REVIEW: Living the high life: the Penthouse Cocktails DIY cocktail box

We love a good cocktail, who doesn’t? A glass of exciting flavours, crisp lumps of ice with smooth spirits swirling and combining. A really good cocktail can make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on edge with joy; it’s no wonder we, as a nation, go mad for them

The combinations and flavours can be exotic and playful, smooth and sophisticated – it’s relatively easy to find some mediocre recipes online, but how about a curated experience brought to you by two people who really know their stuff?

Let me introduce Dining Devon readers to Penthouse Cocktails. A new business that brings a diverse range of exciting, playful, accessible and sophisticated cocktails straight to your home. For £31.99 you get four cocktails, free shipping, all the spirits and mixers you’ll need and fresh garnishes. If you don’t have all the equipment, no worries, they can sell you some top quality cocktail implements to get you started.

You might remember Penthouse Cocktails from our last 10 Questions Interview, where we interviewed founders Jonny and Meg. Two people who live and breathe the art of cocktails, and it comes across in the quality of the product, the time and thought that has gone into the flavours – they’ve created a cocktail box that is both Chris-proof (translation: idiot proof), fun to make and absolutely sock-knockingly lush whether full ABV or low/non-alcoholic.

Keep reading to the end for details of our competition we’re running with Penthouse Cocktails!

We were lucky and honoured to be sent a review box (#ad) to try out for ourselves. For transparency the box was provided by Penthouse Cocktails for review purposes.

The first thing that I have to say is how attentive the service was. We had some issues in getting the box delivered because our block’s intercom is (still after three months) broken and getting anything delivered is a massive pain in the proverbial. But no problem, replies were quick and really helpful, there was an open line of communication through each step of the process.

Once we had the box in my grubby claws, I couldn’t wait to get started. Would I suddenly discover my lost calling as a mixologist? Frankly no. I’ll stick to wrangling books for a living. But for a brief moment, I was creating sublime cocktails with help from their easy-to-follow recipe cards that are included with each cocktail, and the super helpful YouTube videos that accompany each card.

We chose four cocktails, a mixed spread of flavours.

Tonight we were trying out: Movie Night, Apple Crush, Southern Peach Julep and The Curry Club.

The box is chocked full of everything you need to make these flavourful cocktails – as soon as you receive your box, make sure you open it up and put anything that needs refrigerating in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

The Movie Night

For me, this hit all of right notes. When I picked it, I was looking forward to this one in particular given I am a massive fan of butterscotch and popcorn, so this one was a definite. In terms of prep, it was reasonably involved and had me making popcorn as well – as part of the final presentation, it would sit neatly on the side of the glass in a cone, just like at the cinema! Special cone and peg provided.

The ingredients for this included Monin Popcorn Syrup, Skipper Demerara Rum, and that Spanish classic Teichenné butterscotch liquer. Mixed together with ice, I managed to make last most of the evening.

I had to admit that I didn’t manage to get the cone to stay on as I was most probably using a glass that was too small which was most probably a bit of a noob mistake, but no matter the end result was icy smooth, sweet and salty which was just calling for more popcorn!

The Apple Crush

This was a perfect palette cleanser as we moved onto the other cocktails that had a very different flavour profile. A light refreshing cocktail that goes far beyond just ‘apple’ flavour. Containing apple and lemon juice, the party really starts when the Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka, Briotett Manzana Verde apple liquer and the Monin gingerbread syrup.

With notes of cinnamon and a really warming sweetness from the gingerbread syrup it hit a nostalgia spot reminding me of apple crumble! This was easy to prepare, apart from the Apple fan which I had to delegate. We loved this final touch to a flavourful and exciting drink.

The Curry Club

Don’t be fooled into thinking for one moment that this cocktail tastes of curry. The complex palette, the slight nose of that familiar warmth and the sweetness of the mango notes made this cocktail one I was really glad I tried!

We cracked out the cocktail shaker for this one. What followed was some rubbish pouring into a large glass which I was certain would give it some class. After much shaking we’d poured out the cocktail, a gorgeous bright orange coming from the carrot juice and mixed together with Tanqueray Gin, a home-made curry leaf syrup, Geeta’s Mango Chutney and some lemon juice.

If this cocktail made a noise, it’d be a Bollywood number with dancers, fireworks, and a strangely dubbed soundtrack that included a song about eternal love and/or marrying the right person. On the tongue there were notes of curry leaf, the mango chutney and the lemon juice provided a sweet tartness that went incredibly with the gin. I can’t say much for my presentation (I’m stealing Penthouse Cocktail’s website image) but it was a cocktail I would gladly pick again.

The Southern Peach Julep

Our final cocktail from the box was a fascinating and delightful Southern Peach Julep. Taking inspiration from the North American deep south, it took us on a metaphoric trip to the banks of the Mississippi with strong flavours, cool ice cubes and a classic garnish. It includes Buffalo Trace Bourbon, William Fox thyme syrup, Funkin Pro peach puree and finished off with Fee Brothers Peach bitters.

I am a massive whisk(e)y/bourbon fan so I really enjoyed this playful take on the complex flavours that bourbon can provide. Again, it was a nice easy cocktail to create with minimal faffing.

The box comes filled with dissolvable packaging, they look like big pink wotsits but add water and they dissolve into nothing. The cardboard box is recyclable and in areas that recycle plastic, the bottles can also be disposed of too.

What do I think?

Penthouse Cocktails have really nailed the experience of creating delicious accessible cocktails at home. The instructions are crystal clear, the YouTube videos are an effective touch and cater for all; the ingredients are fresh and their range of cocktails are well thought out with some are playful and fun like The Movie Night and The Birthday Cake, with others sophisticated and exciting like The Ginger Mexican and The Oak Moss. It’s worth taking a look at their full range, with new ones being added regularly, there is something for all tastes.

Whether it’s for a special occasion, or just as an end-of-week treat, a Penthouse Cocktail box is going to bring fun and flavour to any alcoholic, or non-alcoholic proceedings.

Remember that non-alcoholic/low ABV versions of all of these delightful cocktails are available too. Although we didn’t have any of the low-ABV ones, the care and attention to detail that went into the full ABV range make me confident that no matter which one you have, it’s going to taste great. Keep your peepers peeled for some of the spooky goings on from Penthouse Cocktails as we approach Halloween, and #soberforoctober!

Competition: win your very own cocktail box!

You can win your very own cocktail box by entering our little competition Dining Devon is running with Penthouse Cocktails. Have a look at our socials and keep an eye out for the competition posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – find the competition posts, then like them, follow Penthouse Cocktails and tag a friend(s) who you’d share a Penthouse Cocktail box with!

ⓒ All images and text copyright Dining Devon 2022 – Views expressed are solely that of Dining Devon and has not been influenced by any third party. Items included in this review have been provided gratis for review purposes.

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