Cocktail Kit Travel Bag from NIO Cocktails

Stuart Forster reviews the experience of heading out with a Cocktail Kit Travel Bag from NIO Cocktails.

Disclosure: To facilitate this review I was sent a Cocktail Kit Travel Bag from NIO Cocktails, which did not review or approve this post.

My interest in cocktails is a relatively recent development. During the coronavirus lockdown I ordered a cocktail making kit and discovered the joy of mixing cocktails at home.

With nowhere to go during the lockdown, weekly cocktail making sessions proved an enjoyable way of passing time. The event, which we dubbed Cocktail Saturday – no prizes for guessing which day of the week it was held on – started at about 4pm and proved a fun way of experimenting with flavours.

Much as I enjoyed making cocktails, there’s nothing quite like sitting down to sip and enjoy an expertly made cocktail. Heading to a bar is one option, the other is to order drinks online.

Pre-mixed cocktails and packaging from NIO Cocktails
Pre-mixed cocktails and packaging from NIO Cocktails.

Ordering pre-mixed cocktails

NIO Cocktails offers pre-mixed cocktails via its website, which states that the drink delivery follows the next day for orders placed before 5pm from Monday to Friday.

It gives the option of selecting from 15 cocktails and putting together boxes of three, six or nine cocktails. Pre-selected collection boxes, including a whiskey box and a sour box, are also available.

Pre-made cocktails from NIO Cocktails.
Pre-made cocktails from NIO Cocktails.

The cocktails that I chose included Brown Gold (21.6 per cent alcohol by volume), made with Bulleit whiskey, Old Fashioned (28.7 ABV) and Whiskey Sour (23 ABV).

A pre-mixed Old Fashioned from NIO Cocktails in a branded tumbler
A pre-mixed Old Fashioned from NIO Cocktails in a branded tumbler.

Each of the ready-to-pour cocktails is delivered as a 100ml measure. All I had to do was shake, tear the top corner of the packaging and serve. Apparently the ‘NIO’ in the company’s name stands for ‘need ice only’.

To be honest, I don’t regularly order drink online so was a tad sceptical about how pre-made cocktails would taste. I needn’t have worried. Ultimately, I was impressed by the flavours and punchiness of the NIO Cocktails that I selected.

They are hand-mixed in Italy and free from artificial flavourings and additives. Patrick Pistolesi is NIO Cocktails head mixologist. He’s the founder and head bartender of the acclaimed cocktail bar Drink Kong in Rome, Italy.

Two ready to drink cocktails served with ice in tumblers from the NIO Cocktails cocktail kit travel bag
Two ready to drink cocktails served with ice in tumblers from the NIO Cocktails cocktail kit travel bag.

NIO Cocktails’ Cocktail Kit Travel Bag

I took the cocktails that I ordered with me on a night away.

I transported the pre-mixed cocktails in the Cocktail Kit Travel Bag that I packed seven hours before serving the drinks. The kit’s insulation, aided by an additional gel ice pack, did a sterling job of keeping frozen the ice cubes that I packed.

The insulated backpack has a front-pocket with a zip and contains two further insulated bags – one large and one small. Their inner surfaces are made from anti-fungal, anti-bacterial material that were easy to give a quick wipe down on returning home.

The larger of the two inner bags features a Velcro strip on its rear. It attaches to the interior of the backpack, helping to minimise jiggling while the backpack is being transported.

A silicone ice mould containing four ice balls fits snugly into the smaller of the two inner bags. Rather rather than forming traditional ice cubes, the generously-sized mould is spherical.

The kit includes four robust polycarbonate tumblers branded with the NIO Cocktails logo.

Handily, the Cocktail Kit Travel Bag was also large enough to transport snacks plus a couple of soft drinks.

It looks ideal for keeping drinks cool and transporting them to picnics and dinner parties. Looking ahead to a world free from pandemic, here’s to using the kit in the near future when meeting up with friends.

The insulated rucksack that forms part of the NIO Cocktails cocktail kit travel bag
The insulated rucksack that forms part of the NIO Cocktails Cocktail Kit Travel Bag.

Further information

Visit the NIO Cocktails website for further information about the company’s ready made cocktails and Cocktail Kit Travel Bag (£79). The online alcohol delivery service makes it possible to purchase boxes of three, six or nine pre made cocktails.

Enjoy sipping cocktails? The 2020 London Cocktail Week has been extended to run throughout the month of October. Participating cocktail bars in London are serving signature drinks for £6 to holders of festival passes.

What about mixing cocktails at home? You can find cocktail recipes, for the likes of the Espresso Martini and Alabama Slammer here on Go Eat Do.

Remember to drink responsibly. The Drink Aware website outlines the benefits of drinking in moderation.

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