Diner’s Notebook — Cocktail Courier brings Chicago’s best bartenders to your kitchen

SHARE Diner’s Notebook — Cocktail Courier brings Chicago’s best bartenders to your kitchen
SHARE Diner’s Notebook — Cocktail Courier brings Chicago’s best bartenders to your kitchen

BY ANTHONY TODD | FOR THE SUN-TIMES

Mixing up my nightly martini or manhattan is an important ritual, but it can occasionally get a little stale. That’s when I crack open one of my many cocktail books to look for ideas. Unfortunately, it sometimes seems like every fancy drink requires exotic ingredients – and I just don’t have any lavender-infused tequila handy on my bar. What’s a home mixer to do?

Enter Cocktail Courier, your opportunity to make bartender-created drinks at home. With the click of a button, you can order a box with all of the ingredients for a delicious cocktail party. It even includes instructions.

“On a Friday night, when you want a cocktail, you want the convenience of everything being delivered,” explains Cocktail Courier co-founder Scott Goldman. “These cocktails are meant to be made in just a few minutes.”

Cocktail Courier offers a rotating series of recipes from local bartenders. Right now, they’re featuring drinks by Peter Vestinos (The Betty), Liz Pearce (The Drifter) and Matty Eggleston (Nico Osteria). In addition, they have a couple of classic cocktails, called “Courier Classics,” that aren’t attributed to a particular mixer. “It’s tough for a bartender to say ‘I created a Margarita,’” laughs Goldman. “It’s just the classics that people should know.”

The Moscow Mule kit available from Chicago Courier. | COURTESY OF CHICAGO COURIER

The Moscow Mule kit available from Chicago Courier. | COURTESY OF CHICAGO COURIER

When you order, the package will be delivered to you at a time of your choosing (so you can make sure someone is there to accept it). It has everything you need but the tools. So, for example, the Pinup Sailor Daiquiri by Liz Pearce comes with a bottle of Sailor Jerry spiced rum, a bottle of Combier Pamplemousse liqueur, a bottle of fresh lime juice (squeezed and processed locally), a bottle of jalapeno simple syrup and a whole lime. It’s enough to serve four cocktails, and all you have to do is mix and stir.

“People don’t have to make a big investment to buy a bunch of whole bottles they don’t know if they’re going to like,” explains Goldman.

The price ranges from $6 to $10 per drink, and most kits serve four drinks. That price includes a tip for the bartender, tax and tip. If you go for a subscription (regular deliveries) you can get a small break on the price.

Let’s say you don’t have a home bar – Cocktail Courier will also sell you mixing tools. They’ve got some of the same tools the bartenders use, so you’ll be getting the best. But if you don’t want to buy tools, they’ll give you helpful alternatives. “We recognize not everyone has bar tools or wants to buy them, so we try to make things convenient,” explains Goldman. “So we’ll suggest substitutions for things like muddlers.”

The program launched in New York, but Chicago’s numbers are quickly growing – and Goldman thinks it might eventually overtake New York. “New Yorkers go out more to drink, because everyone lives in small spaces. In Chicago, the apartments are bigger and there are more house parties. Not only that, but it’s cold here! People stay in.”

So when you stay in, consider getting yourself a box of cocktails delivered.

Anthony Todd is a local freelance writer.

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