Bitters + Bottles Subscription Box Review – April 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 the final box of my subscription, Box 12.
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 with shipping included. They have since re-vamped their subscription, and the price listed above is for the new model, which includes more bottles and fancier cards than what I receive.)
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.
Keep Track of your subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
Every Bitters + Bottles box includes a note about the month’s theme and a selection of recipes.
This shipment’s theme is “The Last Word.” (Fitting, since this is the last box of my subscription.) The box contains two of Bitters + Bottles’ favorite spirits: Mescal and Chartreuse.
Peloton de la Muerte Mezcal (750 ml)- $35
Mezcal is definitely having a moment right now. I have a couple of friends who are big fans, but I’ve never actually tried it before! Like tequila, mezcal is made from agave, but it’s made in a different part of Mexico and has a distinct flavor profile. This mezcal is “lively [with] smoky aromas of char-roasted nuts and plantains and wood soap, with a creamy, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body.”
Chartreuse (375 ml)- $38.99 (on sale for $32.99)
This box was full of new discoveries! I’m familiar with Chartreuse, but I’m not sure I’ve ever had it before. I was intrigued to learn that it’s still made by Carthusian monks according to a centuries old recipe. The flavor is herbal with notes of honey.
Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters (8 oz.)- $8.49
According to Bitters + Bottles, chocolate bitters are a natural accompaniment for cocktails made with agave spirits, rums, whiskeys, or sweet vermouths. I love Aztec chocolate bars, so I can’t wait to try these bitters!
Bitters + Bottles includes five classic cocktail recipes with each shipment. This box’s cocktails are: The Last Word, Oaxaca Fashioned, Bijou, Diamondback, and La Palabra.
The La Palabra is a modern cocktail invention that’s made with mezcal, chartreuse, triple sec, and lime juice.
First of all, I have to point out the interesting- terrifying?- color of this cocktail. (It immediately brought back memories of the green elixir I used to drink in my youth- Ecto Cooler!) Since this is my first time trying both mezcal and Chartreuse, I had no idea what to expect from this drink, and the flavor was unlike anything I’ve ever had before. It was sweet, smoky, and tart. Frankly, it took me a couple of sips to decide if I actually liked it or not. While it didn’t immediately appeal to me, I couldn’t stop going back for “one more sip.” I’m not sure that I’ll rush to make this cocktail again, but it was certainly interesting!
The Verdict: This box marks the end of my year-long journey with Bitters + Bottles, and it’s been such an incredible subscription. Since my first box arrived a year ago, my home bar has become a thing of beauty. I’ve learned so much about classic cocktails, and my bartending skills have greatly improved. (Before subscribing to this box, my bartending skills pretty much tapped out with Gin & Tonics and Rum & Cokes!) The retail value of the items in this box totals approximately $83, which is one of the highest values I’ve seen 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 expensive. In addition to the actual products sent by Bitters + Bottles, I also think it’s important to acknowledge the intangible aspects of this box. Since I’ve tried to turn each box into the opportunity to learn new cocktails, I feel that this subscription has also been kind of a crash course in bartending. I can definitely recommend this subscription for cocktail-loving folk who are looking to learn something about mixology and are interested in seriously upgrading their home bar!
Do you love classic cocktails? Have you tried Bitters + Bottles?