Not everyone wants to brave dining out in public now that patios are open, and there is nothing wrong with that. That said, you can still be sipping on a well-crafted cocktail or two. One of the (many) unique things to come out of the pandemic is the proliferation of craft cocktail kits created by Canadian restaurants, bars and boutique liquor stores. No matter what city you live in, chances are, you've got more than a few options at your fingertips and some can even be delivered straight to your door.
Here are 12 cool cocktail kits from across Canada that you can enjoy in the comfort of your own backyard with some friends. Bug spray not included.
Atwater Cocktail Club and Milky Way (Montreal, Quebec)
Although restaurants are not permitted to sell spirits to their customers in Quebec, that didn't stop them from getting in on the cocktail kit game. Ever since its introduction to the Montreal cocktail scene in 2016, Atwater Cocktail Club has been creating tropics-inspired cocktails. Channelling the same tropical energy is Milky Way, another vacation-forward cocktail bar in Montreal. Focusing on fruity flavours and spices, these luxurious cocktail bars never fail to disappoint, even during Covid-19.
In a collaboration titled #ACCatHome, Atwater Cocktail Club and Milky Way are selling cocktail mixes allowing you to add your own spirits to create a beach-worthy cocktail at home. This collaboration offers nine different cocktail mixes, each serving two people. There is a cocktail mix for everyone, whether you like it sweet or spicy. For those with a sweet tooth there's a classic Pina Colada, but for those who like it a little more intense they have the Glitter Green, which consists of lime, jalapeno, bitters and Tajin.
These cocktail mixes range from $10 to $13, so what are you waiting for?
Bar Mordecai (Toronto, Ont.)
With an aesthetic straight out of a Wes Anderson film, Bar Mordecai not only sells pop culture-inspired cocktails, but it has transformed its cool vibe into five different cocktail kits.
The most simple cocktail that they offer is the Tame Impala. It serves four, and includes tequila and ginger-chai-lime mix. On the other end of the spectrum is a complex and large format cocktail kit named the Japanese highball kit. This serves 12 cocktails, with whiskey left for sipping. It's comprised of Suntory Toki, Topo Chico, garnishes, house made syrups, cold draft ice, two glasses and most importantly, instructions and history on highballs.
These cocktail kits serve four to 12 people, and range from $45 to $120, so there is something for every budget.
Compass Distillery (Halifax, N.S.)
Compass Distillery is known for its flavours derived from local ingredients when it comes to its spirits. So, it is only natural that its cocktail kits reflect just that. There are three different cocktails to choose from: Busy Bee (fresh lemon juice, honey, Compass orange bitters), Squeeze the Day (fresh lemon juice, almond, honey, rose water) and Ginger Snap (fresh lime, ginger, cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, star anise, nutmeg, vanilla, brown sugar), all with a different spirit base.
These kits, at $45 each, are perfect for impressing your friends at your socially distanced dinner party, as the flavours are complex and will make you seem like the master bartender.
El Beso (Edmonton, AB)
Picture this. It's taco Tuesday at your house, your partner is pulling out the three-year-old taco seasoning and shredding the usual cheddar cheese, you're defrosting the whole wheat tortillas and wondering to yourself: what could possibly save this taco night?
Three words: tequila, mezcal and tacos. El Beso's signature slogan says it all: add a cocktail kit to your otherwise boring Taco Tuesday and oh baby!
El Beso has a variety of kits, ranging from classics like Palomas and margaritas to unique drinks like the Tequila Blood Moon (Casamigo Blanco, blood orange cold pressed juice,Token bitter and a El Beso Decanter.) No matter what kit you choose, in addition to all the ingredients for your cocktail, you will recieve the glassware necessary for serving the cocktail.
For when things are getting a little boring at the dinner table, these kits save the day.
Kenaston Wine Market (Winnipeg, MB)
Since 1994, Kenaston Wine Market has been bringing wine from around the world to Winnipeg, but in 2020, it's bringing cocktail kits--or should I say mocktail kits--to Winnipeggers, .
Kenaston lets you customize your alcohol-free mocktail kit by allowing you to choose between your preference of a lavender-lemon, grapefruit or a rhubarb and elderflower cordial, one of three non-alcoholic spirits, one tonic, simple syrup, rich demarara, lavender, mint, vanilla lemon or lime syrup and don't forget your bitters, citrus, hot pepper, cranberry rose, baking spice, lavender or manitoba aromatic bitters.
These kits don't use just any non-alcoholic substitute, they use the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirits, created by Seed Lip, provide your drink with the notes that you would recognize from spirits like gin and more.
For those who wouldn't dream of making a cocktail without something a little harder, Kenaston Wine Market has a cocktail basket that includes Lustau Red Vermut, Brut, Grapefruit tonic syrup, Abiding Citizen Rich Flavoured Syrup and bitters, giving you endless sparkling cocktail combinations.
Whether you want a mocktail or a cocktail, Kenaston's range of kits can cater to anyone.
Market (Calgary, AB)
Market, located in downtown Calgary, runs by the rules of "Cuisine du Marché," the concept of cooking with the freshest ingredients possible. Along with the usual fare, such as cured meats, cheeses and more, they are now offering takeout cocktail kits that follow their ideals of keeping things fresh.
They currently offer three different cocktail kits, ranging from $29 to $39: vodka black lemonade, which includes activated charcoal, a rum Pina Colada and a tequila mule. These cocktails are simple and quick, so even if you're in a hurry, you have time to shake up these fresh sips.
Odd Society Spirits (Vancouver, B.C.)
Located on Powell street, this small-batch distillery's newest creation is its Camp Cocktail Kits.
Curated for enjoyment outdoors, their Camp Cocktail Kits are packaged in a Coleman mini cooler and include a copper cocktail mug and come in two options: Camp Cocktail Gin Kit (Odd Society Spirits Wallflower Gin; Mixers and Elixirs Quince Shrub; Calister Brewing Co. ginger mint soda) or Camp Cocktail Amaro Kit (Odd Society Spirits Mongrel Unaged Rye; Odd Society Spirits Mia Amata Amaro; Calister Brewing Co. raspberry earl grey soda)
So, what are you waiting for? Pitch that tent and get to it.
These kits are available for free delivery and pick up from their distillery, orders can be placed online.
Pip food and drink (Edmonton, AB)
In the best of times, Pip only seats 28 tables, but with capacity caps and other social distancing measures, now is the perfect time to take a taste of Pip home.
Pip takes the road less travelled when it comes to cocktail kits, withl "Spritz Kits." By swapping out spirits for prosecco, Pip can offer a whole new range of cocktails like mimosas and aperol spritzes. They offer two sizes of each of their spritzes, so you can share… or not, we won't tell.
The simplest kit--a bottle of bubbly with your choice of fruit juice--costs $15, while you can order a more sophisticated kit for $49.
Project Gigglewater (Toronto, ON)
These include the Toilet Paper Greens (gin, lime, cucumber, mint and soda), the Keep Calm and Quarantine (Scotch, lemon, honey, ginger and lapsang souchong tea) and the Get Hype and Skype (Tequila, Pineapple, Lime, Peppermint Tea and Cardamom Bitters), to just name a few.
Government regulations dictate that food must be ordered with the cocktail kits, so they have two options to choose from: a bag of chips or a loaf of focaccia.
Proof (Calgary, AB)
Proof, a bar focused on old-fashioned cocktail culture, has the most impressive selection of cocktail kits by far.
Known for its mixology and dedication to the craft, it comes as no surprise that there are 13 cocktail boxes to choose from. There is a cocktail for everyone, from adventurous cocktails like the Fire in the Pharmacy (Proof's homemade ginger, honey and lemon mixture, mezcal and Islay scotch) to classics like Old Fashioneds and negronis.
With the cocktail mixes and the spirits included, just add ice and get shaking.
Reid's Distillery (Toronto, ON)
Reid's provides kits for those who are purely just dabbling in mixology to those who are ready to take their at-home bartending to the next level.
Of course, they offer the classic style of cocktail kit with all the fixings and their own house spirits, like the summer negroni, the French 75, build your own G&T, Reid's martini, blood orange negroni and last, but not least, their cassia-spiced negroni.
All kits come with everything you need and you can even add free ice to your order. Where Reid's kit really steals the show, though, is in its Spiced and Smoky G&T. Not only do you get a bottle of Reid's signature spiced gin, Three four-packs of tonic water and a garnish of your choice, you also get an Outset portable infusion smoker, cassia bark for smoking, cubeb berry distilled mister, batteries and matches. Don't know how to smoke a cocktail? No worries, Reid's has created a video to walk you through the process.
Become the ultimate legend with kits from Reid's.
Stumbletown Distilling (Saskatoon, SK)
The fine folks at Stumbletown Distilling in Saskatoon want to replicate the experience of being at their distillery. So, not only does their cocktail kit include necessities like three pre-made cocktails, it also comes with garnishes, two coupe glasses, roasted coconut curry mixed nuts, protein crisps, beef jerky, candle, and a Spotify playlist specially curated to include their favourite sipping tunes.
The cocktails selection accompanying the tunes are just as impressive as the snacks. Option A includes a pink negroni, a Lil Pick Me Up and Palm Trees and Poplars. Option B includes Fashionable People, Million Dollar Bill and Homeless by Choice.
If you're looking for something a little less intense, Stumbletown also offers individual Stumbler cocktails in 200-ml bottles. Since Stumbletown has done all the shaking and stirring for you, you can just pour and enjoy!