Holiday Helper

The Lazy Way to Make Great Cocktails

A range of mail-order drinks kits is taking the hassle out of mixing up cocktails.

Courtesy of the Brand

Online shopping has created a revolution in gift-giving—except when it comes to alcohol. America’s confusing patchwork of laws and regulations about shipping booze means that there’s no such thing as even Cyber Monday when it comes to cocktails and spirits.But you can still order a great present for a mixology-loving friend, colleague or relative, even if they live far away! Distilleries and shops around the country have put together cocktail kits of all kinds that you can have shipped. Here are a few options, including ones that just include mixers, which can be shipped across the country, and others that also come with the hard stuff, which can only be shipped to specific states.

Bitters & Bottles Cocktail Subscription

Just south of San Francisco, Bitters & Bottles is mixological heaven, with a collection of more than 1,500 spirits, bitters, tinctures, syrups, bar tools and other mixological necessities. And the shop’s cocktail subscription program lets you take its expertise home: It’s a monthly box that costs $89 and includes the spirits, mixers and recipes needed to make about 20 cocktails. There are 12 different boxes, each themed around a different spirit—ranging from bourbon and gin in months 1 and 2 to pisco and mezcal in months 11 and 12—for a yearlong sequence that’s intended to build a fully stocked home bar. You can buy a gift subscription of 1, 3, 6 or 12 months, and the boxes can be shipped to 19 states and Washington, D.C.

AITA X Terra Luna Hot Toddy Kit

Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction sounds like the title of somebody’s Ph.D dissertation, but it’s actually a Philadelphia company that makes an array of interesting liqueurs and infusions. Its online shop features a variety of add-your-own-alcohol cocktail kits that can be shipped anywhere in the US. The Hot Toddy kit ($30) includes a blend of whole spices, a blackberry-lemon thyme shrub and lemon thyme-infused honey made by Terra Luna, a local urban farm. It’s designed for use with Art in the Age’s Snap, a gingersnap liqueur (which is fairly widely available), but whiskey, rum or brandy of any kind will work. The company also offers other cocktail and bar-tool kits online, and if you’re lucky enough to live in Philadelphia, you can head over to the flagship store and find kits for each of the brand’s signature liqueurs that include a bottle, mixers and bar tools.

The Mixing Glass Cocktail Kits

Buying for a real picky drinker? The Mixing Glass has you covered. The Costa Mesa, Calif., craft-spirits shop offers several nice pre-made cocktail kits, but its real strength lies in customization. The experts behind the shop will tailor any kit around a specific type of liquor or even brand of your choosing. They will also create an original kit, including tools and glassware, for any cocktail you can think of. The best part? The kits can be shipped to every single state that allows delivery of spirits, 23 in all (plus DC).

Shaker & Spoon Cocktail Club

For the friend who’s always trying to create sophisticated cocktails at home, there’s Shaker & Spoon. It’s a monthly subscription box that sends all the recipes and ingredients (except alcohol) you need to make three different tipples. And we’re not talking about basic drinks here: a recent edition included such exotic delicacies as kukicha twig syrup and Inca berries. The recipient will have to use his or her own liquor, but that means Shaker & Spoon can ship to any state in the Union. The cost ranges from $50 for a single box to $480 for a yearlong subscription. Order before New Year’s Day to get the January box, a brandy-focused set of ingredients including cinnamon orgeat and cranberry-juniper grenadine.

Wigle Cocktail Kits

Pittsburgh craft distillery Wigle makes all kinds of interesting whiskies, gins and more, and it’s created a series of cocktail kits highlighting its wheat whiskey, rye whiskey and absinthe. They’re perfect for the indie-spirits geek on your list. Wigle is one of a very few distilleries that can sell its own products online, thanks to a state law the owners helped get passed, but unfortunately it can only ship to Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., at the moment.