It’s not uncommon for me to make buying purchases suggested by Instagram ads. Call me a sucker, but their algorithm is pretty accurate. One of the ads I’ve been seeing lately is for the Shaker & Spoon subscription box. Since I regularly make cocktails at home, I wondered if this was really something that I would find value in. The promise from each box is the makings for 12 cocktails from three recipes created by professional bartenders for under $60. You can get $10 off your first box using the code COCKTAILSAWAY when you check out. All you need to supply is a bottle of that month’s alcohol. (Rum for the rum-themed box, for example.) I reached out and asked for a box to review, although I always give my honest opinion. Here’s an in-depth review of a month of the Shaker & Spoon subscription box and my experience with the year of boxes I purchased.
In this post you’ll learn:
- What a typical month’s box contains
- What to have on hand (which is also sent out in an email ahead of time)
- My experience as a Shaker & Spoon customer over 12 months
My First Box of Shaker & Spoon – New Frontiers (Whiskey)
Pictured above are the contents of the New Frontiers box. Each month, before your box ships, you get an email to a customized page of what the featured spirit is, what to have on hand, and a description of that month’s cocktails. (You can also opt out or skip a box if you need to.) For my first box, I had a brand new bottle of J. Rieger & Co. whiskey, which the list recommended, the glasses, barware, and plenty of ice on hand. Since everything else I needed came in the box, including the fresh fruit, I could dive right in.
Drink 1: Hygroscopy til You Droppy
The first drink I picked from the box was fun and easy to make. I really loved the finishing step which was a spritz of spearmint on top. It gave it a unique and complex profile while keeping the beverage light and refreshing. In past experience with whiskey cocktails, I have sometimes found them to be too whiskey-forward or too sweet. This cocktail was very delicious and definitely on par with a great cocktail bar offering. Even better, while the kit promised that this would make four drinks, I was able to get six out of the ingredients provided.
Drink 2: Crank it to 11
This cocktail is a riff on an Old Fashioned with a cherry-cinnamon twist. It adds in the element of fire with a smoked glass. I never did get bartender-levels of rolling smoke, but I could taste the flavor in the drink. This was definitely the easiest drink to make, and will be the only one that can be easily recreated without the box. It made four cocktails, but they provided enough bitters and wood chips to make plenty more.
I’m sure you have to squint to see the small amount of smoke I was able to produce. It was definitely harder for me to produce smoke than I thought it would be. I had long matches, as were suggested, but I couldn’t get the wood to light. This seems like a fun thing to continue to practice, so I wasn’t discouraged. The instructions for the drink suggested putting the mixture on top of a speaker and turning up the music to “shake” the ingredients. I opted to just stir it, but appreciated the whimsy.
Drink 3: Fibonacci on the Fritz
I am glad that I ended my box experience with this drink. It was definitely my favorite. The best part for me was the fact that some of the flavors in the recipe weren’t things I thought I liked. Black walnut bitters and maple syrup are not things I would ever come up with for drink ingredients but together with everything else, they worked! The final mixture was well-balanced and unlike anything else I’ve ever had. I really enjoyed it.
In conclusion, the Shaker & Spoon subscription box is definitely something I will purchase for myself or give as a gift. The recipes were clear and you don’t need anything fancy to pull off the cocktails provided. The webpage for each box also provides a video on how to make each recipe, so any level bartender will find success. I also like that each box only requires one bottle of booze and the drinks were delicious. On the cost side, the whiskey I purchased was $35, so with the kit, the cost-per-drink was roughly $5.30 each. I think that’s a great value if you consider what you’d pay at a bar. Let me know if you end up subscribing or if you have any hints for smoking glasses. And, save $10 on your first box with the code COCKTAILSAWAY. Cheers!
A Year-long Review of Shaker & Spoon Boxes
What a delicious year it’s been! While 2020 was challenging in so many ways, my monthly Shaker and Spoon box delivery was a big highlight. I’ve even loved the emails Shaker & Spoon sends announcing the featured spirit and the three cocktails coming in that month’s box. As more of my friends have subscribed, we have compared notes as we made drinks. We’ve shared what we’ve liked and sipped together while texting.
It’s been a real joy to get to know this brand and work with them on promoting their product. But, I am also a subscriber, and it’s a product I talk about because it’s really great quality. In addition to what I’ve shared in my review of Shaker & Spoon, there are a few more things you might also enjoy in a subscription. Here are just a few!
Experience New Spirits
There are SO many incredible spirits on the market. Even when you are talking about basic spirits, it can be overwhelming to find what you like. Since each Shaker and Spoon box focuses on one bottle of a spirit, you can pick from the three recommendations they make, you get to know it. If you’ve only ever had gin in a G&T, you might not know how else to use it. With three different recipes a month using the same bottle of liquor, you really get to “know” the spirit in different cocktails. I particularly loved getting to know St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur through the “Puttin’ on the Spritz” box and Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin in the “Gin-uary” box (see above).
Meet New Bartenders
Whoever writes up the recipe cards and the Shaker & Spoon website is very clever. I love reading about the stories behind each drink, which many times link to the individual bartender’s heritage or interests. It’s also fun to read about where they sling drinks, find them on Instagram, and interact with them (as I have done on many occasions) when I’ve just loved a drink. At a time when human connections have been harder to make, getting to know new people, even virtually, has been an aspect of this subscription box that I have loved but wouldn’t have expected.
Find New Small Businesses to Support
It’s no secret that I love supporting small businesses. Shaker and Spoon is growing rapidly but is still a small, private company. Another thing they do that I love is promoting and including lots of craft brands in their boxes. I had heard of Barmalade, but I hadn’t tried it until the December “Rums of Origin 3” box. The blood orange-guava was divine!
Other highlights included Pineapple Mother Shrub in the “Fall for Mezcal” box and the Blue Monkey Sparking Watermelon Juice in the “Kanpai!” box. Shaker & Spoon also makes it easy to keep supporting these brands, and make more of your favorite cocktail, through their “Make More Store.”
I think you can tell from my year-long review of Shaker & Spoon, it’s really a must for any cocktail lover. Order your subscription to Shaker & Spoon now!