Cocktails O’Clock

by Lorna Oakley

As we see a light at the end of the lockdown tunnel, we are all looking forward to sun dappled afternoons sat outside Or inside based on present weather) our favourite haunts, that first sip of Aperol reminding us of turquoise seas that are maybe a little further away than we once hoped. I’ve had the wonderful task of tasting some pretty special cocktails over the past few weeks; all independents and all with a story that adds another flavour to an already unique experience.

I can’t pretend it’s the same as having it mixed for you in a rooftop bar, but these are the perfect weekend pick me ups and now we have a bit more freedom, they add a bit more glam to a gathering than a corner shop pinot. To start, The Spirit House are here to raise your spirits with cocktails straight to your door, from the amazing team behind The Boathouse London. They have brought a taste of their London based floating luxury to your door via beautifully packaged cocktails that taste as good as they look. I chose a Persian Lime & Nori Margarita, this adds some serious flavour to this classic cocktail with lively sherbet notes from the limes and a mouth-watering finish from the nori. They also offer with their cocktail lab the ability to create and develop bespoke cocktail recipes to fit your requirements. The packaging was lovely, that’s the one thing I’ve noticed; these personal touches translate to the most beautiful gift.

Aloha 65 was also another delivery, premixed in a more substantial bottle it tasted of tropical holidays over ice, I loved the combination of pineapple with a kick of chilli. I also loved the aqua blue bottle, you could imagine this would be a perfect bottle to take to a BBQ or a more casual affair with it’s retro branding. You could have it either as a delicious shot, a refreshing long-drink, or use as a unique heart of a great cocktail. Aloha 65 is all-natural, vegan, and lower in alcohol than many of the usual suspects. If you’re stuck for ideas their website also has a great inspiration section as to cocktails that you can make with Aloha 65.

Moving on to another beautifully packaged cocktail in a bottle, Black Label Liquor. I admittedly wanted to have a soft spot for this aesthetically pleasing delivery, as they are local to me, mixed and bottled in their Cardiff Distillery. “Our carefully selected cocktails are intended to make drinking beautiful drinks convenient, extending a high quality bar experience at home.” Just like the lovely Spirit House, Black Label arrives ready mixed in a bottle with hand written batch numbers on the side, there are six to choose from and can be kept in the fridge and served with ice.

For the next one, admittedly I’m a bit late to the party, but I really wanted to add these to my round up for two reasons, firstly they make an incredible gift, secondly they have a much lower alcohol content as well as a non-alcoholic offering. NIO Cocktails Founders, Luca and Alessandro, were inspired by a single, simple idea whilst hosting friends one evening: to bring expertly crafted ready-to-savour cocktails into their home to enhance their evenings. So the same expertise; the same premium brands; the same quality ingredients; and the same range of cocktails. The only difference – Needs Ice Only, no other specialist knowledge, ingredients or bar implements required. Simply pick and choose to build your box of 3, 6 or 9 drinks online and they deliver it in lovely packaging.

As you can see there’s a bit of a pattern forming as I run through the cocktails. Moving into an even more portable way of packaging, from bottles to boxes (please note, this is NOT a return to wine in boxes from my side I may add) and of course, it’d be rude not to include the canned variety of premixed as well. I was kindly sent Declaration Gin Number 1 Seltzer, it’s sparkling water and a twist of orange. A crisp, drink that has only 58 Calories in a Can.Number 1 Drinks are crafted without artificial colours, flavours, sugar or stimulants. Great tasting, Naturally Flavoured Waters powered by 3 energy enhancing B Vitamins and Immune Boosting Vitamins C & D. More taste than any other water, soft drink or mixer”. So I tried this with my mother, we both loved the concept, it tasted great; but I wasn’t so sure about the aftertaste; although it claims to have no artificial flavours. I still think it’s a great idea and I personally think we’ll be seeing more low calories drinks out there as the year progresses.

To conclude, if you are anything like me and still a little unsure of the whole crowded park scenario and queues, these are the perfect garden drinks that add a bit of style to your socially distanced soiree or BBQ. All of them mean less time slaving away as a cocktail maestro as they are all ready to serve, meaning more time spent with long missed friends and family.


  • Lorna Oakley

    Based in Wales, Lorna swapped Chelsea and high-end couture for the countryside several years ago to focus on wellness and travel photography. A former stylist and personal shopper, Lorna now is a big fan of all things wellness and travel whilst also having a serious love of plant-based food. Life is now a balance of chasing the sun in Med and spending more time behind the camera.

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