NIO cocktails review: I tried the letterbox cocktail delivery service – here’s my verdict


NIO Cocktails Review: Tried the mailbox cocktail delivery service to see if it was worth it. (Image: Nio cocktails)

It’s no secret that Brits love cocktails and with summer scorching hot, it’s the perfect time to sit in the sun and share a nice cold drink with a friend. But while I love to drink cocktails and often prefer it over wine or beer, I rarely make cocktails at home as I found it difficult to buy all the ingredients needed to make a variety of drinks.

Plus it’s also wasteful, expensive and at best I’d make a G&T or Aperol Spritz as it only requires two bottles.

Enter ready-to-drink cocktails. Pre-mixed cocktails have seen huge popularity since lockdown thanks to the convenience of being pre-made and packaged in a compact size that can be taken to the beach, park or anywhere else.

NIO cocktails literally stands for “Needs Ice Only” and is a delivery service that offers 23 premium ready-to-drink cocktails that only need ice to be enjoyed. What makes NIO unique is that each cocktail has been specially crafted by expert mixologist, Patrick Pistolesi, whose bar was voted the 19th best in the world.

And while most pre-made cocktails come in cans, each cocktail comes in a small sachet that fits in a mailbox, and customers can choose between three and nine drinks per can.

Curious if it would be tastier than the pre-made canned cocktails I’ve had, I decided to try the drinks to see if it was worth it.

NIO stands for Needs Ice Only and all drinks are specially designed by expert mixologist Patrick Pistolesi.

NIO stands for Needs Ice Only and all drinks are specially designed by expert mixologist Patrick Pis (Image: NIO cocktail)

Pricing

A box of six drinks in a ‘Build a box’ set of NIO cocktails costs £39, which equates to £6.50 per drink, while a box of nine drinks costs £55 and works out slightly less expensive at around £6.10 per drink. There’s also an option to choose just three drinks for £22.50 with delivery, which is £7.50 a glass.

New customers can also sign up for the newsletter to unlock 15% off, which would make its cheapest price £5.19 if you bought a box of nine drinks, which equals happy hour at a bar .

Although it’s not the cheapest price and there are still cheaper canned cocktails out there, it’s a decent price option and there are also gift sets available from £23 which is about the same price as a bottle of gin.

How it works?

The website is very easy to use and customers have several options to choose their drinks. They can select “Build a Box” and choose the amount of drinks they want from 26 cocktails.

There are also plenty of great pre-picked and themed boxes to choose from, including the best-selling box, Casa del Daiquiri. Once you have made your choice, all you have to do is order and delivery to your address takes a maximum of four days.

Delivery & Packaging

    I was very impressed with the compact size of the mailbox and it was great that it didn't take up space on my kitchen table counter.

I was very impressed with the compact size of the mailbox. (Picture: EXPRESS)

The delivery was super fast and arrived in my mailbox the next day or so. I was very impressed with the compact size of the mailbox and it was great that it didn’t take up space on my kitchen table counter.

I was also impressed that everyone drank from a small pouch that could easily slip into a purse if I wanted to take the drinks to a friend’s house.

Make cocktails

the Cosmopolitan, it was smooth without having an overwhelming taste of vodka and had great acidity.

The Cosmopolitan was smooth without having an overpowering vodka taste and had good tangines. (Image: NIO cocktail)

Making the drinks was a very simple process, all you have to do is just shake, tear and then pour the packet into a glass with ice to enjoy. I found it easier to use a pair of scissors to open the package, but it was still a very simple process.

It definitely wins in convenience and I loved being able to whip up a cocktail on my dining table without worrying about making a mess.

To taste

I poured the drinks into a martini glass I had at home and he filled it to a decent level.

I poured the drinks into a martini glass I had at home and he filled it to a decent level. (Picture: EXPRESS)

I had a box of nine drinks which included a mix of NIO’s best selling cocktails, special summer editions and also some of their most popular cocktails.

I was immediately impressed with how amazing all the cocktails tasted and how well balanced they were. For classic drinks like the Cosmopolitan, it was sweet without having an overpowering vodka taste and had great acidity.

My favorite cocktail is a Negroni and I can see why it’s one of NIO’s bestsellers. I was very impressed with how well the vermouth, gin and Campari blended and it was deliciously bitter – I deliberately drank it slowly so I could savor the flavor.

There are also special summer cocktails like the Tea Sour which is a mixture of tea liqueur and lemon. It was sweet, had a nice sour undertone, and I enjoyed being able to try a new drink at home. Although I personally don’t enjoy drinking Margaritas as much, NIO’s was a great balance of salt, lime and tequila that didn’t feel too salty in my mouth.

I poured the drinks into a martini glass I had at home and it filled it to a decent level, but I feel like the volume of the drink could be bigger for the amount of money from the cocktail box.

final verdict

Pro:

  • Deliver very quickly
  • Letterbox packaging makes it really compact to take on the go
  • Wide selection of drinks to choose from
  • Very tasty and well mixed
  • Can try drinks you wouldn’t make at home

The inconvenients:

  • Not the cheapest option available
  • Drink volume may be a bit small
  • Some drinks are sold out

Overall I was very impressed with NIO’s cocktails and the amazing flavor of the drinks. The delivery was very smooth and the packaging makes it even more convenient to carry than cans. The wide range of cocktails and special summer editions definitely make this a highlight and I’ve had friends comment that some of the drinks were the best pre-made mixes they’ve tasted.

The only downside is that a few cocktails online are sold out which is a shame if you want to try something new and the size seems a bit small if poured into a regular glass.

That being said, I really enjoyed sharing this with friends and love that it’s a great social activity too. It is also a fantastic gift and I would love to have it for my birthday. NIO cocktails are hands down the tastiest pre-mixed cocktail I’ve had and I really like the ease of making it.

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