A few weeks ago, I shared a photo of our beverage center in our family room. I love built-in cabinets, probably because I am a kid of the 70s when built-in desks and bars were the rage.  During a renovation several years ago, I talked with our contractor about my idea for a beverage bar on an unused wall space in our family, and she thought it was a terrific idea. I sketched what I wanted, and off we went to make it happen. A nod to the retro cocktail parties is the smoky mirror backsplash. Mixing up a cocktail or an espresso on our bar makes me giddy.

Photo credit: Ralph Lauer and 817Magazine

Since we are still practicing social distancing, our parties are now for two. We like to curate new cocktails and have a library full of mixology books. But sometimes what you end up with isn’t quite what you hoped.  I thought it would be fun to try a monthly cocktail subscription box and make a “date night” of the experience. I just received my first box from Shaker and Spoon. The concept is simple – each month, Shaker and Spoon send you a kit full of ingredients to create a cocktail based on the month’s theme (check out my Instagram Stories to see me unbox the kit).

Shaker & Spoon was founded in 2015 in Brooklyn by two designers (Mike and Anna) with an overfilled liquor cabinet. Tired of buying apricot brandy and cream sherry and not using them again, of needing hard-to-find ingredients at 10 p.m., of trying that complicated cocktail recipe only to be disappointed once it didn’t turn out they embarked on their new business. Now, with their monthly cocktail club, you just pick up the bottle, and they take care of the rest.  With their help, you’ll mix that drink perfectly—and always be the tastemaker in your circle.

This month’s box is called the Girls Just Wanna Have Bourbon, which Mr. Bee will be super happy with because bourbon is his go-to.  Each box contains supplies to make three recipes – four drinks each, you provide the liquor. Shake, stir, muddle, and more: each box is built around one spirit, showcasing various styles of cocktail-making.  You can read more here about this month’s box – each with a unique story on the mixologists who create the recipes.

The recipe cards (and how-to videos) guide you through mixing and garnishing the cocktails, step by step, and the glossary explains any unfamiliar bartending terms. Just follow their instructions, and you’ll create bar-quality drinks for yourself and anyone you’d like to show off to! Here’s one of the recipes we will be mixing up this weekend “Baba, Let Me Tell You One Thing . . .” starts with an intensely flavored base of bourbon, lemon, tea, cardamom, and bitters and tops it off with the sharp and subtle spice of ginger beer. This is bourbon at its bubbliest, making for a perfect bridge over Dark and Stormy–reminiscent waters into brighter days ahead!

photo credit: Shaker and Spoon

Monthly subscriptions vary in price depending on your plan. I chose the $50 a month (you can cancel anytime), which if you divide it by twelve cocktails that run about $4 a cocktail, making it a happy hour worth celebrating, especially if you already have the liquor on-hand.  Here’s the link to subscribe and stir up some fun times!  Cheers!