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 featured three great drinks using “Mezcal!” 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 ask high-end bartenders for advice on the brand of liquor to choose, so some suggestions may be craft or small batch, of limited availability in your area, or a little pricey for your taste. I loved the thoroughness of Shaker & Spoon – it includes all the syrups, bitters, and citrus needed to make the drinks. Some months even have peculiar stuff like herbs and jam.
The card gives an inventory of the contents of the box and some information on the history and characteristics of the featured liquor, as well as the recipes provided. This month’s liquor, Mezcal, is essential a rustic version of tequila – while the latter is made only from blue agave, Mezcal can be made from a variety of agave. Roasting the piña before fermentation gives it a smoky flavor. A useful glossary card introduces the novice barman to the tools and terminology that will be used in the recipes.
A visual inventory of the box allows a quick assessment of the contents, though everything is labeled, too! The glossary card is very helpful, describing the techniques and measurements peculiar to mixology.
Pictures of the drink when served in the recommended glassware. The glassware called for in this month’s collection of recipes was typical, as we had one recipe using a rocks glass, one suited for a highball, and one coupe-served recipe, but it changes each month depending on the booze and recipes concocted. We use a rocks glass for most drinks, and we usually use either the pony glasses (quarter-pint glasses) we received in our Craft Beer Club subscription in place of a coupe, or we go with a pint glass, Teku glass, or wine glass – whatever seems to work with the volume and style of drink.
Three Mezcal drink recipes, each described in detail with recipe and instructions. This set of recipes differs from what you’ll see in most Shaker&Spoon boxes. Traditionally, each box featured liquor-based formulation of an Old Fashioned, an original cocktail that speaks to the theme of the box, and a very drinkable remake of a classic, like a Collins, Martini, Boxcar, etc. The last few installments, however, have demonstrated a move to wholly original drinks designed to showcase the featured booze.
All of our non-booze ingredients!
Everything in my box! 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 the truly unique bitters in this box.
The kit usually includes a mixer and fresh citrus – this one had 4 limes, and a blood orange!
Critter Bitters Pure Cricket Tincture: This is a new product, and Shaker & Spoon subscribers got to try it before anyone else! Though it’s made using actual cricket “extract” (we won’t overthink that one), it’s not as gross as it sounds. A few drops add a nutty, toasty flavor to drinks.
La Luna Salt Chili Lime Sea Salt: Spiced salt from rimming your glass – lots was provided, so I reused for Margaritas!
Acid Phosphate: This secret ingredient boosts the sour flavor of drinks.
Scrappy’s Firewater Tincture: Super spicy! It’s recommended that it be dispensed by the drop rather than by the dash.
Mr. Davis’s Chocolate Syrup: Rich and not-too-sweet, with a less viscous consistency than Hershey’s syrup.
Q Club Soda: Salted club soda – the salt is more prominent than the baking soda-type taste.
Ancho-Jalapeno Agave Nectar: Smoky, with a bit of heat.
Celery Syrup: Distinctively celery flavored.
Guatemalan Poker Game: Chocolate syrup and club soda make this like a classic soda shop drink, with acid phosphate for added tang. The smoky mezcal makes it less dessert-like, using the chocolate similarly to mole to create a rich base for the drink. It was decent, but I wouldn’t order it at a bar.
The Red Devil 2.0: This was the best of the trio. The ancho/jalapeño syrup and the fiery tincture really added some heat! It felt a bit like a Margarita, but the blood orange and Mezcal made it more deep and rounded, and less tart and zingy, than the purely lime and tequila version.
The Oaxacan Trails: Celery syrup provides a green, aromatic base for a toasty dash of cricket bitters. A very strong drink, it didn’t alter the taste of the mezcal much. The cricket bitters were mild and completely non-offensive.
This was a just-alright set of drinks. The flavors were an homage to Old Mexico more than the seaside resort style drinks I expected for this liquor. They did provide a nice intro to the peculiarities of mezcal, as it does have a very different feel than tequila, much in the way Irish whiskey is distinct from Scotch.
I love the “just add liquor” concept of the subscription – as long as you have some basic bar equipment and a liquor store, you’re set. The featured liquor changes month to month, with some common and some exotic. Shaker & Spoon recommends a few brands (except when they feature one-offs like Campari), so you have a choice of mid-range or top-shelf. Shaker & Spoon Cocktail Club fills a void in the drink prep world, and they do a great job! I also love using the extra syrup, bitters, and garnish to make my own creations! I really look forward to this subscription every month.
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: $55.00 per month with shipping.