I like having a well-constructed cocktail, but i usually only get as far as soda and liquor — as much as I love a simple Cuba Libre or Jack & Ginger, sometimes you need to go classy and classic — this subscription gives me the extras and guidance to make something really tasty. Shaker & Spoon Cocktail Club is a monthly subscription box that is a great way to discover new drinks. It gives you all the ingredients you need (except the booze itself) to make high-caliber mixed drinks. This is a really awesome idea for people that prefer to procure their own liquor, or live in a state where it cannot be shipped to them!
This month was the Agave Blanco Box, with cocktails that make the most of tequila blanco — it came with everything shown above, plus printed cards. I loved the thoroughness of this box — it included the syrups, bitters, citrus, spices and flavorings — aside from ice and the liquor itself, the box came with all the consumable ingredients. Shaker & Spoon sends a handy email to let you know what spirit will be needed for the box, along with a value and mid-range option. They recommended Espolon for the value option and Don Julio for the mid-range — their “value” options are really nice quality, brands I would consider mid-range and that would pass for top-shelf at any hole-in-the-wall bar, so I went with the Espolon. My decision was aided by the fact that our local liquor store only had a Don Julio Blanco in the $120 price range, versus the $25 Espolon.
A visual inventory of the box allows a quick assessment of the contents, though everything is labeled, too! This card was super-helpful, describing the techniques and measurements peculiar to mixology.
The card gives an inventory of the contents of the box and some information on the nature of the drink, as well as the recipes provided. A useful glossary card introduces the novice barman to the tools and terminology that will be used in the recipes.
Pictures of the drink when served in the recommended glassware. These recipes all were suited for a rocks glass, but typically the box will feature one recipe using a rocks glass, one suited for a highball, and one coupe-served recipe. We have a limited selection of glasses, so we use a rocks glass for most drinks, but the pony glasses (quarter-pint glasses) we received in our Craft Beer Club subscription box work well in place of a coupe.
The three tequila-based recipes, each described in detail with recipe and instructions. This set of recipes is very typical of what you’ll see in most Shaker&Spoon boxes — an original cocktail that speaks to the theme of the box, a very drinkable new classic, like a Buck, and a featured liquor-based formulation of an Old Fashioned.
The syrups and bitters provided with the kit. I love that the box usually has both staples you can use in tons of drinks (like simple syrup) and interesting flavors to experiment with (like mole bitters). Our box accidentally came with two mole bitters, omitting a hellfire tincture — we had one from a previous box, so it didn’t affect our drinks.
The perishables in the box — lemon, lime, and cucumber.
Here’s what we made:
The Burro Buck: Shaker&Spoon’s Bucks have become some of our favorites, and this was no exception. Lime and ginger provide a nicely balanced complement to the tequila, and the bit of ginger beer reduces the strength of the drink just enough to make it palatable to those who aren’t fans of martini-strength drinks. The Mexican spice syrup added some nice nuance without burying the beautiful flavor of the tequila.
Old Oaxaca: this version of the Old Fashioned is the strongest drink of the set. This drink has the same purist feel of a classic Old Fashioned, but traditional Mexican flavor notes take the place of the familiar Angostura.
Jefe Del Pepino: This spicy original packs a kick! Lime and cucumber add some balance, but the Tajin and chili pepper really make this drink. Surprisingly, the flavor of the tequila still shines through — this is both drinkable and a fun way to highlight the local flavors of Jalisco, the home of tequila!
I really appreciate that the recipes are built on a single, readily available liquor, and that all the syrups, bitters, and garnish are included. Shaker & Spoon Cocktail Club fills a void in the drink prep world, and they do a great job! This set of recipes was really tasty, but even when they fail to wow, I end up with the ingredients to create a dialed-back, more classic version and can experiment with the exotic elements elsewhere. I really look forward to this subscription every month.
Visit Shaker & Spoon Cocktail Club to subscribe or find out more! Save 10% off your first box with coupon code HELLO10.
The Description: Every month you’ll get a box with 3 recipes for 12 drinks (4 from each recipe) and everything you need to make them—syrups, bitters, garnishes, citrus—besides the alcohol. You’ll be exposed to new flavors and combinations, inspiring you to see your liquor cabinet in a whole new way. Subscribe today and be your own bartender before you know it.
The Price: $40.00 per month