Subscription boxes are nothing new- chances are you’ve tried at least one, whether it be food, books, plants, or dog treats. But Shaker and Spoon is a subscription service offering something you might not have considered getting delivered to you monthly: cocktail kits.
Each Shaker and Spoon subscription box includes the recipes for three different cocktails, and the ingredients for 12 cocktails total.
The only ingredient the box doesn’t supply is the alcohol, mainly due to shipping difficulties depending on the state.
Luckily each box is designed for one specific kind of alcohol (for instance, a whiskey themed box where each cocktail features whiskey), so you won’t have to be buying more than one bottle each month just to complete the cocktails.
If you enjoy cocktails and you make a lot of them, the Shaker and Spoon subscription box might have caught your eye by now. But is it actually worth the monthly fee?
The following review will break down every aspect of this service, to help you decide whether this’ll be the subscription box for you.
What’s Included In A Shaker And Spoon Box?
Included in each box of Shaker and Spoon is all the ingredients required to create 12 craft cocktails (see also: What Is a Craft Cocktail?)(all except the alcohol, that is), a written summary of the cocktails and an inventory card so you know you’ve got everything, a glossary card explaining all the relevant terminology, techniques, glassware, and barware, and three recipe cards.
You’ll have the ingredients to make four of each cocktail.
Outside of the box itself, Shaker and Spoon also have a Facebook group for discussion and sharing photos of that month’s cocktails, and to share other recipes that you love.
They make a curated playlist on Spotify every month that goes with each box, they recommend the brands of liquor they recommend prior to sending out each box, and they also post YouTube videos for each recipe.
For all that’s included, the prices of the Shaker and Spoon boxes tend to work out as far less than you’d be paying in most bars or restaurants- and these cocktails are certainly of the same quality, if not higher.
As for what’s not included, there’s some barware and glassware that we recommend acquiring to make the most of your Shaker and Spoon cocktails.
None of the items are mandatory to make the drinks, but they’ll add to the overall experience.
For barware, we recommend a drink muddler, a cocktail mixing glass, a mesh cocktail strainer, a large or extra large ice cube tray, and a bar spoon of about 12 inches.
In terms of glassware, we recommend acquiring seven ounce coupe glasses, old fashioned glasses, and Collins glasses.
Overall, the cocktail recipes that Shaker and Spoon have to offer are original and creative, each with distinctive flavors.
We’ll break down some of the most popular cocktails that have featured in the boxes shortly, but first- how difficult are they to actually make?
Do you need to be a fully fledged bartender in order to make the most of this service? Not quite, but for the majority of the cocktails you’ll usually have to have an intermediate skill set.
The cocktails tend to require a fair amount of bar tools, as well as a working knowledge of a lot of techniques and terminology.
Don’t be afraid to give these a go if you’re a novice- there’s detailed guides that break down every step, and a quick Google should set you straight if you find yourself overwhelmed.
Shaker and Spoon comes most recommended, though, for cocktail enthusiasts who want to branch out.
So what kind of cocktail recipes do they actually offer? The following are some of the most notable recipes featured in the last few boxes of 2021, to give you an idea of what you can expect when you subscribe.
December 2021 Box
The theme for Shaker and Spoon’s December 2021 box was ‘Jolly For Gin Punch’. The kits included were the Winter Sun cocktail created by Robert Sickler, The Grand Gimlet cocktail created by Greg Mayer, and the Ringo Bender Punch cocktail created by Christian ‘Suzu’ Suzuki-Orellana.
The first cocktail, Winter Sun, would suit both the autumn months and the spring months.
The box came with the lemon-lavender syrup, the hibiscus-pomegranate soda, and the blood orange-ginger bitters.
The second cocktail, The Grand Gimlet, featured orange spritz syrup, fresh lime, apricot and rosemary, dry sparkling wine, and cinnamon sticks.
Finally there was the Ringo Bender Punch, which had cordial and cider vinegar, honey, and Japanese spices.
November 2021 Box
For the November 2021 box of Shaker and Spoon, the theme was ‘Fruits of Fall: American Apple Brandy Box’.
The recipes included were the Pear Necessities cocktail created by Haley Traub, the Rougeoisie cocktail created by Leah Moss, and the Wolfe & Wehr cocktail created by Jason Kilgore.
The first cocktail, Pear Necessities, included apple cider vinegar, ginger beer, and flavors of pear and vanilla. The second cocktail, the Rougeoisie, featured a grenadine enriched with cranberries, aromatic bitters, apple brandy, lime, and nutmeg.
The final cocktail, Wolfe & Wehr, featured apple brandy, amongst other ingredients which brought out the autumnal flavors of birch, spices, apple, and wood.
October 2021 Box
The Shaker and Spoon box for October 2021 was ‘Mezcalloween’. The box included the Spellbinder cocktail from Sother, El Alma by Jules Snow, and Mystic Brew by Chris Elford. Each of these cocktails was designed with mezcal in mind.
The first cocktail, Spellbinder, included floral turmeric colada and other bitter flavors. El Alma featured flavors of lime, ginger, and peach, while Mystic Brew had Angostura bitters, spiced cold brew syrup, grapefruit oil, and cinnamon sticks.
Alternatives To Shaker And Spoon
If you’re after something a little bit different from Shaker and Spoon, or if you’ve tried Shaker and Spoon and just want to diversify your cocktail repertoire, there are a number of alternatives out there.
The following are just a few, some of which include the alcohol and some of which do not.
It’s not quite a subscription service, but Sourced Craft Cocktails do offer cocktail kits, much like with Shaker and Spoon. This service includes all of the ingredients, including the fresh ingredients, the mixer, and even the alcohol.
The boxes are delivered by hand by the real bartenders behind the service, but they only deliver within Dallas, Austin, San Francisco, and New York.
Just a couple fan favorites of the Sourced Craft Cocktails line include the ‘soul rush’ (which contains Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey, homemade elderflower syrup, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and Elemakule tiki bitters), and the ‘evening standard’ (which contains Sazerac Rye, Chinese five-spice bitters, and homemade apricot demerara syrup).
SaloonBox features the ingredients for two recipes, and while it does come with the alcohol, fresh ingredients are not included (this could be seen as a pro rather than a con, though, as there’s no chance of anything going bad).
One of the most recent SaloonBox kits featured the ‘cherry bomb’ cocktail, which included honey, bourbon, a jar of cocktail cherries with an ounce of juice, and granulated lemon.
The same box also featured the ‘Oaxacan paloma’ cocktail, which contained agave syrup, mezcal, granulated lime, Scrappy’s Firewater Tincture, and sparkling grapefruit soda.
The cocktails included in the SaloonBox kits aren’t as creative as those offered by Shaker and Spoon, but it is the most portable box.
Another subscription box that includes the alcohol, American Cocktail Club only has the recipe for four servings of one cocktail.
You can buy a kit with or without alcohol, but we recommend spending the extra for the booze, as it just works out as a better deal.
The cocktails are made with fresh and natural ingredients, and they’re also low in sugar and low in calories. Most of them are also gluten free.
Built specifically for bourbon, the Lonerider Spirits box features the ingredients for four servings of three cocktails, but does not include the alcohol.
The cocktails are enjoyable, but they also tend to be fairly simple, and the price for a single box is quite high considering the alcohol isn’t included (although a long term subscription will bring the price down).
Conclusion: Our Experience with Shaker and Spoon
Overall, Shaker and Spoon is probably the best cocktail subscription service on the market, so long as you’re fine with acquiring the alcohol yourself.
Many customers enjoy this extra step, as it allows them to get to know more about the liquors in question. The cocktails are of the highest quality; they’re the kind of drinks you’d find at the most fashionable bars.
While the box is most ideal for intermediate cocktail makers, this is well worth checking out if you’re interested in mixology.