Looking for the best bottled cocktails to try? Premium pre-bottled cocktails have become increasingly popular as a way for us to enjoy our favourite drinks readymade, with minimal fuss and kit needed. Here are some of our favourites and, if you’re inspired to make your own, try our recipe for a pre-bottled dirty martini.
Best bottled cocktails
Campari have released an RTD version of their classic aperitivo. There are no surprises here, just a perfectly mixed Campari and soda (in winningly dinky glass bottles), designed to be served over ice with a wedge of orange.
Orange liqueur is traditionally used to sweeten a margarita, but a tommy’s margarita swaps in agave syrup for a lighter, fresher take on the classic cocktail. This zippy version, from new brand Pimentae, also comes laced with chilli for a fiery kick. Pour into a salt-rimmed glass and garnish with fresh chilli. We also love the beautiful bottle and its surrealism-inspired label design by London artist Kit Lintin.
Here at olive we’re fans of Black Cow’s creamy, silky vodka, made using cow’s whey, and their next innovation is a ready-to-drink negroni. Traditionally, this is a cocktail synonymous with the herbaceous kick of gin but here the Black Cow team have used vodka, plus Campari and a secret blend of bitters. It makes a classic-tasting negroni with citrussy notes and a smooth, rounded character. Sip over ice alongside a bowlful of buttery Nocellara olives.
Craving a cocktail from your favourite bar? The Drinks Drop offers cocktails from some of London and Manchester’s best drinking dens, in slim, letterbox-friendly packages. Each tipple comes in a reusable pouch that can be sent back via freepost for recycling. The best part about this scheme is the variety on offer – drinks range from Refuge’s Apple Crumble Sazerac to Artesian Bar’s Tanqueray Gimlet. We loved Hacha’s Sergeant Pepper, a bittersweet, vegetal twist on a margarita with tequila and red pepper-infused Campari, as well as Coupette’s delicate, floral Speyside Cosmopolitan with Eight Lands Vodka, cranberry, Lillet Rose and crème de mûre.
BrewDog Distilling Co have teamed up with Regal Rogue for a collection that matches its LoneWolf gin range with the Australian brand’s vermouths for some clever riffs on classic cocktails. The set of individual serves includes a fruity, gentle Wild Wolf sour and Paw Star Martini (a zesty take on a porn star martini) but our favourite is the Bold Wolf Negroni, which uses LoneWolf London Dry Gin, RR’s Bold Red Vermouth and Campari for a drink with elegant spiced notes. We also loved the Lively Wolf Martini, which features semi-dry vermouth for a bright, vibrant take on the cocktail.
This does exactly what it says on the tin. Send An Old Fashioned will post an individual serving (two and five packs also available) of the classic whisky cocktail, along with a message, to a friend or family member of your choosing. The drink itself – featuring Buffalo Trace, gomme arabic and a blend of bitters – hits the spot: silky smooth and satisfyingly boozy. Aperitivo fans should try the equally good Send a Negroni.
Did you know that you can help out-of-work bartenders by drinking their concoctions at home? This delivered-to-your-door subscription service aims to give something back, by handing 50% of each monthly kit’s proceeds directly to the bartender who mixed the cocktails.
Each box includes two servings of three different bespoke cocktails, created by mixologists such as Stefano Bussi (who was working at The Savoy’s iconic American Bar when the Covid-19 pandemic hit). Expect intricate, Savoy-worthy concoctions such as How Everything Starts, a riff on a margarita that’s made sophisticated and sharp with strawberry leaf-infused Cazcabel tequila, strawberry acid solution and a rub of lime peel. Highly drinkable and far fancier than anything we could have made ourselves at home.
Scan a QR code to watch the mixologist briefly introduce their trio of drinks, and you can even listen to a Spotify playlist (again, created by the bartender) while you sip. A garnish pouch is included – expect everything from a pickled strawberry to fresh mint – as well as glassware recommendations.
Liverpool sister bars Abditory and BoBo have launched a colourful collection of bottled cocktails. We liked the caramel notes in their roasted pineapple daiquiri, but our favourite is the super-zesty seville orange negroni. Featuring Aperol, rose vermouth, bergamot and homemade marmalade cordial, it’s bursting with citrussy oomph, with gentle bitterness. Served over ice, it’s a good option for those who find the in-your-face bitterness of a traditional negroni too full-on.
Charlie’s Classic Cocktails, from £30 for a monthly subscription or £40 for four, charliesclassiccocktails.com
Craving a classic tipple? These single-serve drinks come in pleasingly chunky square bottles and focus on canonical cocktails such as martinis, negronis and manhattans – all pre-diluted so you only need to chill before serving. Drinks come with a unique garnish – tiny atomiser bottles full of citrus peel oils so you can add a fragrant spritz to your drink (in place of a citrus twist). We added an aromatic orange accent to our super-smooth, well-balanced old fashioned, as well their gently herbaceous negroni.
Travel the world with these pre-bottled cocktails made using artisan spirits from small-batch producers. This lively, spiced, tropical cocktail combines four different craft rums from Panama, Martinique and Mauritius with almond liqueur, tiki bitters and lime. Pour over ice, put on your boldest patterned shirt and pretend you’re in a tiki bar.
This plush Italian bottle serves a classic negroni with smooth, well integrated flavours and a touch of citrus. Garnish with a slice of orange.
This sweet, well-balanced floral cocktail is served straight from the bottle at acclaimed Dalston bar Three Sheets, and now you can drink it at home. This take on the classic French 75 cocktail comes laced with dry moscato, Bombay Sapphire, Minus 8 ice wine verjus and orange flower water, and is then carbonated to give a super-smooth bubbly finish. Just be wary, it’s dangerously easy to drink! Find it – along with other pre-bottled cocktails from London’s best bars (from Scout’s tropical old fashioneds to jasmine mai tais from Tayēr + Elementary) – at Highbury wine bar turned drinks emporium Shop Cuvée.
Ryan Chetiyawardana’s acclaimed London bar Lyaness have branched out into bottled cocktails and the results are predictably impressive. Spritz fans will love the Strawberry Aperitivo. Designed to be drunk with fizz, sweet, fruity strawberry is winningly matched with bittersweet Aperol and savoury, herbaceous tequila – it’s delicious. We also tried an old fashioned made with vegan ‘honey’ that had all the boozy punch of the classic cocktail, alongside delicate apple notes and gentle spice, while the Onyx Negroni, made with the bar’s funky, bespoke spirit Onyx, is smooth and complex. Cocktails come in single as well as two- and five-people servings.
The bottled cocktail experts at World of Zing have given this punchy drink a tongue-tingling twist using szechuan brandy bitters to liven up the blend of Bulleit Bourbon and rosso vermouth. Made in London, steel ageing gives this classic whiskey cocktail an even smoother finish. Serve over ice in a tumbler with a slice of orange.
Made using produce grown in the Michelin-starred Black Swan at Olstead’s garden (and foraged nearby), damson-infused cognac is matched with fennel pollen distillate and the restaurant’s homemade red vermouth for a cocktail with mellow, lush fruitiness and herbaceous notes. This would pair beautifully with a cheeseboard.
This ultra-smooth take on the classic cocktail uses two different vermouths, a blend of orange and Angostura bitters and a touch of Luxardo cherry juice to make a punchy tipple with a hint of citrus and subtle sweetness. Serve with a cocktail cherry or twist of orange.
A crystalline, punchy blend of gin, English vodka, vermouth and bitter aromatic wines from the Handmade Cocktail Company – enjoy with a twist of lemon or topped up with tonic for a more mellow drink.
The classic marg gets an update with extra tang from Persian limes and a salty undertone from nori seaweed. Serve in a glass with a chilli-salt rim.
A blend of London dry gin, Italian vermouth and bitters infused with bergamot – with a sweet, floral note that makes it all too easy to knock back. This negroni from one of our favourite bars is a real winner. Sip while snacking on a bowl of buttery Nocellara olives.
Buck & Birch use their own nature-inspired spirits and liqueurs to create off-beat cocktails. This riff on an espresso martini uses birch caramel liqueur, birch vodka and coffee and the end result is smoky and layered, with nutty caramel notes. Special mention also goes to their Amarosa Old Fashioned, which uses rum and rosehip liqueur for an elegant, grown-up drink.
This take on a tommy’s margarita (where the triple sec is swapped for agave syrup) is super-smooth and at 12.7% ABV a little gentler than a classic marg, which makes it perfect for those who find the bolshy booziness of the original cocktail a little too much. Black Lines have also added a hint of chilli, which adds a pleasingly spicy kick to the drink that compliments the tequila.