Cocktails at home: the best mixes and kits to buy
Create your own cocktail bar at home with our list of the best premixed drinks and kits
Let someone else do all the heavy-lifting and get a Vintage Cocktail Club set delivered to your door
This summer, it is all about cocktails. Everyone seems to be a budding mixologist, creating their own extraordinary elixirs. But why make your own cocktails – do you have pickled rhubarb, vanilla butter, raspberry tea, dried strawberry to hand?
Instead, why not let someone else, preferably an expert, do all the heavy-lifting and deliver a cocktail to your door? A huge number of restaurants, cocktail bars and pubs now offer either click and collect or delivery. Many are available local only, others deliver nationwide.
While some restaurants and pubs reopened recently, all of those mentioned below intend to continue to offer their delivery service, with several expanding their offer.
Some cocktails come ready to drink and just need to be chilled or served with a block of ice; others arrive in an array of small bottles, ready to be mixed. Many include the appropriate garnish to give your cocktail the finishing touch.
I tried out a selection, most of which can be delivered nationwide, to find a few favourites. Most were classics or plays on classics – Margaritas, Old Fashioneds, Sidecars, Negronis, Wee Drams, but there is a reason they became so popular; in the right hands they are great cocktails. If you drink cocktails on a regular basis, it is worth investing in a jumbo ice tray, even if you avoid all the other cocktail paraphernalia.
If you would like to upskill your cocktail-making, Celtic Whiskey Shop has teamed up with Oisin Davis of Great Irish Beverages to offer a Cocktail Tour. Celtic send the ingredients (€42.50 including delivery, from celticwhiskeyshop.com) and you can then watch the expert on Zoom while making your own cocktail, or record it for later. I created my Daiquiri while watching Davis, and learned a huge amount about rum at the same time as creating two very palatable cocktails.
As well a 500ml bottle of your favourite VCC cocktail, Vintage Cocktail Club are offering a party pouch pack with either four or six cocktails. Both include a garnish, hand carved ice, two glasses, and a selection of house chips, nuts and olives. Delivery is promised within 30 minutes – but in Dublin only. The party pouch pack costs €55 for four and €85 for six, plus delivery. The 500ml bottle is €55 plus delivery. This is a great pack with nice glasses, good snacks, and great cocktails. The Hanky Panky (gin, sweet vermouth, Fernet Branca, orange bitters) was a star.
Teelings Whiskey and Asador Prado have combined to offer a very smart At Home Cocktail Kit (€49, asador.ie), featuring four different cocktails in 115ml or 150ml bottles. Handily, they tell you the abv% of each cocktail so you know what you are drinking. These were very good cocktails and I could certainly see myself ordering again. My favourite here was the Asador Old Fashioned.
I had great fun making my own mocktails with my TVM alcohol-free home delivery box from The Virgin Mary Bar, that contained no less than seven different drinks, including a bottle of Ceders Crisp Alt-gin. The TVM box costs €49, delivered nationwide.
Bar 1661 has a range of ready-made cocktails on its website (bar1661.ie) available for collection or delivery through celticwhiskey.com or stationtostationwine.ie. I tried out two – the Brother Hubbard (€45), named after their neighbour, the café of that name, and the very tasty Summer Negroni (€48).
Mexican bar and restaurant 777 is offering three of their most popular cocktails, the signature Margarita, Violencia Rojo and the Gin Baby. Smartly packaged with garnishes, these can be ordered from Dillingers via JustEat and Deliveroo, and also direct through their national delivery service. The price is €40 for a 75ml bottle of full-strength cocktail, the equivalent of five drinks.
Catch Events will deliver the Quarantini (€55), a box containing ingredients for four cocktails and the equipment to make them, or simply the ingredients (€35).
Stillgarden Distillery is a new independent community distillery based in Inchicore, supplied with botanicals grown by local people. Their gin, created by distiller Eanna Burke, is available online, as are three 500ml bottled cocktails – the Burdock Milk Punch, the Raspberry Soiree and The Bees Knees (all €30.50). The latter two still require the addition of cider and prosecco respectively. The Burdock Milk Punch was very good; fruity, herby and refreshing.
Old Street in Malahide has three cocktail boxes for collection or delivery (€32-€48, oldstreet.ie), Antisocial offer delivery (Dublin only, antisocial.ie) and The Twelve Hotel in Bearna, Galway (thetwelvehotel.ie) has a weekly cocktail and weekend special for collection or delivery nationwide, priced at €16-€17 for two people.
If you tire of cocktails, you could always try your hand at making gin. The Sling Shot Gin School At Home kit (€49 including delivery) from Lough Ree Distillery contains everything needed to blend a 350ml bottle of gin, enough for 10 G&Ts, along with various Irish botanical distillates.
Bar 1661 Summer Negroni
This is a cocktail I’ll be drinking this summer. I managed to persuade Dave Mulligan to disclose the ingredients and gave it a go, but to be honest it is much easier to have the bottle delivered to your door by either celticwhiskeyshop.com or stationtostation.ie for €48 per 70cl bottle, which will give you seven serves. It is great before dinner.
35ml Regal Rogue Red vermouth infused with peach liquor and raspberry tea. 20ml Glendalough gin
5ml Móinéir Irish raspberry wine
1 drop rose water
Stir the ingredients, and serve over ice garnished with fresh raspberries.