Bitters + Bottles Subscription Box Review – January 2016
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 9.
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 Box: Bitters + Bottles
The Cost: $85 per month + $23 shipping (Note that when I signed up for Bitters + Bottles, the price was $95 per month, shipping included. They have since re-vamped their subscription, and the price listed above is for the new model. Bitters + Bottles got in touch with me this month to talk about some of the changes they’ve made, and you can read about them at the bottom of this review.)
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 “Cherry Cocchi.” The letter talks about how, even though they’re a distinctly American invention, cocktails incorporate spirits from all over the world. This box spotlights Cherry Heering and Cocchi Americano, two spirits from overseas.
Heering Cherry Liqueur (750ml)- $34.99 (on sale for $30.99)
Heering’s Cherry Liqueur was first produced in 1818, and the unique flavor comes from the use of real crushed Danish cherries, a proprietary blend of spices, and five years of aging in neutral spirits.
Cocchi Americano Aperitif (750 ml)- $24.99 (on sale for $19.99)
Cocchi (pronounced “coke-y”) Americano is an Italian aperitif made with white wine and herbs and spices (including Artemisia flowers, gentian roots, and peels of bitter orange). Italians drink it over ice, but it’s also used in a number of cocktails.
Old Grand-Dad Bourbon (750 ml)- $20.99
Rounding out this box is an American whiskey- the third bottle of such sent by Bitters + Bottles. This one has a high rye content, which provides power and spice. They recommend making your favorite cocktail with all three, to see which one you prefer.
Bitters + Bottles includes five classic cocktail recipes with each shipment. This box’s cocktails are: Singapore Sling, Corpse Reviver, Vesper, Blood and Sand, and Remember the Maine.
Corpse Reviver #2
The Corpse Reviver #2 falls into the category of “restoratives,” a class of cocktails intended to provide a little hair of the dog after a night of overindulgence. It’s made with gin, triple sec, cocchi Americano, lemon juice, absinthe, and lemon peel. Bitters + Bottles calls the #2 “a standout from the pack [of restoratives], well balanced and refreshing, with loads of complexity and flavor.”
I’m a big fan of this cocktail! It’s delightfully complex, and I really love the curious mix of flavors.
The Singapore Sling is a cocktail I’ve heard of many times, but I don’t think I’ve ever had one before. It’s made with gin, Cherry Heering, Benedictine, lime juice, and club soda.
I really enjoyed this cocktail, too. The subtle cherry flavor is delicious, and I love the color!
Bitters + Bottles recently changed their pricing structure, and they reached out to me this month to talk about these changes. A couple of months ago, their pricing changed from $95 (shipping included) to $85 per month + $23 shipping. This new price accompanies a revamped subscription with “more bottles and fancier cards.”
Since I signed up with the original price, I’m on the “pioneering subscription.” If you sign up today, you will embark on the new subscription track.
Bitters + Bottles included some examples of their new printed materials in my box this month, to help give MSA readers a glimpse of how the subscription has changed.
I can definitely see an improvement. The new cards look more professional. They also have a matte coating that feels like it’s water resistant. (The cards I receive in my subscription are paper, and I like to laminate them to make sure they’re safe from drips and spills.) In addition to the new cards, Bitters + Bottles also mentioned in their email to me that the new boxes would include “more bottles.” I don’t have any specifics about this part of the change, but, hey, more bottles is definitely a good thing, in my opinion!
Verdict: I’m now 3/4 of the way through my subscription to Bitters + Bottles, and my home bar has become very impressive! When I started out, it was filled with a few bottles of things I’d picked up here or there, but I lacked the ingredients to make more than one or two different cocktails. I love that now, thanks to this subscription, I have the ingredients, tools, and knowledge to make a number of different classic cocktails. The retail value of the items in this box totals $81, which is one of the highest values I’ve seen in a box from Bitters + Bottles. While I typically like to see the value of included items meet the cost of the box, I do think it’s important to keep in mind that shipping full-sized bottles of alcohol is likely very expensive. I also really appreciate the educational aspect of this box, and, for me, there’s a good bit of intangible value there.
I’m also pleased to see that Bitters + Bottles is kicking their subscription up a notch with new printed materials and more bottles. I suppose my only complaint is that I would have appreciated an email from them at the time of the launch describing the changes and, perhaps, the option to upgrade to the new subscription model.
Do you love classic cocktails? Have you tried Bitters + Bottles?