Dining Devon loves a good cocktail. Often it’s one of us who are quick to scan their eyes across to the cocktail section of any good drinks menu, so when Penthouse Cocktails approached us to work with them to spread the word, we jumped at the opportunity.
Run by husband and wife team, Jonny and Meg, Penthouse Cocktails has just launched their incredible Cocktail Box business that aims to bring new flavours and an exciting drinking experience you can have at home. Perfect for a special event or even a just a Friday treat!
So, grab a cocktail (mine is a Mai Tai!) and prepare yourself for 10 Questions with Penthouse Cocktails.
- Who are you and what do you do?
We are husband and wife Jonny and Meg, and ever since we met we’ve loved cocktails, cocktail bars and all things cocktail related. Our early attempts at making cocktails at home were laughable, but quickly we became good at replicating recipes and later progressed to creating our own cocktails. We even wrote special ‘bride’s and groom’s choice’ cocktail recipes for our wedding six years ago.
We have just launched ‘Penthouse Cocktails’, an online drinks business providing high-quality, innovative and accessible drinks boxes that contain everything you need to make four delicious cocktails, including the all-important garnishes. Our aim is to provide that ‘cocktail theatre’ experience just like you would have if you were paying double-digits a drink in a bar.
- I love cocktails! What inspired you to start your business?
During lockdown we enjoyed some of the cocktail boxes that bars had come up with (having now done so ourselves we take our hats off to them for accomplishing it such a short space of time!). After lockdown we hosted cocktail parties for our friends and they became quite professional, with printed menu books and interesting garnishes. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and we wanted everyone to enjoy bar-standard cocktails at home, faff free.
At the moment we both work full time jobs so Penthouse Cocktails started as a side hustle that we have ambitions to make our full time careers.
As for the name – we created this business when we lived in a small penthouse in Exeter. In a more abstract sense, penthouses are classy and elegant, which is exactly how we want our customers to feel when drinking our cocktails.
- What, for you, makes or breaks a cocktail?
Cocktails should surprise and delight you and if it doesn’t do that, you’re playing it too safe and should stick to the wine. There is an entire planet of flavours out there to be enjoyed in cocktails. Too often people reach for the classics like Mojitos and Espresso Martinis and while they have their place, why stick with the familiar?
- Non-alcoholic alternatives are really coming in to their own, what do you have for those who
don’t drink or are cutting down?
Non-alcoholic alternatives are really coming in to their own, what do you have for those who
don’t drink or are cutting down?
A core part of our ethos is that no one who doesn’t drink should have to compromise on the ritual, flavour and theatre of a cocktail. Megan drinks alcohol but Jonny doesn’t- by making our cocktails with both a full ABV and a low/no option both of us can enjoy the same great drinking experience and this is something we want to share with our customers.
Fortunately, there has been an explosion of high quality and varied non-alcoholic drinks products ranging from whiskeys to aperitifs. This business simply wouldn’t be able to exist five years ago, so we live in very exciting times for non-drinkers and anyone looking to reduce their alcohol intake.
- Where do you get the inspiration for the cocktails you sell?
Some cocktails are inspired directly by food recipes, such as the Curry Club that uses mango chutney, homemade curry leaf syrup and carrot juice! Sounds weird but trust us it really works. Other sources of inspiration are familiar flavours and ingredients that we think would work well in a drink such as popcorn, bubblegum, and banoffee pie.
Our recipe selection reflects what we enjoy at home, you won’t find any Woo-Woos or Blue Lagoons here! What you will find is a handpicked range of cocktails made with a variety of spirits and high-quality bought-in or homemade ingredients; to suit any taste or palate.
- Who are some of the suppliers that you use to create your cocktail boxes?
We use a whole host of suppliers! There are household names in there such as Tanqueray, Havana and Monin as well as some great smaller producers like Skipper Rum and William Fox. We have also fully embraced the amazing range of non-alcoholic spirit companies such as CleanCo, Lyres and Strykk.
It’s not just the consumable products that make up a box either. We use Digital Printing UK for all our print work and labels, and we get our little drinks bottles from Holyart in Italy, who supply
religious paraphernalia. Those bottles are actually meant for holy water, but now of course they
contain a different kind of spirit…
7. Who are some of the suppliers that you use to create your cocktail boxes?
I am sure there will be a few readers who are wondering how sustainable your boxes are, can you recycle the components of the boxes after use?
We are working hard to reduce our carbon footprint and minimise waste.
- The boxes are fully recyclable
- The packing peanuts can be run under water until they dissolve
- All recipe cards are fully recyclable
- The PET plastic bottles, and PP tubs are recyclable where facilities exist
- Any straws that come with the recipes are fully biodegradable
- The outer blue bag and bubble wrap is recyclable
- Garnishes are supplied in paper pouches rather than plastic bags where possible.
We are working to increase our sustainability and reduce the amount of non-recyclable waste and while we are not 100% recyclable right now, we hope to be in the future.
- We’re fully in summer right now, what for you, is the best summer cocktail to see you through the hot weather?
If you’re at a barbecue or a garden party, something crisp, a bit larger and refreshing is best, like our Chocolate Orange Spritz. Anything with fizz works, such as the Peter Rabbit that features classic British summer flavours like cucumber tonic, sugar snap shrub and gin. Any drink that involves a lot of effort is no good in this heat, so fortunately our cocktails are a doddle to make. As the evening draws in, we both love to enjoy a Negroni (full boozy for Meg, non-alcoholic for Jonny).
- Some of our readers are vegetarian or vegan, are these cocktails suitable for those who avoid animal products?
The majority of our cocktails are vegan. We use oat milk instead of dairy, which has the added
advantage of travelling and keeping much better than milk! We use aquafaba instead of egg white. If a cocktail is suitable for vegans we have clearly marked it as such on the website.
- What does the future hold for Penthouse Cocktails? Will you be opening a bar anytime soon or is it purely mail order?
We are a small business with big ambitions – we want to be the Gousto/Hello Fresh of the drinking space and bring ‘cocktails at home’ to the mainstream. As such our drinks are innovative, exciting but aren’t so wacky that they put people off. The cocktail scene is several years behind food in that respect, for example if you asked for Zaatar 10 years ago you might get funny looks!
The non-alcoholic market in particular has yet to reach maturity so this is a big opportunity to take the fantastic raw products that are out there and make them shine. We have big plans for the coming year with new boxes and cocktails being released, such as event specific boxes like Christmas and Hen-do’s.
We are also very keen to work with local producers to champion their products, not just full ABV and non-alcoholic spirits but also ingredients such as curds, fruits, syrups, cordials etc.
For more information, or to order a box of your own head to www.penthousecocktails.co.uk/
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