Firstly, brilliant name. Bearded Viking – rahhhhhhhh – won’t be pillaging your neighbourhood, but they will provide a handmade cocktail delivery to your door.
So what was in my cocktail delivery?
My hand-delivered sample package of rainbow coloured 100ml bottles, each containing two serves (or one Viking, as the bottles say), included:
- White Negroni
- Sapphire Martini
- Espresso Martini
- Chocolate Orange Old Fashioned
- Cherry Bakewell Whisky Sour
- Water Lily
Each bottle is labelled with tasting notes, bottling date and serve instructions for optimum enjoyment. There’s also a handy icon on the side to advise if it should be chilled prior to serving or straight over ice.
Time has been spent searching for quality ingredients, to quote Bearded Viking: “using award-winning spirits, fresh organic fruits, and ethically sourced coffee roasted right here in our home city of Oxford”. So you know you’re getting a good finished product.
The bottles retail at £7.50 each, and delivery is available nationally. I sent a lockdown ‘care package’ to a friend in Belfast, and they arrived fully intact. There’s even free shipping if you order 6+ bottles.
Oxford-based Mathias Rothmann and Caitlin Langford, the pair behind Bearded Viking, are a great blend for cocktail making: a Scottish chemist and Danish beer-brewing Oxford physicist. Their backgrounds provide a perfect platform for mixology, with natural science and research fully in action. The pair have been making and testing, then making and testing some more, before bringing the drinks to market. Their (annoyingly lucky) friends have had many cocktails foisted upon them in the spirit of quality control.
So, are they good?
The Negroni wasn’t a big hit with me, but it’s not something I’d usually go for. Made with “citrusy London Dry gin, sweet French vermouth, and herbally bitter gentian root liqueur”, it’s just too strong for my taste. I’m a gin fan, but not neat gin; I need a mixer.
However, I then moved onto another cocktail I’d never order in a bar – a Cherry Bakewell Whisky Sour. Whisky is usually a big no-no with me; with my maiden name being Jacqui Daniels, I went through a fair amount of Jack Daniels as an early drinker, and subsequently too many awful hangovers. The mear smell of whisky can make me gag. This little beauty though was a revelation.
The sweetness from cherry liqueur and a ‘secret cherry sauce’ balanced beautifully against fresh lemon juice. Almond orgeat syrup (a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar, and rose water or orange flower water – thanks Wikipedia) smoothes it out for a lovely refreshing drink.
Utterly sippable for a number of serves.
The Sapphire Martini was another too neat for my palette (and a homeschool night), but the flavour of blue Curaçao came through the heavily citrusy London Dry gin and French sweet vermouth. Also taking me back to those formative drinking years and a first girls’ holiday abroad (ouch).
Next up was Water Lily – “Citrusy London Dry gin, freshly squeezed lemon juice, sweet orange liqueur, and floral violet liqueur”. Less pure alcohol in initial hit than the Negroni and Sapphire Martini. Another one that was lovely for sipping on, especially on a warm evening in the garden, before tackling the kids’ bedtime.
I was most excited to try the Espresso Martini, as it’s one of my usual cocktail go-to’s, and I make a pretty mean one at home (as my friends and their other understanding other halves will attest to). Taste-wise it was good, I couldn’t get the froth to stay beyond a few seconds despite a thorough shaking. first in the bottle, then a cocktail shaker.
Because it’s one I make at home rather comfortably, I’d choose not to order this one. However, the Cherry Bakewell and Water Lily were bloody delicious, and I know Mathias and Caitlin are planning many more flavours, so would definitely order again.
I love the idea of trying different concoctions, and they’d make fantastic gifts, wedding favours or treats for a night in. You could even order some for a Zoom party with anyone else in the UK!
Testing out national cocktail deliveries
My Belfast-based friend, Sam, loves an Old Fashioned and is incredibly fussy about how they’re made. So pulling her best Viking snarl, I asked for her feedback on the one I’d had posted to her:
“All of the tastes are exactly what you want. It tastes like an orange-infused OF! Love the packaging – a cocktail is supposed to be an experience and they nailed that!”
Sam felt the mix was a bit too sweet, even with an orange peel, so her preference would have been for less syrup and more taste of the whisky. That being said, if she wasn’t a crack shot at making them herself, she’d definitely order again. And as I mentioned before, the bottles arrived well packaged and intact.
Want to try an Odin-approved cocktail delivery for yourself?
Find out more about Bearded Viking and order through their online shop, or follow them on social media:
We were gifted samples to try, all views remain our own.
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