Shaken boxes

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I think we should bring back cocktail hour.

Of course, cocktail hour is mainly associated with WASP-y functioning alcoholics and vapid Gatsby-style party girls, but just imagine everyone in the house assembling for a gin-soaked update on each other’s day so far, soundtracked by the glorious clinking of ice cubes in a perfectly-mixed concoction.

I do love a classic cocktail. So I was thrilled to receive something in the post that has helped me gen up (though alas, not gin up) on one of my favourites – the Manhattan. I recently got back into these after a killer sweet Manhattan at Kensington basement bar Dirty Bones, and just a few weeks later I was delivered a Shaken box.

Operating somewhere between a chocolate-tasting club and a Graze box (though far less liver-friendly), Shaken is a subscription cocktail service that sends you miniature doses of really good, artisanal booze and a booklet of great wisdom so you can shake up a few of your own and work on getting the balance right. They claim you’ll get at least four drinks (and a bit) out of each kit, so you could knock up a round and do it as a houseshare thing.

My Manhattans (featuring Four Roses small batch Kentucky bourbon) were delicious, and the booklet even told me how to throw together some more modern takes on the drink – though I stubbornly stuck with the original. Really good fun and an imaginative gift for those who still hope for a gong and a globe-shaped drinks cabinet when four pm rolls around.

Get your fix:
Shaken cocktail kits, from £24 for one per month.

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