, but we're currently loving the Black Lines Pear & White Tea Fizz. Spring in a bottle.
15. Nutshell Negroni, £18 for 250ml
Nutshell, an upscale Persian restaurant perched on St Martin's Lane in Covent Garden, was known for its refined ambience and sophisticated cooking: aubergine stewed with chickpeas pearl onions, and baba ganoush sprinkled with feta, crispy shallots, blackcurrants and walnuts are just a few of the dishes you can now only dream about. Sadly we still can’t soak up the elegant atmosphere, but you can enjoy the cooking of the restaurant's head chef Jeremy Borrow (ex-Palomar) at home – not to mention the utterly delicious drinks. Our eye's on the Nutshell negroni, a palate-awakening concoction of sour cherry wine, spiced Campari and saffron gin.
16. Mixology Events, from £100
As the company behind TT Liquor – the bar and liquor store on Kingsland Road that's a hub of all things cocktails – you'd expect it'd pull out all the stops for its at-home pivot. And that's exactly what Mixology Events has done, taking its celebrated cocktail classes online and giving the public the chance to learn how to make proper cocktails from scratch with the best of them. Simply book a voucher for a public class (or set up a private session for six or more people) and you'll be sent all the ingredients and walked through classic stirred and shaken drinks from the comfort of your lounge. There are even non-alcoholic cocktail classes continuing into the new year, too.
17. The World’s Loudest Whisky Tasting with Monkey Shoulder, from £15
11 April 2021
If you like your cocktails with a dash of music (and let's face it, drinking cocktails in silence would be a bit of a mood killer), you'll like this collab from whisky brand Monkey Shoulder and Speakeasy at Home, the at-home cocktail service from the teams behind Nightjar, Oriole and Swift. At 8pm on 11 April, you'll sup on a cocktail from each bar built around the blended scotch whisky, alongside an interactive tasting. Team members from all three venues will guide you through their drinks, and music will be supplied from London jazz and blues acts Joplin Parnell, Eric Ranzoni, and Aisha Khan & Her Rajahs – a fitting inclusion given Oriole and Nightjar's history with live music from local talent. If you can't make the 11th, Speakeasy at Home will be highlighting a Monkey Shoulder serve for the whole of the month.
Buy tickets at speakeasyathome.co.uk
18. Bruichladdich x Scarfes Bar The Earth Laddie cocktail, £34 for 300ml
Islay-based Bruichladdich are known across the whisky world for their commitment to a sustainable way of doing. things, so it figures they'd want to do something special to celebrate Earth Day, and the pique in interest it provides in that department. Enter the Earth Laddie cocktail, a limited-run bottled cocktail in partnership with the excellent Scarfes Bar at the Rosewood hotel in Holborn. Combining the brand's Classic Laddie with Fino Dos Palmas Sherry, it also makes use of ingredients from local markets that would otherwise have gone to waste, including fermented apples and parsnips. The result is a rich, complex serve that does a bit of good. You can't say fairer than that.