Shaker and Spoon is a pretty cool concept: a mail order box that has a few different flavored syrups, bitters and other cocktail ingredients. They include recipes developed by real bartenders that use all of these ingredients, plus your own liquor, to make 12 craft cocktails at home. I got one of them to try out, so I can share with you everything you need to know about these boxes!
TL/DR: My verdict? I think these cocktail boxes are well worth the money, and so much fun! Read on to find out more details about my experience, plus some pros and cons of Shaker & Spoon.
- What's included in the Shaker & Spoon boxes
- Shipping & Packaging
- What about Garnishes?
- Do Shaker & Spoon Provide Bar Tools or Glassware?
- Cocktail 1: Better than a Pop Tart
- Cocktail 2: Ginger and Jasmine and Pear! Oh My!
- Cocktail 3: Green Demon
- Pros and Cons of Shaker & Spoon
- Is a Shaker & Spoon Box Worth It?
- 💬 Comments
What's included in the Shaker & Spoon boxes
Although they're for cocktail lovers, Shaker & Spoon doesn't include any alcohol in their boxes.
So, unfortunately, you'll need to supply your own spirits. I'm not shocked by this, because shipping liquor has a ton of rules and regulations, and you'd be paying a premium to have it included. (They have a whole blog post about their reasons.)
On the good side, you can choose exactly what spirits you'll use, or even make non-alcoholic mocktails with the ingredients! I used my go-to Tito's vodka.
Besides booze, the boxes include everything you need to make three cocktail recipes. It's enough to make four drinks per recipe, so twelve total drinks.
What's actually included varies based on the box and the theme of the cocktails, but you can expect some custom flavored syrups, specialty sodas, and different bitters for each recipe.
One of my favorite parts is that if you love one of these cocktails, you can order the individual ingredients for that drink in their "Make More Store". They carry a small & large size of the ingredients too!
Here's all of the ingredients included in the Vodka Brunch Box 2 that I received:
- Fever Tree Ginger Ale
- Fever Tree Cucumber Tonic
- Green Chile syrup
- Green Market shrub
- Spring Pear syrup
- Lime Acid solution
- Thai Green Chile celery bitters
- The Bitter Housewife Dead Guy Chicory bitters
- Dashfire Classic Creole bitters
- Cuppa Cake Teas - Caramel Vanilla tea bag
- Everything bagel seasoning
The box also includes a booklet with tons of information, recipe cards, and QR codes you can scan for more info online. It also includes a bonus banana-themed recipe!
Shipping & Packaging
The cardboard box itself is nice looking with a printed design, and you can definitely wrap it and give it as a gift as-is along with a bottle of alcohol.
The box was shipped via USPS and it arrived really quickly, although it could take a couple days based on where you are in the US.**
**Note: Sorry international readers -- as of the time of writing, they only ship to the 50 US states.
Inside, they use shredded paper (LOTS of shredded paper) to cushion the items. They are really packed tightly, and since they are mostly glass, the box is clearly labeled as Fragile with glass inside.
I appreciated that they kept plastic to a minimum. But, it was a little challenging to dig through all of the shredded paper, and I almost threw out the tiny bitters bottles!
Luckily, the paperwork in the box warned me they were hard to find, so it all worked out.
They do have helpful customer service in case anything is damaged in shipping. Just email [email protected] to get in touch.
What about Garnishes?
There weren't any specific garnish recommendations for these drinks. You can get an idea what might go well by looking at the pictures on the Shaker & Spoon website, but they don't tell you what the specific garnishes are in each image.
The only garnish included in this particular box was the everything bagel seasoning.
This is sort of a plus, since it means that the drinks can be served without garnishes just fine.
But, as a garnish lover, I wanted my drinks to be a little more like their website photos! I added my own spin by using a dried apple (instructions in my Apple Cinnamon Bourbon post), a fresh lime and fresh cucumber, and a whole star anise to the different cocktails.
Do Shaker & Spoon Provide Bar Tools or Glassware?
There are no bar tools or glassware that come in the box, so here are a few things that will come in handy.
Generally, you'll need some basic bar tools to make the drinks. For these three drinks, I used:
- Cocktail shaker
- Cocktail strainer
- Mason jar, at least 8 ounces
- Cocktail stirring glass
- Long bar spoon
Some things I used that are more optional:
- Cocktail pick (for my cucumber lime garnish)
- Clip to hold the baked apple onto the glass rim
- Clear ice sphere maker
If you need any bar tools, they actually sell them on the Shaker & Spoon Website. Their Ultimate Bar Tools package has everything you need for a home bar, and they stock items from Cocktail Kingdom, a top quality barware maker.
For this box, you would really just need the Essential Bar Tools package, though.
For glassware, you don't have to use anything super extravagant (unless that's what you've got laying around!)
I used two Old Fashioned glasses, and one coupe glass for these cocktails. You can use water tumblers or wine glasses if you don't have special cocktail glasses.
Cocktail 1: Better than a Pop Tart
About the cocktail
The first drink I tried in my Vodka Brunch Box 2 was the Better than a Pop Tart. This is a stirred cocktail, and along the lines of an Old Fashioned.
The twist with this one is that you have to infuse your vodka with the tea bag they provide you. So, you'll need to let the tea bag sit in a mason jar of vodka for 30 minutes before making this one.
There are a lot of delicious flavors in this drink: rich caramel and vanilla from the tea, along with sweet chicory in the bitters, with just a hint of the green chile from the syrup.
I added the star anise as a garnish, since I thought it went really well with the spice flavors here.
Making the drink
Add the teabag to a mason jar and fill it with vodka. The vodka will soak up the flavors of the tea. You can shake it up a couple of times.
After 30 minutes, the liquid will look brown. Discard the teabag.
Add the vodka, syrup and bitters to a cocktail stirring glass as per the recipe.
Add in the ice, and then stir well for about 30 seconds.
Add an ice sphere to your serving glass, and strain the drink into the glass.
Garnish and serve.
I thought this one was just OK. It was enjoyable, but there was something about the tea that I didn't love.
I thought the flavors played together really well and it was definitely drinkable, but I liked the others a little more.
Cocktail 2: Ginger and Jasmine and Pear! Oh My!
About the drink
The Ginger and Jasmine and Pear! Oh My! is the cocktail I was really looking forward to. I love ginger, and it pairs so well with jasmine and pear.
This was a pretty easy cocktail to make, and the only one that required a cocktail shaker. The light and floral flavors definitely fit the Brunch theme of the box.
I added a baked apple slice as a garnish, but if I had a fresh or dried pear on hand I would've gone with that!
Making the drink
To make this drink, add the vodka, syrup and bitters to a cocktail shaker and fill it with ice. Seal and shake it vigorously, about 15-20 times.
The next step struck me as a little weird, but it turned out great. Measure and add the ginger ale to the shaker just before straining it through a fine mesh strainer.
This seemed to mix everything together well, without losing the ginger ale's carbonation.
Then, just garnish and serve.
This drink was pretty refreshing and tasty. I liked the flavors, although I could have used a stronger ginger flavor to counteract the sweet pear syrup. I may try this one again with a ginger beer instead of the ginger ale.
Cocktail 3: Green Demon
About the drink
I'll admit that I didn't really understand this drink when I first looked at the recipe.
Cucumber tonic, green market shrub, lime acid solution and celery bitters? I definitely raised an eyebrow. But I fully admit that I was wrong. And in fact, this drink was supreme.
What I didn't quite get was that this is kind of like a spicy green drink crossed with a Bloody Mary. The celery bitters definitely brings the classic Bloody Mary garnish to mind.
The green shrub definitely had some bright pepper and tomato flavors in it as well. (If you've never had shrub, check out my Ginger Shrub post for how to make your own.)
Unlike the others, this drink came with a garnish. The everything bagel seasoning on the glass rim went really well with the drink.
I also made a ribbon of cucumber, attached it to a cocktail pick and added a lime slice to the glass rim for this drink. Feel free to add in a piece of celery too!
Making the drink
Before making the drink, I made my garnishes. I used a vegetable peeler to make a long cucumber strip and attached it to a cocktail pick. I also made a lime slice for the glass rim.
I used the cut lime to wet the rim of the glass so that the everything bagel seasoning would stick. You could also do this with water. Then, dip the wet rim of the glass into the seasoning.
You don't need a shaker or mixing glass for this one, since it's made in the serving glass. Just add in the vodka, shrub, lime acid solution, and bitters to the glass.
Top up the glass with ice, and then measure and add the cucumber tonic.
Give it a gentle stir before adding any other garnishes, and serve.
This one was definitely my favorite, and honestly the one I thought I'd like the least. I really enjoyed the flavors and it was so refreshing to have a more savory cocktail, especially as a new brunch classic.
Pros and Cons of Shaker & Spoon
|The box is relatively inexpensive, compared to craft cocktails served at a restaurant.||Alcohol is not included, so you need to make another purchase to make the full cocktail.|
|The drinks are really interesting, tasty and full of flavor.||If you don't like one of the recipes, you're out of luck. (Read the flavor descriptions carefully!)|
|Their syrups and other custom ingredients are unique and would be hard to make at home or buy anywhere else.||There aren't many garnishes included in the box. Some of their photos show garnishes that aren't mentioned in the recipe.|
|Most of the boxes only require a single bottle of alcohol for all 12 of the cocktails.||Shipping is not included in the price of the box. It's a flat fee since they use USPS for shipping.|
|You can save money on each box with a multi-month subscription. If you don't like the upcoming box, you can skip it or choose a different box.||You can't get any of the full boxes without a subscription. But, you can buy Cocktail Kits for the individual recipes without a subscription.|
Is a Shaker & Spoon Box Worth It?
For me, the answer is definitely yes! I really enjoyed all of these cocktails. Plus, the one that turned out to be my favorite is one I would never have ordered in a cocktail bar.
Who would love this box?
This box is for people who like to experiment with new flavors and interesting drinks. They're not basic drinks in any way, and are truly craft cocktails.
They are great for trying out samples of different brands of bitters. They give you the brand names of everything they use, so you can buy more if you find something you love!
Who might not think the box is worth it?
People who are a little more picky and not as adventurous with their drinks might not enjoy the boxes as much. You can't customize anything in the boxes, so you're stuck with the included recipes.
(But don't forget their Make More Store if you want to buy a few individual ingredients and make your own recipe.)
My final verdict
All things considered, the Shaker & Spoon boxes get a thumbs up from me. They make awesome gifts for birthdays and holidays, and they will definitely broaden your cocktail horizons!