It’s 6pm on Friday and you find yourself at the bar — peering over the mixologist’s shoulder and trying to discern the difference between the dozens of alluring backlit bottles behind him. You’d love to order a fine single malt or perhaps a craft gin, or maybe even pace yourself with a cutting-edge alcohol free spirit. But, in your heart of hearts, you know that when your turn finally comes, you will panic and inevitably end up with the same old pint or house G&T.
You’re not alone. The fact of the matter is, while most of us know vaguely what we like to drink, when asked to order something specific our knowledge fails us. Was it Glenfiddich or Glenmorangie you liked last time? What’s the difference between a Negroni and an Old Fashioned again? This is where an alcohol subscription service comes into its own. Simply pick your tipple of choice and let the experts send you a curated selection of unusual bottles each month — all you have to do is remember the ones you enjoyed. See you at the bar — ours is a Wessex Gin Jockey Club.
For adventurous drinkers: Off the Still
Stuck in a spirits rut? Off the Still is the perfect subscription service for those trying to broaden their tastes. Created by the team behind premium drinks retailer 31Dover, Off the Still prides itself on catering to adventurous drinkers keen to try anything from an artisan rum to a lava-filtered vodka or a smoky mezcal.
Each box contains one full size bottle of premium spirit, two specially paired mixers and one extra miniature or gift to complete the set. You’ll also get information about your bottle, the people who made it and, most importantly, how to serve it so you can make the most of every new drinking experience. And, should you find something you really love, Off the Still members receive 10% discount when reordering bottles at 31Dover.
Off the Still
For whisky newcomers: The Dram Team
If you’ve ever so much as dipped a toe into the world of whisky then you’ll know there’s a lot to learn — and a lot to try. The Dram Team’s subscription service was created for those who have graduated past Famous Grouse but aren’t ready to start investing big money in full-sized bottles just yet. Focusing primarily on Scotch and single malt whiskies, each tasting set includes five 25ml drams of premium whisky plus a sixth 10ml rare or limited edition dram, and tasting notes for each expression.
Available monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly, each set also takes a theme — for example, blockbuster Scottish brands or whiskies from independent distilleries — with previous drams including Auchentoshan Three Wood, Highland Park 21-Year-Old and Glenfarclas 105 Cask Strength.
The Dram Team
For collectors: The Summerton Club
Looking to become a proper whisky collector? The Summerton Club is about to make things much easier. Forget scouring uninspiring supermarket shelves or hunting down boutique spirits merchants in obscure London enclaves; founded by a father and son team of whisky fanatics, Summerton Club promises subscribers only unusual, fine whiskies they’re unlikely to find anywhere else.
Delivered bi-monthly, previous boxes have featured Mossburn Vintage Casks No.2, Sweden’s Mackmyra Moment Skogshallon and a Hatozaki Pure Malt Whisky from Japan. Those with a thirst for knowledge can also take advantage of Summerton’s annual whisky festival as well as the huge range of tasting notes and distillery histories available via the club’s website.
The Summerton Club
For gin lovers: Craft Gin Club
The ginassaince that’s taken place over the last decade or so has been so overwhelming that it’s not uncommon for even the most local of locals to have an extensive gin menu. And that means it’s time to stop ordering Gordon’s and discover the wide world of craft gins.
Having found fame (and backing) on Dragons Den in 2016, every Craft Gin Club box promises a full size bottle of speciality gin, paired tonics and garnishes, additional ingredients to make a monthly cocktail, a copy of Ginned! magazine and a selection of aperitif-appropriate snacks. Previous gins have included Cambridge Dry Gin, Boatyard Double Gin and Shetland Reel Filska Gin and are available monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly.
Craft Gin Club
For budding mixologists: Taste Cocktails
The ideal solution for the gentleman that fancies himself as a budding mixologist but doesn’t have the space to invest in his own fully-stocked bar. Packaged in tasteful glass bottles with vintage apothecary-style labels, each Taste Cocktails set comes complete with high-quality miniatures of every ingredients you’ll need to make the cocktail of the month along with a recipe card offering classic and modern versions. Want to really impress next time you’re at the bar? Taste Cocktails also offers a full history of each drink and tips on mixology technique to help you really master those shaker flips and twists.
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