Sarasota beverage consultant Spencer Taliaferro believes that everyone has a soul cocktail—that one drink that never ceases to delight all the senses. To help folks find their perfect beverage—and become more educated about mixology—Taliaferro created Mixology Kits, a monthly subscription box with ingredients and inspiration to make craft cocktails at home.
Taliaferro’s personal love affair with cocktails began while he was bartending at casinos in New Jersey. He established himself as a master mixologist while working as a hotel beverage director in Miami, and in 2017 he was lauded "world’s best bartender" by the rum maker Diplomático during an international competition in Las Vegas.
After relocating to Sarasota, Taliaferro started his own consulting service. But he's really a matchmaker—connecting people and drinks. Though he helps local eateries like El Melvin Cocina Mexicana and Made create signature cocktail menus, he also wants to help individuals explore their inner bartenders. With Mixology Kits, he gets to share his love of the craft and create a moment of joy.
"It’s fun to get a package in the mail," says Taliaferro. "There’s the element of surprise—pulling out the crinkling paper to see what’s in it."
Inside each box, you’ll find an informative letter, along with a recipe card and a link to an online video demonstration. In addition to enough housemade syrups, garnishes and mixers to make eight cocktails, there are mystery items, such as a cup or a piece of barware. At this time, because of individual state laws, boxes do not come with alcohol, though a top recommendation is included.
Taliaferro partners with a new liquor company each month to design themes, such as The Jalisco Mule, which comes with passionfruit syrup, dehydrated lime wheels, ginger beer and an Altos tequila mule mug. For the Bourbon Mai Tai box, Taliaferro teamed with Redwood Empire whiskey to devise a zesty drink featuring fresh-pressed lime juice, orgeat almond syrup and a dried orange garnish.
Beyond trying out new flavors, Taliaferro hopes that the kits will inspire people to learn more about the art and science behind cocktails. Every box comes with lessons on subjects like using a garnish to elevate flavors, how to treat ice like an ingredient and when to shake and when to stir. He points out that the experience can also be shared; one family ordered a box for themselves and each of their children that they opened together over Zoom.
Mixology Kits are available month-to-month or in three-, six- and nine-month subscription packages. Order online.