7 Best Cocktail Kits That’ll Bring Out Your Inner Bartender

Updated: Apr. 08, 2024

It's time for your mixology skills to shine. These cocktail kits let you shake up go-to favorites or modern twists on classic drinks. Cheers to that!

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Cocktail kits—sometimes called cocktail subscription boxes and cocktail basket gifts—are one of the most thoughtful gifts for foodies who celebrate happy hour. Imagine a soup gift basket, but instead of chicken noodle and crackers, you’ll get garnishes, mixers and barware. Meant to expand the budding bartender’s horizons, cocktail kits offer recipes and ingredients that are typically difficult to find.

While most cocktail kits don’t arrive with any alcohol due to complications shipping over state lines, they make up for that omission by offering high quality ingredients or specialty tools. Because these kits come prearranged with a mélange of items for making one or more specialty cocktails, they simulate the experience of enjoying a drink at a fancy lounge—without leaving the house. They also make fantastic birthday gifts.

Both experienced mixologists and beginner bartenders benefit from trying out a cocktail kit, according to craft cocktail savant Lynnette Marrero. “The items you get in the cocktail kits tend to be a little more bespoke,” she says. “They are generally custom syrups or mixers and the cocktails can be very creative. Companies like Shaker and Spoon curate cocktails from Bartenders across the US and you can see some really cool combinations.”

Whether you’re looking for a kit that offers tools, mixers or simply high-quality ingredients to level up your go-to drink, there’s a cocktail kit for every five o’clock fan. We mixed and muddled over 16 different cocktails to create this list of the top cocktail kits and brands. Here are the ones worth buying.

Happy Hour At Home
Emily Way/Taste of Home EMILY WAY/TASTE OF HOME

Best Overall Cocktail Kit

Happy Hour at Home Set


  • Comes with an assortment of drink starters
  • Optional add-on includes barware spoon and jigger
  • Sleek, giftable packaging
  • Includes high quality, gourmet mixers and garnishes
  • Great for both stocking a bar or gifting


  • Pricey

Whether you’re looking for cocktail kits to keep or to gift, you can’t go wrong with the Happy Hour at Home gourmet cocktail kit from Here Here Market. Similar to GoldBelly, Here Here Market offers an array of snacks and gourmet ingredients in both a buy-it-now format or as subscription-based food boxes. Boasting a sleek, giftable branded box and bursting with high quality inclusions, this cocktail kit sparks endless inspiration for both cocktail connoisseurs and budding bartenders alike.

Choose from a cocktail box that includes barware, or opt for the more inexpensive version if you already have a barware spoon and jigger in your arsenal. I tested the kit that includes the barware. Both pieces are sturdy and impressive—I expect to get years of use from each.

Happy Hour At Home Set in a box on a table
Emily Way/Taste of Home

The contents of this kit is by far the most impressive out of all the cocktail kits I tested. Inside is a jar of cocktail cherries and a glossy gold serving spoon from Cellar Door Preserves, Good ‘Old Fashioned’ Chicago cocktail syrup, strawberry lavender rosemary tulsi tea from Enroot, Sweet Haven Tonics ginger lime and peppercorn concentrate and the Disco Citrus variety pack by Earl Giles Bottling Co. The kit also works well as a companion to a charcuterie gift.

Not only did the contents feel handpicked and high quality, but I loved that each inclusion had its own card with brand information and a QR code to repurchase. I particularly enjoyed the Enroot tea and cocktail cherries—both completely blew away my expectations. I can confidently say that this is the set I’ll keep in mind for future gifting, and I even came away with a few new favorite brands to stock my home bar cart!

Sugarwish Cocktail Mixer Gift
Emily Way/Taste of Home EMILY WAY/TASTE OF HOME

Best Cocktail Kit Gift

Sugarwish Cocktail Mixer Gift


  • Recipient chooses their own flavors
  • Choice of 2, 3, 4, 6, 9 or 12 mixers
  • Beautiful, giftable display box included
  • More than 20 mixer options
  • Generously-sized bottles
  • Made with fresh fruit and all natural ingredients


  • No garnishes or barware included

Don’t guess which spirit your giftee prefers. Instead, send them a Sugarwish gift and let them choose their own favorites! This easy-to-use gifting service is already our go-to for giving candy, cookies, coffee (check out our full review of all three here!), so when we discovered that they also send all-natural fruit cocktail mixers we had to give it a try.

Sugarwish offers the option to choose several gift sizes, from a small three-bottle box to a behemoth variety pack containing 12 different choices. Simply choose the size you’d like to gift, then enter the recipient’s email address. They’ll then get the option to pick their own favorites. I snagged a large box and chose the simple margarita, blackberry lemonade, spiced cherry mule and pineapple mule options. From there, the box arrived on my doorstep just a few days later.

Sugarwish Cocktail Mixer with a glass and a jar on a table
Emily Way/Taste of Home

I’ve both gifted and been the recipient of a Sugarwish snack box in the past, but the box the cocktail mixers come in is by far the prettiest one I’ve received. It’s sleek, pretty and sturdy enough to reuse for storage later. Inside, my cocktail kit came with four eight-ounce glass bottles (enough for at least two drinks each), each with its own charming label. The gift box also arrives with a coaster featuring a QR code you can scan for recipes.

Most of the options I chose—aside from the simple margarita—offered two different spirit suggestions and a no-frills recipe on the back of the bottle. This is especially helpful for anyone new to mixing their own cocktails. No garnishes or barware are required or included, though it might be a cute idea to bundle this gift with a few barware accessories to go alongside. Each mixer is flavorful and fresh, and I was glad to see they’re made with only natural ingredients.

5 O'clock Box Old Fashioned Kit
Emily Way/Taste of Home EMILY WAY/TASTE OF HOME

Best Old Fashioned Kit

5 O'Clock Box Old Fashioned Kit


  • Chocolate bitters and three-chile simple syrup offer a twist on this classic
  • Comes with a jigger for measuring bourbon or whiskey
  • Includes mandarin chip garnish
  • Yields eight cocktails
  • Clean, gift-ready packaging
  • Affordably priced


  • Not as spicy as expected

Flower subscriptions make great gifts, but sometimes spicy is the vibe. The 5 O’Clock Box comes in an array of options that cover a wide strata of drinks, but our favorite is the classic Old Fashioned cocktail kit. Each comes bursting with a sweet and spicy kick. It’s the perfect pick for anyone who wants to experiment with a spin on one of the most popular cocktail drinks.

5 O'clock Box Old Fashioned Kit arrange on a table
Emily Way/Taste of Home

Everything inside the kit is neatly packed and presented, making it a great gift (or self care package!). Kicky three-chili syrup brings much needed heat, whereas the chocolate bitters offer a deep, rich flavor profile. I especially enjoyed the inclusion of a small jigger, biodegradable cocktail stirrers and dried mandarines for garnish. By the time my cocktail was ready, it was almost too pretty to enjoy—almost.

While I personally could have done with a little more heat from the spiced three-chili syrup, I can’t think of a better companion to my collection of cheese subscriptions. The cocktail kit comes with an easy-to-follow instruction card that’s a good guideline, but it’s totally possible to tailor the recipe to your taste, too.

Sugarwish Cocktail Mixer Gift
Emily Way/Taste of Home EMILY WAY/TASTE OF HOME

Best Cocktail Smoker Kit

Aged and Charred Cocktail Smoker Kit


  • Comes with torch and butane
  • Offers four different types of wood chips to start
  • Smoking lid is easy to use and high quality
  • Kit comes with an extra mesh and cleaning brush
  • Detailed instructions included


  • Lid won't fit all glasses
  • No mixers or garnishes included

After gifting my dad a cocktail smoking set for his birthday, I was secretly curious about making my own smoky drinks. After tons of research and some firsthand testing, I found that the Aged and Charred cocktail smoker kit is the best option on the market.

Not only is it budget friendly for being so high quality, but this cocktail kit includes nearly everything necessary to start smoking cocktails for parties or happy hour. Inside the kit is an array of four different types of wood chips, a butane torch, fuel, two meshes, a cleaning brush and the smoker lid. There’s also the option to snag a box without the butane or an upgraded version with a gift friendly wooden crate that doubles as storage.

Wielding a torch on a wooden surface of a jar
Emily Way/Taste of Home

Admittedly, I’m a bit of a klutz, so the prospect of wielding a torch frightened me a bit. However, a card containing very detailed instructions (along with helpful illustrations) set me at ease. It’s surprisingly simple and safe. While the beveled lid that holds the wood chips offers lots of room, it’s worth mentioning that it may not fit on all glasses. That said, I had no trouble with mine.

The butane torch filled up and operated flawlessly. It’s super satisfying charring up the wood chips and watching the smoke drop into the glass. From there, just pop the lid on top of the smoking block to seal in the flavor for a few minutes.

My result was a smoky bourbon that soaked up the Applewood flavor of the wood chips beautifully. According to the company, these kits can even function as smokers for small amounts of food like cheese. Talk about upgrading your culinary skills with a cocktail kit!

W&p Travel Cocktail Kit

Best Travel Cocktail Kit

W&P Travel Cocktail Kit


  • Fits right in your pocket
  • Very inexpensive
  • Comes with mini barware
  • Mixer inclusions are high quality and TSA-friendly
  • Three cocktail options to choose from


  • Only comes with enough for two cocktails, but easily refillable

Hopping on a train or hitting the trail? This small, portable travel cocktail kit contains everything necessary for two craft cocktails—and it fits right in a pocket! While there are a few popular cocktails to choose from, I tried the TSA-friendly old fashioned kit, which is a good pick for both gifting and enjoying yourself.

W&p Travel Cocktail Kit
Emily Way/Taste of Home

At less than five inches long, each tin easily slides into a pocket or bag. Inside is a recipe card, plus a little muddler spoon, measuring cup, linen carrying pouch, a small linen coaster, two sticks of cane sugar and a small 2.8 mL bottle of bitters. Just bring your own bourbon or whiskey and a glass for a truly travel-ready experience.

Despite the small size, the ingredients feel high quality. The resulting drink was delicious—almost as good as the old fashioned kit featured earlier, though far more traditional. The mini jigger and muddler spoon worked very well and are the perfect addition to my camp equipment. Because the kit is so small, it only contains enough ingredients for two cocktails. That said, I plan to refill mine for future escapades.

Toha24 Raising The Bar Cocktail Subscription Emily Way 11 Msedit A
Emily Way/Taste of Home EMILY WAY/TASTE OF HOME

Best Mocktail Kit

Raising the Bar Cocktail Subscription


  • Every box offers a few different cocktail recipes using the mocktail mixer of choice
  • Great way to explore NA cocktail brands
  • Sleek packaging works well as a gift
  • Limited-time option to repurchase past boxes
  • High quality inclusions from boutique brands and small businesses


  • Past boxes cost more than enjoying them with a subscription
  • No barware included

Looking for a classic cocktail experience, but without the alcohol? Whether it’s for Dry January or just because, the non-alcoholic cocktail kits from Raising the Bar are a worthy addition to our collection of favorite subscription boxes for foodies. The way it works is simple—just subscribe to the service for a monthly cocktail kit delivery featuring the a sampling of non alcoholic ingredients.

My subscription came with the Smokeshow set, highlighting Cut Above zero-proof spirits. Inside is a recipe booklet that comes with instructions on a few separate drinks, along with the ingredients for each. The Smokeshow box includes a bottle of Cut Above Mezcal, a sample of the brand’s Agave Blanco, lemon juice in a charming lemon slice container, a little honey bear, an Oliver Pluff & Co black tea sachet, cherry juice, a honeycomb and can of non-alcoholic Mai Tai drink.

The ingredients are incredibly high quality and arrive in sleek packaging, so it doesn’t just feel like drinking another mocktail made of fruit juice. All boxes are available for one-time purchase, but only after the month concludes. Boxes are also only available as long as supplies last and usually priced higher than the monthly subscription cost, so the best and most consistent way to enjoy them is via a reoccurring delivery.

Raising The Bar Cocktail Subscription
Emily Way/Taste of Home

Using the ingredients, I mixed up the mezcal with the lemon juice, honey and honeycomb to make a zero-proof Smokeshow cocktail. I’m blown away by the fact that it was totally alcohol-free. There’s a depth to the smoked mezcal that added much-needed character to the cocktail. My husband, who doesn’t drink, could barely believe there wasn’t any alcohol.


  • Nearly 50 different kits to choose from
  • Choose from a one-time purchase or monthly subscription
  • Comes with everything (minus the alcohol)
  • Able to repurchase past boxes and ingredients until they sell out
  • Easy-to-send gifting options
  • Able to swap out upcoming boxes that don't appeal to you


  • No barware included

Shaker and Spoon offers dozens of cocktail kits for both master mixers and budding bartenders alike. Their library of boxes covers a range of spirits, from rum to champagne and everything in between. Choose from one of their ready-made boxes, or opt for their monthly subscription if you’re interested in trying new mixers and garnishes each month. While the boxes don’t include alcohol, you can head over to Curiada and snag the Shaker and Spoon recommended selections for each box there. Or, use your favorite brands instead.

“As a budding mixologist, I was truly blown away by the attention to detail included inside this Ginspirations cocktail kit from Shaker and Spoon,” says Shopping Editor Madi Koetting. “Gin typically isn’t my spirit of choice, so I chose this kit to better understand what ingredients pair well with the liquor and sharpen my gin-based cocktail chops,” adds Madi.

Shaker And Spoon
Cher Checchio/Taste of Home

“The box arrived with all the ingredients and recipe cards for mixing three different cocktail recipes to serve two people (minus the gin, of course). It’s the special details like salted nori extract and lavender bitters spray that truly made it feel like I was sipping drinks in a high-end cocktail lounge,” Madi says. How’s that for the best cocktail kits?

It’s also the perfect pick for newbies in the cocktail space. “I never would have thought to put some of these ingredients together, so it was nice to have these options to mix up my rum cocktails, especially as a Jamaican,” says former Shopping Editor, Cher Checchio, who tried the Born to Rum kit.

What to Look for When Buying Cocktail Kits

According to Marrero, the best cocktail kits offer items with shelf stable ingredients and a variety of unique inclusions. Many cocktail kits boast small business, worldly and boutique inclusions you won’t find at your average grocery store. This makes them an excellent option for home mixologists looking to level up their skills. “I would look for items that you cannot generally buy for yourself. Also, kits that have the flexibility to make a few cocktails usually are my go-to,” she says.

Also, consider your intention. Those seeking cocktail kits for themselves should explore high quality ingredients and bespoke brands. When gifting a cocktail kit as a hostess gift or to celebrate a new job, think about options that offer extras like sleek packaging, barware and flexibility for the recipient. Unless you know that they prefer gin over whiskey, it’s best to opt for kits that cover a range of spirits rather than celebrating one.

Why You Should Trust Us

As Taste of Home’s resident food and drink expert, I’ve tasted everything from the best fruit clubs to cookie of the month clubs and beyond. Combined, our team has decades of experience testing and evaluating everything from the best cleaning subscriptions to coffee clubs and baking boxes. While choosing inclusions for the best cocktail kits, we focused on finding options that not only offer gourmet inclusions and a ton of variety, but also a solid bang for our buck.

In order to inform this piece on the best cocktail kits, I also reached out to Lynnette Marrero, bartending guru and craft cocktail savant, for her thoughts on what makes a good cocktail kit. Marrero also serves as the Latiné co-creator of the Speed Rack international inclusive women bartending competition, a MasterClass Mixology teacher as well as the mixologist behind JLo’s new line of ready-to-drink Delola beverages.

We Mixed Up Over 20 Drinks

There are dozens—if not hundreds—of cocktail kits out there. Some kits come marketed as high quality gifts, while others offer more classic cocktail options that make them best for budding bartenders. Others have inclusions suited towards folks who are looking for new flavors.

In order to narrow down our list, we first researched 3o cocktail kits, looking at value, skill level, breadth of offerings and inclusions. From there, our team tested the top 16 kits. While testing at our own bar carts, we kept in mind typical ingredients and tools in the average person’s home. All in all—and after mixing and sipping on over 20 different drinks—we came up with this list of the best cocktail kits for gifting, exploring and enjoying at home.