Bitters + Bottles Subscription Box Review – September 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 5.
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 (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 shipment’s theme is “Tropic Thunder,” and the recipes spotlight classic rum cocktails.
Angostura Grand Anejo 7 Year Rum (750 ml)- $18.50
Bitters + Bottles points out that rum was consumed widely throughout Colonial America, and that “early Americans, per capita, were putting down 13 liters of rum per year.” That’s pretty incredible! I don’t often drink rum, but I really like it, so I’m excited to discover some new rum-based cocktails. They’ve opted to include dark and white rum in this box, and the dark rum has “vanilla and crème brulee on the nose with hints of honey and tropical fruit.” The flavors include “maple, vanilla, honey, and toffee.”
Diplomatico Blanco Rum (750 ml)- $28.50
Diplomatico Blanco Rum is a blend of rums up to six years old. “Buttered toast and milk chocolate on the nose becomes more vanill-y on the palate with a hint of coffee which leads to a long peppery finish.”
BG Reynolds Passionfruit Syrup (375 ml)- $9.50
Passionfruit syrup is featured in this month’s hurricane recipe, and I believe it’s also often featured in island cocktails. I did a quick search and found that this product gets excellent reviews, so I’m really excited to try it!
W&P Paper Straws– $9
Rum drinks beg to be sipped on the beach, and no beachy cocktail is complete with a fun accessory or garnish. I really like that Bitters + Bottles thought to include some fun straws to get the party started.
Bitters + Bottles includes five classic cocktail recipes with each shipment. This month’s recipes are: Hurricane, Queen’s Park Swizzle, Planter’s Punch, Daiquiri, and Jean Harlow.
I decided to make a Daiquiri and a Hurricane. Since I tend to associate rum drinks with the beach, I decided it was appropriate to taste and photograph these cocktails outside!
When I think of a Daiquiri, I must admit that I conjure up an image of a bright red, fruity, frozen drink. While I doubt they’d be fans of such a syrupy sugar bomb, Bitters + Bottles does point out that there is, in fact, historical precedent for an icy version of this classic drink. Still, since light rum is a delicate spirit, they don’t recommend serving it that way.
A true Daiquiri is made by shaking light rum, lime juice, and simple syrup over ice. It’s simple (and easy to make) and perfectly balanced.
I’ve had plenty of Hurricanes before (I lived in New Orleans for a spell, after all), but, considering the day-glo red color I’m used to seeing them, I’m not sure that I’ve ever had one made in the proper way.
According to Bitters + Bottles, a Hurricane is made with a combination of dark rum, light rum, lime juice, and passionfruit syrup and is finished with a maraschino cherry. I’m a big fan of the classic recipe, and I can point to one definite similarity between this version and the ones I’ve had on Bourbon Street- one drink is strong enough to leave me cross-eyed!
The Verdict: This is my fifth box from Bitters + Bottles, and my home bar is becoming a thing of beauty! I’m very impressed with the bottles I’ve received in my subscription, and I’m thrilled that my collection of recipes has grown to include some old and new favorites. The items in this box add up to about $65, 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 of this box is great and adds value for me. It’s important to mention, I think, that Bitters + Bottles recently reduced the cost of this subscription (to $85 per box from $95), which helps a bit with the value/cost gap. Despite the gap, however, I’m happy with this subscription. It’s encouraging me to learn about classic cocktails, and I’ve been having a great time polishing my home bartending skills!
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