Happy hour at home, anyone?

It’s a Tuesday night, you’re looking to unwind after a long day, and you’re not in the mood for wine. You want something different: a cocktail – but they’re complex. For a perfect espresso martini, for example, you require vodka, coffee liqueur, cold drip coffee, sugar syrup, and if you’re really feeling it, some coffee beans. Oh, and of course, your bar tools too: a jigger, a shaker and a strainer. Not everyone has that on hand.

That’s where Mel How, founder of The Cocktail Shop, comes in.

“I felt compelled to find a way for people to make bar quality cocktails at home without having to stock multiple bottles of expensive alcohol and unusual ingredients in their pantry.”

Her cocktail kits do just that, allowing us to make everything from Negroni’s to Martini’s at home. By providing us with all the ingredients we’d need, she takes the hard work out of the cocktails, leaving us with a great time.

I decided to go with my favourite, the espresso martini, and to my delight, the kit arrived quickly. Within it was all the ingredients I’d need for a perfect martini, from coffee beans to coffee liqueur. What stood out to me was that every product was locally sourced.

“By choosing local artisan distilleries and drink makers to supply The Cocktail Shop, we are supporting local jobs, keeping our environmental impact low, and contributing to the Australian economy,” Mel commented on the hyper-local sourcing, and I agree. In the age of the pandemic, it feels good to be supporting local Victorian businesses. Alongside being locally sourced, each element in the kit was thoughtfully designed. It was as much a pleasure opening it as it was making the cocktails – which were easy to make thanks to the handy recipe card provided in the kit.

Not only did the card outline the tools, ingredient amounts and method, but it also provided a QR code that linked to a video showing how to correctly shake a cocktail. First-time cocktail makers, like me, will find it incredibly useful.

When making the cocktails, I followed the instructions and created a cocktail that was just as good as one I would get at a bar. It was sweet without being overpowering, with a strong, smooth coffee taste. I especially appreciated the coffee beans which I used as a garnish, as they really tied the experience together. I felt like a genuine barista.

If you’d prefer a negroni…

There’s no doubt that a cocktail kit from The Cocktail Shop makes happy hour at home a lot more accessible and fun. If you aren’t a fan of drinking alone, do as I did and invite a friend over. Each cocktail kit makes three to four cocktails, so you can even invite two. If you’re not a fan of espresso martinis, don’t worry, there’s a variety of cocktails you can take your pick of. Simply have a look at their website and choose the one (or more) that most appeal to you.

– Daniela

Daniela Koulikov is a freelance writer who loves to get creative.

The Cocktail Shop has a variety of great kits available. For more information on their cocktail kit options and other goodies, take a look at their website.

The Plus Ones were invited guests of The Cocktail Shop.
Image credit: The Cocktail Shop