The fellows at Laiba Beverages (in partnership with Michael Chen of The Cannery) have condensed the craft cocktail delivery process down into probably the minimum number of steps acceptable. It's close to being so simple even we couldn't mess it up. Or could we? No we could not.
Who's Laiba Beverages?
Officially launched earlier this year, Laiba Beverages is a trio of dudes (Danish, Danish, Irish) who've been involved to varying degrees in the beverages game, and decided they wanted to dive into the craft cocktail-making side of things. Their plan? Catering for friends and events. But, now, more importantly for us, home delivery. They partnered up with Michael Chen, currently head mixologist at The Cannery", who helped design their drinks. "But craft cocktail delivery is so six months ago," you might think. "What's the difference here?"
In Theory: Nicely Presented Craft Cocktails in Bottles, Zero Fuss Required
The craft cocktails come bottled! How nifty! The cocktails are pre-batched at their facility, where they production specialists ensure beverages are bottled in a hygienic, safe and controlled environment. Plastic gloves are involved. Although the bottles can technically be refrigerated for up to 5 days, they aim to never send out a cocktail that's more than a day or two old.
In Practice: Two Steps Required To Prepare A 33rmb Bottled Pre-Mixed Drink
The ordering process is pretty simple; go to their website or their WeChat store (search Official Accounts for "Laiba来吧"). On the website, it's best to register an account first; not being logged in doesn't mess with the ordering process, but it remove one step later. Hit Order Now on the website ("Shop Now" on WeChat).
For now, there's only the 6-pack available for 198rmb, though they plan to have seasonal offers rotating out. There're 5 different cocktails to choose from; mix and match as you like. Scroll down a bit on "Products" and you can click each cocktail to see their ingredients. Then hit the shopping cart in the top right corner, then Checkout. Enter your address and details, and set a delivery time. Payment is handled by WeChat, though they accept cash on delivery too. You'll receive a text message with a code. About an hour later, the delivery arrives. The delivery person will ask to see your code to make sure he's delivering to the right person (what sort of a sick monster would fraudulently accept someone else's booze delivery), and leave you with a box.
What's in the Box?
To whit: - Six (6) numbered 125ml bottles of craft cocktail - Six (6) sealed bags with corresponding numbered garnishes - One (1) pack of ice cubes - Six (6) Straws - Six (6) Laiba Napkins - Six (6) Laiba Plastic Cups - Instruction manual
Take the plastic cup. Open the ice cube pack. Put the ice cubes in first. Shake the bottles up a little (important step for ones like the Laiba Sour). Pour. Add corresponding garnish. Forget the straw. Glug glug glug.
So How Is It?
Hey, yeah, they're pretty good. The garnishes were fresh. Stand-outs include the I Am Coconuts and the In Love With Rose Mary. They had both undertones and overtones. They were zesty. They were piquant. They were bold. Some of them had a bit of a kick to them. The manual says the cocktails are "made with standard pours not lower than 45ml" of alcohol. At 198rmb for 6, that comes to 33rmb per drink.
But they come in bottles. It doesn't say on the bottles when they were mixed. We haven't seen the inside of their bottling facilities. If that's a problem for you, I guess you're shit out of luck because there are literally no cocktail bars in Shanghai where earnest, bewaistcoated mixologists can prepare a drink in a glass that's been washed before your very eyes.
I'm In Love With Rose Mary For everyone else, 200rmb for 6 decent cocktails delivered to your door seems okay, y'know? Ordering process is painless, but delivery did take a while. Other alcohol delivery services offer like, half-hour delivery times, so this could be their biggest weakness. But for pre-lashes with unpretentious cocktail enthusiast (in an infinite universe, they must exist), or just a nice night in with booze you didn't have to wrest from the clawing grasp of a Buddies attendant, this ain't half bad. Plus you can just refill the bottles with vodka and orange juice, they're pretty nice bottles.