The busier I get, the more I prioritize essential pursuits and drop or delegate the less important. So, in theory, I like the idea of online orders and delivery services, but in practice it seems like they often fall a bit short. Convenience usually equals compromise in terms of price or quality. But not always….as I found testing out Paris’ latest cocktail delivery service a few weeks ago.
Nighthawks’ concept is simple and clear: deliver great cocktails to your door. Through their website you can choose from a selection of about 15 cocktails coming from three different bars (Persifleur, Le Calbar, and Maria Loca). The minimum order is two of the same cocktail, so a few weeks ago, I ordered up a couple of Le Ti Basque from le Calbar.
The Ti Basque arrived, as promised, at my door in about an hour. In the bag: a cold bottled cocktail, garnish and instructions. Total cost: 26 Euros, which included a 4 Euros delivery charge and is about the same price as you’d pay in a bar.
While my initial thought was….do I need premade cocktails to come to me? After all, I’ve got both the ingredients and the inclination to mix my own. But, ultimately I was surprised at how much I enjoyed my drink delivery. It was basically zero work, a reasonable price and above average quality. Le Ti Basque has both some heat from the Pimente d’espelette as well as some burn from the booze (mainly rhum) so it’s perfect served over ice (as instructed,) which dilutes the drink over time making it a great slow sipper.
Speaking of ice, I was thinking that it would be fantastic to see an ice add on option here. I mentioned this when I met the team behind this concept at Cocktails Spirits recently, and they tell me it’s already on the list of future projects – as well as adding additional bars and possible expansion to other cities.
I also note that they have the Woody Wood from Maria Loca – I’m a big fan of that one. While, I haven’t had an opportunity to work through the rest of the drinks, it’s looks like a good range and includes enough ingredients of the kind that the average person won’t necessarily have around the house to make the delivery aspect more interesting.
The website is easy to use with cocktails listed by bar or a list of the “Best of.” There is also a search function that lets you choose drinks based on base spirits or other ingredients. The cocktails are bottled ahead of time and stored in some central location. They are made, on order, in each bar just before being picked up by the courier.
And, while we’re talking booze coming to your door, I’ve recently come across two other options worth exploring. Boite a Biere is a monthly delivery of a 6pack of artisanal French beers (3 different brands in each box.) I tested a Boite over an aperitif recently. It worked nicely for an apero as both something to serve and a conversation point with the three different options that go beyond the typical cheap blonde beer. Also, because I spend a lot of time with cocktails, it was a refreshing change of pace to focus on beers and I really like the surprise aspect (what’s in my box?!). Plus it includes some interesting information and tasting notes for each brew and little pressies like bottle openers. So, if you’re a beer lover (or know one) you might want to check their site out.
Finally, I just learned about KOL, which is a spirits and drinks delivery service. I haven’t had the chance to test it, but the prices look reasonable and, while the selection is limited, it includes a range from somewhat bottom shelf options (Gibson’s Gin) to the socially conscious FAIR vodka to an impressive Nikka whiskey. So, it seems like there’s a little something for everyone. Additionally they do a couple of “cocktail packs” with a Moscow mule and Aperol Spritz option. Although, rather than the premade bottled cocktails that you’ll get from Nighthawks in scalable sizes, these DIY packs just include the bottles for you to make your own.
Overall, having previously tried one of Paris’ cocktail delivery services with zero success, I was wary. But, Nighthawks surpassed my expectations and proved to be a worthy option for home cocktails without the work. Even for someone like me who likes shaking or stirring something up – sometimes it’s nice just to put up your feet and let someone else do the heavy lifting.