Best ready-made and bottled cocktails
Who said you have to go to a bar to enjoy a good cocktail? We’ve found the best premixed cocktails that are ready to drink straight from the bottle.
While it can be really fun – not to mention satisfying – to make your own cocktails from scratch at home, it can require a lot of resources.
It's not just the cocktail shaker, strainer, various spoons, muddlers and the ice you might need, it’s also the many bottles of booze. Buying all of this can get expensive, not to mention the amount of space needed to keep it in – sadly, we don't all have room for a bar at home!
It’s no real surprise, then, that premixed, bottled cocktails are becoming so popular. You can now find plenty of ready-made cocktails on the market, which have been mixed and bottled by experts – you can enjoy your favourite tipple at home, without the hassle!
Members of the BBC Good Food on-test team sampled bottled negronis, manhattans, espresso martinis, a selection of gin cocktails and some 'wildcard' entries to find our favourite ready-made cocktails on the market right now.
Read on to discover the best bottled cocktails to buy. For more like this, visit our reviews section to find 100+ round-ups of spirits, canned cocktails, wine and much more.
Best bottled cocktails at a glance
- Best light negroni: Bottle Bar and Shop negroni, £25
- Best bottled old fashioned: MAP Lab bourbon old fashioned, £40
- Best classic negroni: Primo Aperitivo negroni, £27.95
- Best bottled margarita: Liberation Cocktails spiced margarita, £19.95
- Best bottled passion fruit martini: Black Lines passion fruit martini, £22
- Best unique bottled cocktail: Bottle Bar and shop Remedy, £25
- Best white Russian: Buveur white Russian, £7.49
- Best espresso martini: Troo espresso martini cocktail, £25
- Best negroni for gifting: Carluccio's negroni, £28.50
Best bottled cocktails to buy 2023
Bottle Bar and Shop – negroni
Best light negroni
Handcrafted at Bottle Bar and Shop in London’s Catford, this is a lighter, drier-tasting and more gin-forward negroni than some of the others we tried. Fans of manhattans and martinis might prefer this for that reason, as the emphasis is shifted more towards the gin and vermouth.
Alongside notes of citrus zest, thanks to 8 weeks of infusion with pink grapefruit and orange zest, this has a pleasant flavour of warming spices, particularly clove, making it taste almost festive. To serve, pour over ice with a slice of orange.
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Bottle Bar and Shop (£17, 20cl or £28, 50cl)
Map Lab – MAP bourbon old fashioned
- Available from MAP Lab (£40)
Best bottled old fashioned
This simple but effective old fashioned comprised of Kentucky bourbon, Angostura bitters and brown sugar really lets the taste of the whisky sing. The use of brown sugar (in place of traditional sugar syrup) provides a rich, caramelised sugar flavour, a little like crème brulée, but without being overly sweet.
At 37% ABV, it’s a punchy glassful, but has an elegant flavour profile combining deep, earthy whisky notes, a touch of citrus and molasses-like sweetness. To serve, stir and pour over ice, then garnish with a twist of orange.
MAP Lab (£40)
Primo Aperitivo – negroni
Best classic negroni
A great example of a really classic-tasting negroni, this is satisfyingly rich in flavour, with strong notes of bitter orange and juniper, a slightly, raspberry-jam-like sticky sweetness and subtle hints of rose. It’s full-bodied, without being syrupy. To serve, chill well, pour over ice and garnish with a slice of orange.
Made in Italy, Primo negroni comes in a stylish bottle, the top half of which is matte blue and the base clear glass to allow the vibrant red cocktail to shine through, making it an attractive addition to any drinks cabinet.
Primo (£27.90, 50cl)
The Whisky Exchange (£27.95)
Liberation Cocktails spiced margarita
- Available from Liberation Cocktails (£19.95)
Best bottled margarita
Margarita fans will love this spiced twist from cocktail experts Liberation Cocktails. Smooth tequila blanco has been expertly blended with sharp lime juice, agave nectar and a chilli twist for a fiery edge.
You can have it chilled straight out the fridge to be simply refreshing, or for proper bar-quality results, shake in a cocktail shaker for a frothy top. It offers ultimate refreshment when it is hot, but as a classic cocktail it works just as well all year round.
If you're not a margarita fan, we also rate the Liberation Cocktails classic bottled mojito: just as zesty, but with mint, rum and soda.
Liberation Cocktails (£19.95)
Black Lines passion fruit martini
- Available from Whole Foods Market (£19.99, in-store), Black Lines (£22)
A passion fruit martini is an enduring cocktail bar classic. For those with a sweeter tooth, the tropical passionfruit and touch of fragrant vanilla is sure to always appeal.
The smart packaging of Black Lines cocktails makes it perfect for gifting. The passion fruit martini is an expertly blended classic: made using East London vodka mixed with the usual passion fruit and vanilla, but also pineapple and lime to add extra juicy fruit flavour and cut through the sweetness. Black Lines recommend serving by shaking with ice in a cocktail shaker, and garnish with sliced fresh passion fruit. If tropical cocktails aren't your bag, we also rate their espresso martini.
Whole Foods Market (£19.99, in-store)
Black Lines (£22)
Bottle Bar and Shop Remedy cocktail
Best unique bottled cocktail
Bottle Bar and Shop’s remedy cocktail is a blend of Fernet-Branca (an Italian amaro), brandy, orange liqueur, bitters and honey.
The result is a complex cocktail with plenty of zesty, fragrant orange flavour and warm honey sweetness, balanced by bitterness. It’s very slightly medicinal (perhaps the reason for its name), but smooth and satisfying.
A fantastic aperitif, simply serve chilled, neat or pour over ice and garnish with a slice of orange.
Buveur – white Russian
- Available from Selfridges (£7.49)
Best white Russian
Buveur’s version of a white Russian (usually made with vodka, coffee liqueur and cream or milk), uses almond cream in place of dairy and adds a drop of dark chocolate bitters.
The result is a delectable, dessert-like cocktail. Its smooth and creamy in consistency and the flavour is a really nice balance of caramel sweetness, rich coffee notes, a hint of cocoa and a hefty hit of booze.
Its small size means you only get one serving – perfect for when you want to treat yourself without buying a whole large bottle. Serve chilled over ice and, for a next level drink, dust with cocoa too.
Troo Cocktails – espresso martini
- Available from Troo Cocktails (£25, 50cl), TheFoodMarket.com (£25, 50cl)
Best bottled espresso martini
A resounding winner, this has a nice coffee flavour (thanks to a mix of freshly brewed Italian espresso and a premium Mexican coffee liqueur), sweet notes of salted caramel and a silky-smooth texture.
The serving instructions suggest shaking in a cocktail shaker half filled with ice for 25 seconds. This creates a really good foamy head – by far the best of any we tried – making it feel luxurious and satisfying, like an espresso martini you’d find in a good bar.
Troo Cocktails (£25, 50cl)
TheFoodMarket.com (£25, 50cl)
- Available from Carluccio's (£28.50, 70cl)
Best negroni for gifting
The ever well-stocked Carluccio's online deli has branched out into perfect summer tipples - take your pick of the canned cocktails (Amalfi pompelmo margarita anyone?) or try their own bottled negroni, ready to go. The tall, sleekly designed (and generously sized at 70cl) bottle contains a classic and well balanced Italian negroni, with Portobello Road gin, Campari and Italian sweet vermouth. A good value crowd pleaser, and a great addition to your next Italian dinner party.
Carluccio's (£28.50, 70cl)
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This review was last updated in August 2022. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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