Updated: Apr 2


With homes turning into bars during the lockdown, there’s been a rise in homemade drinks. But when you need an easy fix to spare you the hassle, a ready-to-drink cocktail in a can, bottle or pouch is a brilliant time-saving option. There was interest in pre-made cocktails long before Covid hit, but the pandemic has sent sales soaring. There’s been a ready-to-drink revolution, and it’s shaking up the market. But which ones are good? Is it worth the time saved to buy ready-made?

The Ready to Drink Revolution

The premixed cocktail can be traced back to Andrew Heublein, an immigrant from Germany who moved to Hartford, Connecticut and opened a hotel in 1859. He was passionate about giving guests a tailored experience.

His sons, Gilbert and Louis, inherited this love for serving and went on to offer bottled cocktails for guests to take away, with drinks such as Manhattans and Martinis. These soon became known as Club Cocktails.

Gilbert and Louis turned Heublein’s into a national enterprise. Soon they had designed labels, acquired distribution and established a brand that inspired

competitors. “A better cocktail at home than is served over any bar in the world” became the slogan for advertising campaigns.

Thanks to the expansion of the bottling industry, sales grew exponentially. From 1869 to 1879, the number of bottles grew from 100 to 500, and by 1889 it had grown to nearly 14,000. The Heublein company flourished and soon began importing and producing spirits too. They became famous for bringing Smirnoff to the US, thus introducing Americans to vodka.

Over time premixed drinks became a staple on supermarket shelves. However, with cheap, bulk production, the proliferation of artificial ingredients, and candy-sweet blends, the premixed drink has historically paled in comparison to a freshly made beverage.

A Rise in Quality

Before the pandemic hit, select bars and bartenders were bottling their best selling beverages for customers to take away. During the lockdown, those small businesses and giants of the industry alike have upped production of premixed drinks to match desire.

Many bars forced to close have turned their attention to premixed cocktail delivery. It’s been a way for the hospitality industry to survive and even thrive. But what changes have been made, and which producers shall we look to for quality?

The Drinks Drop is a prime example of a company that has excelled in selling ready-made cocktails. Creating cocktails in partnership with some of the world’s top brands and bars, then delivering them to your door ready to drink. They focus on using quality ingredients and providing excellent service.

Pritesh Mody is another who saw the potential in premixed drinks early on. A regular Sunday Brunch presenter, Pritesh founded one of Europe’s leading pre-batch and bottle cocktail company: World of Zing. From Margarita’s with Nori Seaweed to Aquafaba in Whiskey Sours, they focus on showcasing innovative ingredients to intrigued consumers.

Shop Cuvee is another company looking to present customers with cocktails that, while convenient, are high on quality. They stock a range of innovative, complex cocktails made by multi-award-winning independent bars and restaurants like Thee Sheets Bars, Tayēr and Elementary and Mr Lyan.

What’s the Future of Drinks Delivery?

Throughout the pandemic, sales of ready-made cocktails have risen by a massive 416%. More people are seeking the convenience of online ordering for a more accessible cocktail experience. For those who can’t make it to the bars even when restrictions are lifted, they help bring the bar home so people can still enjoy favourites without worrying about supplying ingredients or washing up.

Realistically, though, premixed cocktails will never replace the theatrics of a cocktail bar experience. But they will help to bring our favourite tipples to a broader market and make them more accessible, both physically and financially.

Perhaps this Easter serves as the perfect time to try what’s out there. With such a fantastic choice and price range, you could grab a supermarket can or treat yourself to a top-shelf tipple. Get the roast on, put your feet up and pour yourself a premixed, perfectly balanced aperitif.

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