Last Updated on July 19, 2022 by MacNaughtan
It’s the holiday season, and kicking it off with a cocktail gift box from Monsieur Cocktail is absolute perfection for those of us who adore a deliciously tasty cocktail from time to time.
If you’re from Quebec, you will likely know of Patrice Plante, an effervescent mixologist GOD, author of L’Adventure de la Mixologie, co-owner of L’Atelier Tartares et Cocktail on Grande Allée, Restaurant Ophélia, bar Néupher, and the man behind Monsieur Cocktail.
Up to this point, Monsieur Cocktail has been known for its line of artisanal syrups, which provide a solid base for making a pretty damn good cocktail at home.
Featuring lemon, lime, or pure cranberry juice for acidity, the syrups also feature the perfect amount of sugars, making it easy to create a cocktail in under 2 minutes (use a 2:1 alcohol to syrup ratio), replacing crappy mixers loaded with artificial ingredients.
Now, with its syrup line firmly in place, Monsieur Cocktail introduces ‘The Box’, a series of cocktail subscription boxes that feature a high-quality cocktail recipe, and all the things needed to make it (aside from the alcohol, damn SAQ rules…)!
fancy cocktails… in the mail!
Is there anything sexier than opening your door to see the mailman holding a box filled with cocktail goodness?
To say I was excited would be an understatement. I’m a woman who loves a really good cocktail, but knows nothing about making them herself, unless it’s super basic.
Making a basic rum and coke is fairly easy. It’s rum, and it’s coke, add lime slices and VOILA! Wait… you add lime slices, right?
Is it bad that I’m really good at pouring gin and tonic into a mug, throwing in a lime, and calling it a party? Do you see a theme emerging?
At least I’m not drinking straight from the bottle! Well, not all of the time…
The idea for the cocktail boxes stems from Patrice’s dream of showing people how to make “New York speakeasy-style cocktails from the comfort of their own home”, without the use of a shaker or extensive training.
Allowing you to discover your inner bartender, or to provide hilarious entertainment for your guests. Either way, it’s a win-win scenario.
the anatomy of a good cocktail
The anatomy of a good cocktail begins with the perfect combination of water dilution (from the ice), temperature, and salt (the balance of acidity and sweetness or bitterness and sweetness).
Water dilution from ice helps provide an explosion of flavour, or as Patrice puts it, “It’s like your very jealous ex-boyfriend. Once you put a lemon in there it grabs the flavour of the lemon and won’t let go”.
Ice changes the flavour of a cocktail dramatically. Too much of it and the cocktail gets lost – think of those cocktails poured over a glass filled with ice cubes, you know, the ones you don’t remember the flavour of 2 minutes after it’s finished.
Use ice cubes that are too large and your cocktail won’t be cold enough unless you shake it like a Tasmanian devil swing dancing on Dancing with the Stars.
Glasses play an equally important role, which is why Patrice recommends using the style of glass shown in the picture of your cocktail of the moment.
I won’t even get into the skill needed to shake a drink. Sure, we can all learn it, but why? If I can make a fab cocktail without shaking around my apartment like an unbalanced load of laundry, I’m game!
cocktail of the moment: g&t du jardin
My box (is it just me, or does that sound a tad off-side?), a gin and tonic cocktail called G&T du Jardin, arrived with cans of Eska sparkling water, Noroi peach, and apricot bitters, Monsieur Cocktail Love Tonic syrup, and a bottle of Mix Maison, dried citrus slices, a stir stick, and paper straws.
Inviting a bartending friend over to try it out, we sat down in my apartment in Vieux-Quebec, read the recipe, and gave it a go using a bottle of Dandy Gin.
Looking through the recipe booklet, I was intrigued to see the use of measuring cups and spoons.
I don’t know about you, but I cannot remember the last time I saw a bartender use either of those things. Then again, I’m not a trained bartender. I know nothing about the science involved in making a high-quality cocktail.
I drink cold rum, neat, in a coffee mug. #TrueStory
If you’re shaker savvy, the choice of measuring cups and spoons will probably feel odd, but to us basic b*tches, it’s genius.
The team at Monsieur Cocktail has spent the last two years testing recipes and simplifying things so that anyone can make a delicious cocktail using things they already have at home.
The recipe was easy to follow, and the cocktail was good, but not amazing. It was the hipster style gin, the flavours didn’t mix well. As it was all I had on hand, we decided to try again the following day at the pub using a bottle of Henricks. Much better!
Each box comes with enough supplies to create 8 cocktails, making it easy to experiment with different styles of alcohol. The recipe cards also offer suggestions on the styles of alcohol which best suit the cocktail of the moment.
how does monsieur cocktail’s subscription work?
Do you love rhum and bitterness (like my inner soul) or perhaps you love vodka and sweetness, whatever your taste, there is a box for you. And yes, there are also boxes for those who do not drink alcohol.
The Trendy is a non-alcohol box, however, almost every cocktail box offered by Monsieur Cocktail can be served without alcohol (except La Gentleman), and still taste amazing.
The price of the boxes start at $44.95 CAD, and each month introduces you to a new cocktail. That doesn’t mean you have to buy a box every month, you can pause and buy a box every three months if you like.
If like me, you enjoy the La Classique box, but feel like trying a La Fancy for a month, you can pause one style and try another. As time progresses, the boxes will introduce you to different tools, and possibly glasses as well.
While I received a complimentary La Classique cocktail box, I’m 100% sold – I’m not talented enough to write 1,000+ words on something I don’t like. My only challenge is choosing whether to indulge in a La Classique box each month or go for L’Effervescent.