Shaker and Spoon Review

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It’s hard to keep up with all the subscription boxes out there today. From sake boxes to cheese to toys for your dog, there isn’t much you can’t get delivered monthly these days. Shaker and Spoon makes and sells cocktail kits that can be one-time purchases or subscription boxes – you heard me – a cocktail kit sent right to your house! What a time to be alive!

The company aims to bring cocktails to your doorstep, teach you how to make the drinks included, and teach you techniques and skills to take into your creative cocktail endeavors. According to their website, Shaker and Spoon is: “…here to help you expand your palate, learn new skills, and up your cocktail game, no matter where you are in your mixology journey.

Check out the videos below, head to our blog to read up on spirits, techniques, and more, or subscribe to the cocktail club today for a hands-on education!”

But in a world of overly processed, sugary ingredients, it’s easy to distrust a cocktail kit-based subscription box. Lucky for you, we spend the money, so you don’t have to. I was fortunate enough to receive the Negroni 2 box, and the Rum’s the Word box to see if Shaker and Spoon can serve up what they claim to be able to serve up!

Join me on the tasting journey through these two boxes, amounting to six different cocktail recipes in total!

Bottom Line Up Front

Any option to purchase Shaker and Spoon cocktail kits is well worth the cost of roughly $59 per box (or less if you subscribe). The kits are comprised of high-quality, delicious ingredients. They require only that you purchase the hard alcohol for mixing yourself. I’d recommend this to any cocktail enthusiast, aspiring home bartender, or creative drinker looking for a burst of inspiration. This has been my favorite subscription box to date across genres and niches!

shaker & spoon

Pricing Options

Shaker and Spoon offer four different subscription options ranging from $59 to $599. They even have an option to pay month to month, which means if you aren’t a scotch or gin drinker, you can skip months with boxes that are for scotch and gin cocktails. If you choose that option, the cost is $59 before shipping and handling. But what do you get in the box? I’m glad you asked!

The ingredients all center on one spirit per month and contain the ingredients, aside from the liquor, to make three different cocktails. And if that isn’t enough, there’s enough product in each box for four cocktails per recipe. That means for $59, you’re getting twelve cocktails before you buy your spirit, of course. Depending on the spirit of the month (some are more expensive, and some people just like more expensive brands), you can get twelve cocktails for about eighty to a hundred dollars total.

Again, this depends on the cost of the spirit you purchase for the box, which is $59.

The next option up is $169, which is paid every three months. By purchasing three months at a time, you save three dollars a month as the monthly cost comes down to $59. The boxes are the same, being twelve cocktails in each without the spirit of the month included. You simply save money by committing to three months at a time. Of course, if a spirit that you don’t care for is the cocktail kit of the month, you run the risk of having recipes you won’t enjoy.

Next, for a prepay of $319, you get six months of cocktail kits. Like the other two options, these are the same kits, but you save money by purchasing six months at a time. The cost per box, in this case, comes down to $53.

And finally, if you can commit to a year, you can get an entire year of monthly cocktail kits for $599. This brings the cost per box down to $50. So by spending about $600 at once,  you save yourself $120 in a year. Because $10 isn’t a huge amount of money, I do think that if you’re on the fence about this company, starting out with one month at a time makes sense. The savings for buying a year at a time aren’t too tremendous to take the risk.

However, if you have an adventurous and nearly impossible friend to shop for, a month or more of these kits is well worth the money!

shaker & spoon subscriptions

Negroni 2 Box

I started my Negroni 2 box with the cocktail for the Capri Crush. It was Campari, gin, the Shaker and Spoon spiced orange-grapefruit cordial, orange bitters, Peychaud’s Bitters, and sparkling water.

I loved this play on a Negroni. It reminded me of an Americano – which is a Highball cocktail with one ounce each of sweet vermouth and Campari, topped with ice and seltzer water. Like an Americano, the Capri Crush is true to its name and crushable to the max.

Oh my gosh, do I love this drink! This was citrusy, crisp, and just delectable. I liked this recipe because Shaker and Spoon added a step to roll the completed cocktail before drinking. This means they have the user add the booze, and shaker, then top with the seltzer water before pouring the contents into a highball glass. Now, when you pour the finished product over fresh ice, the seltzer water is integrated with the other ingredients more thoroughly than if it was simply topped with seltzer.

The effect is a more cohesive cocktail. Next comes the Peychaud’s bitters, added on top to add aroma to the first sips. Did I mention I loved it?

capri cush
Capri Crush; Photo by Thea Engst

One issue with this box is that it was missing two bitters: the Peychaud’s and the orange. I reached out to customer service, who apologized profusely and offered to send me the bottles separately. I declined because I already had the bitters at home (any respectable bartender should!) I wanted to include this tidbit because mistakes happen; it’s about how a company handles mistakes that matter.

I feel as though Shaker and Spoon handled this perfectly, and this little mishap wouldn’t deter me from ordering more from them; in fact, it shows me a great response when something goes wrong, and that’s a company I want to support.

I’d also like to add that this could have been my oversight – the packaging in these boxes is very thorough. It’s possible I tossed the tiny bitters bottles along with the padding that was keeping them from breaking in transit. And finally, I’d like to add that even though I said I didn’t need the bitters, Shaker and Spoon still sent them to me, which was entirely unnecessary and reflective of their above-average customer service.

But I digress! Let’s talk about the two other Negroni variations included in this box.

Next, I moved on to the Pacific Negroni, which involved my first adventure in fat washing. Shaker and Spoon included coconut and thorough instructions. First, I had to melt the coconut, which just involved putting the bottle in a cup of hot water until it became liquid. I added the coconut to Campari and let it sit in a covered mason jar for at least four hours before moving it to the freezer for at least eight hours. The longer it sits, the more coconut pops, so I let this sit close to twenty-four hours. It paid off!

I tasted this coconut fat-washed Campari on its own, and it was delicious!

Campari at Room Temperature
Coconut Fat-Washed Campari at Room Temperature; Photo by Thea Engst
Coconut Fat-Washed Campari After Freezing 24 Hours
Coconut Fat-Washed Campari After Freezing 24 Hours; Photo by Thea Engst

The rest of the steps were easy and simple: gin, my fat-washed Campari, and an included pandan syrup. Stir, strain, and enjoy. The nose is nutty and coconut-full. On the palate, coconut definitely popped on the palate but mixed with the pandan. It was like a macadamia nut, hazelnut, coconut melody. The gin just offered a backbone to fight the sweetness and nuttiness, and the bitterness of the Campari was muted until the very end. This was surprising, and I love surprises in my cocktails!

The Pacific Negroni
The Pacific Negroni; Photo by Thea Engst

Moving along to the final Negroni variation, I made the Frutta e Fioni, which involved a very quick, easy, and yummy infusion. Shaker and Spoon included a hibiscus tea bag, which I added to gin in a mason jar, shook, and let sit for only six minutes. The hibiscus came through beautifully and even made the gin a pretty pink and purple color.

The cocktail build, like the Pacific Negroni above, was very easy. I added the included (and delicious) strawberry syrup, which tasted like a liquidy strawberry jam, and balsamic vinegar (also included), shook and poured over fresh ice. Finally, I sprayed the cocktail with basil spray. Now, all I had to do was enjoy this tart Negroni variation.

The Frutta e Fioni
The Frutta e Fioni; Photo by Thea Engst

The nose is fresh basil from the spray, which is lovely, followed by the sourness of the balsamic vinegar. The palate is strawberry, balsamic vinegar, and subtle tart hints from the hibiscus-infused gin. This cocktail is like a summer salad with fresh fruit, vinegar, and brightness. I’d drink this all summer long if I could (and I might!)

Pros and Cons of the Negroni 2 Box

Pros:

  • The included ingredients are delicious and high-quality.
  • The instructions included are easy to follow without being overwhelming.
  • I love the added copy of Imbibe for Negroni Week!
  • I got a great response from customer service when I reached out about missing ingredients.
  • The finished products for each of the three cocktails were truly delicious, and I can honestly say I not only was I not disappointed in any of them, but I was also impressed by all three.
  • Packaging was recyclable materials and very thorough; nothing is getting broken in these boxes!
  • I find the cost of $59 or less for boxes like this a great deal.

Cons:

  • My box was missing two ingredients: Peychaud’s Bitters and orange bitters. However, when I reached out to Shaker and Spoon, they responded quickly and offered to send me the bottles separately; even though I declined, they still sent me the two missing bottles. So is this really a con?
  • The packaging may have resulted in me tossing the bitters bottles because there was so much padding. This is a stretch for a con, but I have to say something negative…

Rum’s the Word Box

I started by making the Hemenway En Nica, which I chose because it was the only rum cocktail that called for the limes present in the kit, and I wanted to use those limes before they expired. This recipe called for a lightly aged rum, which I didn’t have in the house. I prefer aged rums anyway, so I wasn’t worried about how I’d feel about the taste.

Let’s start by saying that the steps to make the cocktail were clear and easy to understand. I don’t see any room or need for improvement in that sense: well-done Shaker and Spoon! And of course, now you must know, how did it taste?

I’m not there yet! I want to start by discussing the ingredients that come in this box. They were lovely, and I say this in the context of me being very hesitant about a mail-order cocktail kit. To say that I was not only impressed with the quality of the ingredients, all of which I tasted separately as well in their respective cocktails, along with the fact that these limes showed up perfectly fresh, is an understatement. It’s so easy to get a product that is below par or overly sweetened with sugar acting as a preservative.

But these ingredients are wonderful, balanced, and interesting.

Hemingway En Nica
Hemingway En Nica; Photo by Thea Engst

Okay, so let’s move along. The taste of the cocktail was lovely. The rum was definitely at the forefront of the palate with vanilla and caramel notes, followed by the naranja agria-grapefruit syrup, which popped in a lovely way, making this Daiquiri variation slightly warmer and more of a fall, early spring, or wintery cocktail. The finish was bright lime, classic to a Daiquiri. This was the first cocktail I made from this kit, and I was impressed and excited for the others!

The next cocktail I made was the Sea Fog which meant that first I had to let some rum infuse with the nori (seaweed), which was, of course, included in the kit. I let that sit for twenty-four hours before straining. All in all, this was probably the easiest infusion I’ve ever made. Next, I added the honey-ginger syrup, liquid smoke, and tobacco bitters and shook, straining over fresh ice before topping with the included yuzu soda. The garnish was more nori, wrapped around included candied ginger and skewered on either side. 

Sea Fog
Sea Fog; Photo by Thea Engst

The best way to describe this drink is a layer of flavors that continue to surprise. First, I was hit with the nori flavors, which come through from the rum infusion but are amplified by the garnish hitting your nose. Next, you get yuzu, bright and tart, followed by more funky nori. Finally, you start to get hints of spicy ginger. As you sip the drink, the layers wear down, and you are left with the sweet, spicy ginger in your final sips. I loved the unique drink so much that I immediately made one for my very picky boyfriend, who agreed!

I will say that due to the funk of the nori, this might not be the ‘crowd pleasing’ cocktail that the Hemingway En Nica was. If you like sushi, seaweed salads, and the like, you will be into this drink. And if you’re curious, you should definitely try it because it’s great; it’s not a traditional fruit or mint-bomb like lots of rum cocktails rely (too heavily if you ask me) on.

The night that I started my nori rum infusion, I also made the coconut cold brew included for the Don’t Tell Richard cocktail. I have to say I was also intrigued and curious about the cold brew. In a world of Daiquiri and Daiquiri variations, Shaker and Spoon did not take the easy way out by giving subscribers three fruit-forward rum cocktails. They shook it up (pun intended) with a coffee drink and nori-heavy drink as well!

The cold brew process was easy, and if you’ve ever done it before, you know what I mean when I say there are no surprises. I left mine in my French Press in the fridge for twelve hours, and it came out perfectly. I will say that the coconut doesn’t super pop, but I’m not mad at it.

Don't Tell Richard
Don’t Tell Richard; Photo by Thea Engst.

The cocktail was rum, mauby syrup, Angostura Bitters, and cold brew with a delicious banana chip and dehydrated orange wheel for garnish. I will say that the recipe called for crushed ice, but I didn’t have the patience to crush ice when I was making this cocktail. Don’t be mad; I’ve crushed so much ice in my bartending career! I will say that when I garnished this and had my first sips, I one-hundred percent understand why Shaker and Spoon stipulated crushed ice.

I will also say I missed out by skipping this step. (It’s almost like they know what they’re talking about, Thea!)

Tasting-wise, the coffee obviously hits first. It’s hard to compete with coffee in a flavor profile. That’s just science; accept it. Next, you get vanilla with hints of the tropical notes coming through.

But the real game-changing moment I got from this drink was when I ate the banana chip and then took a sip. Ooohh mama! I do think that banana made the tropical notes pop like crazy, and all the ginger and cinnamon from the included mauby syrup came out. I’d highly recommend this to anyone who likes Espresso Martinis or anything similar. Be warned, though: you cannot taste the alcohol in this delicious tipple!

Pros and Cons of the Rum’s the Word Box:

Pros:

  • The recipes were all thorough, well-written, and easy to follow.
  • The garnishes in this box are really fun, from nori to candied ginger, even banana chips!
  • All the cocktail recipes were really good, balanced, tasty drinks.
  • I love that Shaker and Spoon didn’t just make three Daiquiri variations or Tiki-style fruit bombs. All three of these recipes are creative, tasty, and outside the box.
  • The packaging was thorough and recyclable.
  • I find $59 or less for cocktail kits like this a great bargain.

Cons:

  • The Sea Fog was delicious for me and fun and different, but it might not be for everyone because of the seaweed funk. Still, it’s well-balanced and succeeds in what it’s trying to accomplish.

shaker & spoon cocktails

Question: Is the Shaker and Spoon box worth the price tag of $59?

Answer: Yes. These boxes contain recipes, ingredients, and even glossaries of barware and terminology.

Question: Shouldn’t they include the hard alcohol that the cocktails’ base is?

Answer: There are a lot of federal and state laws when shipping hard alcohol (or alcohol at all) across state lines. By not including the hard alcohol, Shaker and Spoon avoid telling certain states they can’t order from them, and it also keeps the cost per box down.

Question: Is it worth the price even if you add the cost of the hard alcohol you will have to buy in addition to the box?

Answer: In my opinion, yes. You get three recipes with most of the ingredients and the ability to make four of each. So if you buy a bottle of, say, gin or rum, you’re spending $20 or more (you can definitely spend a lot more if you want a specific brand, but you don’t have to). So if you consider now that you’re getting a bottle of rum for $25, you can now make twelve craft cocktails for $84 total, making the cost about $7 per drink. What bar can you get a cocktail for $7 at? I’ll wait.

Question: Who do you recommend this box for?

Answer: This is an excellent gift for anyone who appreciates a good drink. The steps are easy; this is not a very involved kit, but the results are delicious, and it’s very obvious the recipes are well-conceived, and the included ingredients are high-quality.

Question: Do you recommend this as a gift to someone else or something you’d gift to yourself?

Answer: Why not both? Don’t you deserve a little gift every now and then, even if it’s from you?

Final Thoughts on the Shaker and Spoon Subscription Boxes

I’m a big fan of the Shaker and Spoon cocktail kits, if you can’t tell by now. I had a wonderful time working on these cocktails, tasting the included syrups, and even making my first ever fat-washed booze! (I can’t believe it took me this long, I’ve always wanted to try it!)

So I’d like to conclude by saying I loved these two boxes. I’d highly recommend this company to anyone with interest, and I believe they are worth the price tag, which I consider very reasonable.

Cheers to home bartending and companies like Shaker and Spoon for making it easier, streamlined, and approachable!

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