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Bitters + Bottles Subscription Box Review – May 2015

Bitters + Bottles Subscription Box Review - May 2015 - Box

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.

Bitters + Bottles Subscription Box Review - May 2015 - Inside

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.

Bitters + Bottles Subscription Box Review - May 2015 - Packing

My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

Bitters + Bottles Subscription Box Review - May 2015 - Contents

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 Subscription Box Review - May 2015 - Envelope

Bitters + Bottles includes a personalized kraft envelope- a nice touch, I think! Inside, I received a welcome letter, recipes, and information about bartools, garnishes, and glassware.

Bitters + Bottles Subscription Box Review - May 2015 - Info

For the first shipment, Bitters + Bottles gives the option of adding on a $55 starter set of bar tools. The only bar tool I have is a wine opener, so adding this to my order was a no brainer.

Bitters + Bottles Subscription Box Review - May 2015 - Tools

The starter set comes with a modern hawthorne strainer, modern 4×1 jigger, modern bar spoon, modern shaker, and a pint glass.

Bitters + Bottles Subscription Box Review - May 2015 - Buffalo

Buffalo Trace Bourbon Whiskey (750 ml)- $22.50

According to the Bitters + Bottles shop, “this bright amber Bourbon has a butterscotch aroma and oaky, relatively dry flavors that elongate into a nice caramel finish.” Buffalo Trace is a new brand to me, but my brother recently took a vacation to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and it turns out that Buffalo Trace was one of his favorite distilleries! According to some online research, it looks like Buffalo Trace is an excellent bourbon for a great price.

Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth (375 ml)- $18.99

Sweet vermouth can be consumed alone, as aperitivo or digestivo, or used in cocktails. Wine Enthusiast gives Carpano Antica a 95/100, which is an excellent rating. They describe it as being, “rich, complex and layered, boasting aromas of mint and other herbs, plums and figs, reminiscent of Madeira.”

Bitters + Bottles Subscription Box Review - May 2015 - Cherries

Angostura Bitters (4 oz)- $9.50

Bitters are concentrated, infused alcoholic mixtures that are used to add flavor to cocktails. They’re an essential part of any bar, and Angostura Bitters is probably the most common variety. While the exact recipe is secret (reportedly, only 5 people know the entire recipe), it’s known that Angostura Bitters is made with over 40 ingredients – including tropical herbs, plant extracts, and spices.

Fabbri Amarena Cherries in Syrup (4 oz)- $10.37

This is definitely an upgrade from the bright red maraschino cherries I can buy at the grocery store! This jar contains wild cherries preserved in syrup. They can be used in Manhattans (or as a topping for ice cream).

Bitters + Bottles Subscription Box Review - May 2015 - Bitters

Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6 (5 oz)- $9.99

Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6 is made with orange, spicy cinnamon, and clove. Reagans’ recommends using this blend to add a nice spice to a Manhattan or Old Fashioned.

Fever-Tree Ginger Ale (6.8 oz)- $1.57

I’m a big fan of Fever-Tree Tonic, so I was pleased to see their ginger ale included in this shipment. Apart from fresh citrus, Bitters + Bottles includes everything needed to make the month’s featured cocktails. This ginger ale is for the Horse’s Neck.

Bitters + Bottles Subscription Box Review - May 2015 - Recipes

Bitters + Bottles includes five classic drink recipes with each shipment. This month’s recipes are: Mint Julep, Horse’s Neck, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and Whisky Sour.

Bitters + Bottles Subscription Box Review - May 2015 - Prep

I decided to try making a Mint Julep, a Horse’s Neck, and a Whisky Sour.

Mint Julep

Bitters + Bottles Subscription Box Review - May 2015 - Julep

I’ve never made a mint julep before, and I was surprised to find the recipe is incredibly simple! You start out by muddling some mint in a glass with a little simple syrup and then add crushed ice, bourbon, and a bit more simple syrup. This cocktail is a little sweeter than I usually go for, but I think it’s great. The muddled mint adds a delicious freshness- perfect for a hot day!

Horse’s Neck

Bitters + Bottles Subscription Box Review - May 2015 - Neck

I was unfamiliar with the Horse’s Neck cocktail before receiving this box, but I’ll definitely be making it again. It’s a mix of whisky, bitters, and ginger ale and is garnished with a lemon spiral.

Whisky Sour

Bitters + Bottles Subscription Box Review - May 2015 - Sour

I don’t think I’ve had a Whisky Sour since my college days, and I’m pretty sure those were made with syrupy, bottled sour mix. A true Whisky Sour, I discovered, is a combination of bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup. This is a fantastic drink. It’s sweet, tart, strong, and was our crowd favorite.

The Verdict: I’m really blown away by my first box from Bitters + Bottles. I had so much fun trying out some classic cocktail recipes, 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. I’m really excited that, over time, we’ll have a fully stocked bar and a solid collection of drink recipes at our disposal. (I’m planning to laminate all of the recipe cards Bitters + Bottles sends to keep in our mini bar.) I didn’t pay much attention to which glasses I was using for each cocktail this month, but next month I’m going to try and make sure I make the cocktails in the proper glasses so we get the full experience. As for value, the cost of the ingredients totals approximately $75. While this doesn’t meet the cost of the box, I’m still happy with the value. If you love classic cocktails and are looking to seriously upgrade your home bar, I would definitely recommend Bitters + Bottles!

What do you think of Bitters + Bottles?

Written by Lindsey Morse

Lindsey Morse

Lindsey is a professional baker, cold brew coffee addict, and rosé aficionado who loves writing about food and wine. When she’s not sharing her love of subscription boxes with the world, you’ll find her in the podcasting studio, perfecting her cake decorating techniques, or cursing her way through the New York Times daily crossword puzzle.

Posted in Bitters and Bottles Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews| 10 comments

Comments (10)

  1. Have you continued your subscription service? Will you review every third or 6th box to gauge consistency since the model is based on a 12 month plan to become a cocktail guru?

  2. I’m so sad, I have several friends who would love this subscription but I live in PA. Darn our liquor laws.

  3. Buffalo Trace is awesome!!!!!!!!!! I toured the distillery not too long ago and definitely recommend it. One thing to know about buffalo trace is that it is haunted, and they offer ghost tours after dark! Really cool place, and it’s very fitting that they sent a recipe for mint juleps, very Kentucky! <3 another easy drink to make with bourbon is with orange garnish and ginger ale, not as sweet as a mint julep but still delicious!

  4. Antics Formula vermouth is the best! I use that and Punt e Mas vermouth at home. I don’t know that bourbon, but for Manhattans at home we use Whistle Pig. Frei Brothers is another great bitters, but Angostura is easy to find. It looks like a great box, but I already have a well stocked bar.

  5. What a great idea to stock your bar and learn new drink recipes over a year — I like how this sub is put together!

  6. This looks awesome!

  7. I love this box and the whole idea of it but $95 a month is a bit steep! I would definitely consider subscribing if they had an option to receive boxes bimonthly. I see they have a pause feature which is very cool but I’m sure I’d forget to pause!

  8. I am so tempted to get this. Looks amazing!

  9. That box looks amazing! I love Angostura Bitters. I’m an East coast girl living on the West coast, and I can’t get Moxie soda out here. Root beer + Angostura Bitters is a really good approximation of it.

  10. The name is too cute!

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