Everything but the Bartender – Capiche Cocktail Kits

Words by Jane Ryan

These DIY cocktail kits send portioned-out Australian craft spirits and mixers nation-wide so you can make great drinks at home – everything's included but the bartender.

You’re probably familiar with meal kits, from Marley Spoon to Hello Fresh, they’ve infiltrated weekday cooking with portioned veg and easy-to-follow recipes. 2020, and all its challenges, has introduced us to a new, much more needed kit – the cocktail kit.

Like cooking, it’s hard to know where to start with cocktails. There’s an overwhelming amount of equipment, syrups, vermouths and bitters before you even start thinking about spirits. That’s where Tom Loosli comes in, an ex-bartender who felt like a drink during lockdown but didn’t have so much as some oxidised vermouth and an old bottle of grappa to rub together.

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He invented Capiche Cocktails, a small Melbourne start-up that uses great Australian craft spirits and mixers in an initial 18 Mix Kits. There's an Espresso Martini, a Negroni, an Old Fashioned and a Spritz alongside elevated G&Ts using Aussie craft gins thoughtfully paired with locally-made tonics that best complement their flavours and the garnishes to set off the whole experience.

“It’s designed so that even if you’ve never made a cocktail before – you could pick up the hardest one to make, the Espresso Martini, and still shake up an excellent cocktail,” says Tom. And he’s right, the instructions are easy, there’s equipment for sale on the site if you’ve got nothing at home and when the recipe card arrives there’s even a QR code that links to info on what household items can be used if you lack a shaker, strainer, barspoon or other cocktail paraphernalia.

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The best part about the kits? It’s all portioned out, so you’ll only have as much vermouth as the recipe calls for, instead of having a leftover bottle to go bad in the fridge. Tom measures everything out and seals the bottles with argon gas so they stay perfectly fresh whether they’re shipping down the road to Fitzroy or journeying all the way to Darwin.

“I had a lot of fun creating the selection of G&Ts, pairing particular tonics to particular gins and their finishing garnishes. When it came to putting together the cocktails I went for big-hit classics that were stable. No toying with trying to make lime juice last for Margaritas,” says Tom.

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The stand out cocktail for us, at Difford’s, has been the Spritz which goes beyond the ever-popular Aperol Spritz and instead heros a Sydney amaro that sits somewhere deliciously between Campari and Aperol, called Imbroglio by Marrickville’s Poor Toms.

Of all the Aussie spirits, you’ll see some more well-known ones such as Four Pillars, Never Never Distiling Co and Starward alongside some smaller brands who you can’t readily buy at the likes of Dan Murphy’s. For the mixers he’s gone for brands such as Melbourne’s Strange Love and Sydney’s PS sodas.

“Pairing gin and tonics can be difficult for people to get their head around. It’s also not easy. This takes the risk out in a convenient way that uses organic ingredients and supports local businesses,” says Tom.

Check out Capiche Cocktails here.

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