Want to recreate that classic cocktail you tried in a bar once? Wish to impress your friends and family at a dinner party or other event? Making a pre- or post-dinner cocktail is one way to achieve this, but it can be fraught with problems. Unorthodox ingredients, specialist kit and lack of correct mixing technique are just a few of the obstacles. But help is at hand.
The emergence of the ready-made cocktail market has changed all of this. No longer do you need to worry about going shopping for obscure liqueurs or whether to shake instead of stir. These products have done everything for you. All you need to do is present them and keep shtum.
So, here are eight of the market leaders that we recommend checking out for you next cocktail party.
When born in 2016, Bottle Proof was an exclusive offering for the bar trade. Since the Covid pandemic they are also selling to consumers with the claim that you can serve a Bottle Proof cocktail in under a minute and with no previous experience. In recent years, the range has expanded to over 25 different cocktails, some non-alcoholic, and constant new additions.
The brand supplies such prestigious companies as Hilton, Radisson and Champneys Health Spas and offers an extensive staff training program. The range features classic such as the Mai Tai, Negroni and Espresso Martini along with more innovative creations developed by their in-house team. These include the delicious Tropica Exotica and Apple Pie-Tini.
Funkin were one of the early trailblazers in the pre-mixed cocktail genre when they launched in 1999. Early success was achieved amongst consumers despite much scepticism from the bartending community. Who would buy such a product? Well, lots of people did and the rest is history.
A full range of classics were developed and include the Passion Fruit Martini (it’s a Pornstar Martini, minus the slightly offensive name), Strawberry Daiquiri, Peach On The Beach (yes, you’ve got it – Sex On The Beach) and Piña Colada.
Funkin remain a market leader with great consistency across their range. Chill them down, sit back and enjoy.
Lyre’s are one of the leading and most awarded no- and low-ABV brands. Their collection of non-alcoholic ‘spirits’ have taken the market by storm and made them the current darlings of judging panels around the globe. Their diverse range features excellent 0% alternatives to gin, whisky, rum and absinthe.
However, for this we are interested in their superb range of pre-mixed canned drinks, which are some of the best zero alcohol drinks on offer. These include ‘Whisky’ & Cola and the multi-award-winning Amalfi Spritz. We defy anyone to tell you that it is not made from Aperol, it’s that good.
This fun American brand combines a set of classic cocktails with quirky party options. The Mojito, Long Island Iced Tea and Cosmo (short for Cosmopolitan) sit alongside the I’m Coconuts Over You, Kick-Ass Mudslide and Hot Sex & Brandy. All have roots in the legendary stories behind the original cocktails but are presented in a playful way.
All you have to do is select the one that best suits your mood. Then you will simply need a glass, some ice and your Original Bartenders choice from the fridge. Pour your cocktail over the ice and relax.
Soho Street Cocktails
This new brand emerged in 2020 and is inspired by the cocktail heyday of Soho in central London during the 1950s and 1960s. Founders Paul Scarratt and Grant Walker use their range to pay homage to some of the legends of the era, such as the Soho Brasserie’s Dick Bradsell, who created the first ever Espresso Martini.
The range is compact and features just five products: Cosmopolitan, Espresso Martini (our personal favourite), Piña Colada, Pornstar Martini and Strawberry Daiquiri. All come in party-sized 1.5 litre recyclable pouches.
Each cocktail is designed to be shaken with ice in a shaker and then simply poured into a glass and garnished.
London-based Tails Cocktails have been offering up pre-batched beverages for over a decade now. Since being founded in 2010 their range of premium cocktails have racked up numerous awards worldwide. Their goal is simple: to make good drinks available to anyone, at any time and in any place.
Tails Cocktails are not shy about announcing the spirits that they use, with best-selling brands such as Bombay Sapphire gin, Dewar’s Scotch whisky and Bacardi rum listed. Their range is compact and created by the Tails bar team. It features classics like the Rum Daiquiri, Gin Gimlet and Whisky Sour.
The Drinks Drop
Several mail-order cocktail companies sprung up during the Covid lockdowns, but The Drinks Drop was ahead of the curve. The subscription service sees handmade cocktails delivered to your door on a monthly basis. Alternatively, you can just order what you want from their website. There are around 12-15 choices at any one time.
The ethos is simple: The Drinks Drop commission leading bars to create cocktails on a regular basis using premium spirits and ingredients. Their prices are good considering the quality and bespoke, small-batched nature of what you receive. If you live in London, you can even get same-day delivery.
The Rested Cocktail Co.
Established by two friends in Derbyshire, England during 2014, The Rested Cocktail Co. was created to make cocktails more accessible to more people. All their cocktails are made by hand and bottled in small batches. Simply pop your bottle in the fridge or freezer and you are pretty much ready to go.
The small range features classics such as the Dry Gin Martini, Long Island Iced Tea and Negroni. They line-up next to the Cold Brew Espresso Martini and two quirkier offerings: the Three Rum Old Fashioned and Gin & Tonic Old Fashioned.
They also pack a punch by being bottled at higher ABV strengths compared to most of their competitors.