Bitters + Bottles Subscription Box Review – November 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 7.
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: $85 per month + $23 shipping
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!
Every Bitters + Bottles box includes a note about the month’s theme and a selection of recipes.
This shipment’s theme is “Kings of the North,” and the recipes spotlight classic whiskey cocktails.
Famous Black Grouse Blended Scotch (750 ml.)- $26.50
The first spirit featured in this box is Famous Black Grouse Blended Scotch. The black label is peatier than the standard version and has “butterscotch and vanilla flavors.”
Bushmill’s Irish Whiskey (750 ml.)- $22.50
Bushmill’s Irish Whiskey is the second bottle in this box. It has “delicate aromas of green vegetables, carnations, and grain mash; further air contact brings up slightly sour notes of damp soil.”
Small Hand Orgeat (8.5 oz.)- $13.50
I wasn’t familiar with orgeat (pronounced or-zhat) before receiving it in this box. It’s a shelf-stable French almond syrup that’s made from almonds and orange flower water. It’s used in a number of different cocktails (most notably the Mai Tai), but it can also be mixed with sparkling water to make a refreshing, non-alcoholic beverage.
Bitters + Bottles includes five classic cocktail recipes with each shipment. This box’s cocktails are: Mai Tai, Hot Toddy, Bobby Burns, Cameron’s Kick, and Rob Roy. After looking over all of the recipes, I decided to make a Bobby Burns!
A Bobby Burns is made with Scotch, sweet vermouth, and Benedictine and garnished with a lemon peel. To make it, I stirred the first three ingredients in a glass with ice until chilled and then strained the drink into a cocktail glass and added the twist of lemon.
I really like Scotch, but I often enjoy it as a sipping liquor and rarely use it to make cocktails. This drink, made with Black Grouse, is good enough to make me want to change that! The peaty flavors of the Scotch give the cocktail a nice smokiness, and the Benedictine adds a touch of sweetness. I think Scotch is particularly well suited for wintertime drinking (it’s such a warm, cozy spirit!), and this cocktail might very well become my new go-to winter drink!
While visiting the Bitters + Bottles site to research the bottles for this review, I noticed that they recently released a few Travel Size Alcohol+ kits. The kits are TSA friendly and contain everything you need to make two in-air cocktails (including an instructional coaster). Kits range in price from $19- $22 and come in the following cocktail flavors: Spiced Mint Julep, Turkey Derby, Luau Daiquiri, White Russian, Inner Oasis, Jalapeño Margarita, and French Lemonade. The kits are so cute! I think I might pick up a few to give as gifts this holiday season.
The Verdict: This is my seventh box from Bitters + Bottles, and my home bar is becoming very impressive! Since my first box, I’ve learned a number of classic cocktail recipes, and it’s exciting that I can now offer my friends more than just a glass of wine or a gin and tonic (my pre-Bitters + Bottles mixed drink of choice). The items in this box add up to about $63, which is within the range I’ve come to expect. I’d like to see the ingredients meet the cost of the box, but the curation is great and adds value for me. It’s important to mention, I think, that Bitters + Bottles recently changed the cost of the subscription. It used to be $95 with free shipping and is now $85 plus $23 shipping, but I’m still being charged $95. (Perhaps I’m grandfathered in since my subscription began before the change?) I reached out to Bitters & Bottles for clarification on this issue, but I did not receive a reply. Personally, I’m satisfied paying $95 for this box, but I think $108 is a bit pricey. I understand that shipping alcohol is expensive, but I have trouble justifying any box that nears a 2:1 cost to value ratio.
Do you like bartending at home? Have you tried Bitters + Bottles?