Bitters + Bottles Subscription Box Review – July 2015
Bitters + Bottles is a monthly subscription box that helps you build your home bar and learn how to use it.
Every month, they send full-sized spirits, mixers, and recipes to help you create classic cocktails at home. Each box builds on previous shipments, adding new bottles to your bar and new recipes to your collection.
Unlike many ongoing subscriptions, Bitters + Bottles consists of 12 shipments. So after a year of subscribing, you’ll have a fully stocked bar and an arsenal of classic cocktail recipes. If you sign up for a subscription, you will begin with Box 1. This is a review of Box 3.
At the start of the subscription, Bitters + Bottles provides the option to add a set of bar tools for $55. To see what’s included in this set check out my first Bitters + Bottles review.
My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription: Bitters + Bottles
The Cost: $95 per month (shipping is free).
The Products: 3-6 bottled ingredients plus the recipes to create classic cocktails at home.
Ships to: The following US states: CA, CO, DC, ID, IL, MO, NJ, NM, NY, and WA.
Looking for other boozy boxes? Check out the Drink Subscription Box Directory!
Bitters + Bottles includes a personalized kraft envelope- a nice touch, I think! Inside, I received a note about this month’s shipment and a new collection of recipes.
This box’s theme is “Evil Under the Sun.” Inspiration for this box comes from the 1982 film of the same name, which stars Maggie Smith as the host of a 1930’s cocktail party held an exclusive resort on the Adriatic Sea. Three of this box’s featured cocktails are served in the film.
Benedictine Liqueur (375 ml)- $17.50
I’ve bought Benedictine a few times before because it’s used in my favorite Thanksgiving cocktail, but I didn’t really know anything about it before this box! It turns out that Benedictine is an herbal liquor that’s made with 27 different plants and spices. It dates back over 500 years to when it was used as a secret elixir by monk Dom Bernardo Vincelli in 1510.
(Note: I’ve taken pricing info from the Bitters + Bottles website, however I have a bottle of Benedictine in my cabinet that still has its $22.95 price tag attached.)
Camus Elegance VS Cognac (750 ml)- $33.50
I also know very little about Cognac, and it’s not a spirit I usually keep stocked in my bar. I was intrigued to learn that, along with gin and whisky, it’s one of the most common bases for classic cocktails. According to Bitters + Bottles, Camus Cognac is “honeyed, dry and luscious” and “displays delicious flavors, including honey, vanilla bean, pork sausage, cinnamon and nutmeg.”
Combier D’Orange Liqueur (375 ml)- $16.50
Cointreau has always been my go-to Triple Sec (for no reason other than habit), so I’m glad to see that Bitters + Bottles has included a brand that’s new to me. Combier is similar to Cointreau (both are distilled from sugar beets), but Combier claims to be the first Triple Sec ever made. It dates back to 1834, where it was made in France from Haitian orange peels.
Bitters + Bottles includes five classic cocktail recipes with each shipment. This month’s recipes are: Sidecar, Harvard, Pegu Club, Between the Sheets #2, and Mainbrace.
I decided to try making a Between the Sheets # 2 and a Pegu Club.
Between the Sheets # 2
(Note that the alternate recipe for this drink, Between the Sheets #1, is made with rum instead of Benedictine.)
A Between the Sheets is a cocktail that I’ve heard of before, but one that I don’t think I’ve ever tried. It’s made with cognac, Benedictine, triple sec, lemon juice, and an orange peel garnish. According to the recipe card, the drink’s name was quite risqué back in the 1930’s, though it’s rather tame by today’s standards of innuendo. I like this drink quite a lot. The citrus notes blend beautifully with the earthier flavors of the cognac, and the twist of orange is so pretty! I suppose it’s a long shot, but I wonder if this drink helped coin the phrase “three sheets to the wind”?
The Pegu Club is a drink I’ve never heard of before. According to the recipe card, it’s a cocktail that was developed in British Colonial Burma, at a Victorian gentleman’s club situated on the banks of the Pegu River. I found this 1910’s postcard of the club, thanks to Wikipedia:
The drink was so popular that it quickly spread around the world, and, tasting it, I can certainly see why! I love the complexity of the bitters with the dry gin and citrusy triple sec. The lime juice adds a refreshing edge, and I’m sure this drink was a welcome cooler for the suited Brits who frequented the Burmese club.
The Verdict: This is my third box from Bitters + Bottles, and, so far, I’m really enjoying my subscription! It’s so much fun trying out classic cocktail recipes at home, and I’m very impressed by the curation of ingredients and recipes. My husband and I love cocktails, but we usually lack the creativity and supplies to make them at home. Even after only three months, our bar is looking fairly well stocked and we’ve built up a good number of recipes! (I’m also thrilled that we’re learning how to make cocktails- we had friends over recently for a cocktail night and it was fun to show off our new skills!) As for value, the cost of the ingredients in this box totals $67.50. While that doesn’t meet the cost of the box, the value is still there for me. If you love classic cocktails and are looking to seriously upgrade your home bar, I would recommend Bitters + Bottles.
What do you think of Bitters + Bottles?