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Craft Cocktails in a Box

A local company delivers everything you need to make tasty drinks to your doorstep


ClubThirty3's January subscriber box included ingredients to make two cocktails by Galaxy Taco's Mark Broadfoot: the San Diego Sour and the Black's Beach.

For weeks now, I’ve been stalking Thirty3Club’s website—click over and you’ll see why I’m so enchanted. It’s got great cocktail recipes, how-to videos, an educational blog, and an online shop where you can buy affordable bar tools and glassware. But Thirty3Club is primarily a monthly subscription service that sends subscribers all the ingredients, recipes, and helpful tips to make four cocktails (two each of two cocktails). A one-time box costs $34.99 plus shipping. A six-month subscription is $239.99 plus shipping.

Josh Jacobs, a Massachusetts native who moved to San Diego almost three years ago, came up with the idea for Thirty3Club in late 2014. He ran the idea by friends to see what they thought. As one friend put it, “This is genius—we have to pursue it.”

It took nearly a year of market research and checking the legalities of shipping alcohol interstate before they sent out what Josh calls their “beta box”—it had a Thirty3Club logo affixed with tape and the online how-to video was shot with an iPhone. But the initial recipients loved it, he said. Seven months later and with very little promotion, they have more than 50 subscribers.

Jacobs said the goal is to find a balance between accessible cocktails and cocktails that will challenge subscribers to try something new. You can’t pick and choose what kind of spirits you’ll receive—everyone gets the same box each month. One customer told Jacobs that he hated gin and would cancel his subscription if the box ever included a gin cocktail. The guy ended up receiving a box with a gin cocktail recipe and loved it.

In January, Jacobs said, they decided to start highlighting spirits from craft distilleries. The first was El Silencio mezcal, featured in Galaxy Taco’s San Diego Sour. The Left Coast Greyhound features loft & bear vodka and the Twisted Fashioned is made with Twisted Manzanita Rebellious Rye Whiskey.

Jacobs was kind enough to send me the May subscribers box that included all the ingredients to make two each of The Freshie, a tequila-based cocktail made with fresh kiwi and lime juices (with a generous dash of pepper on top) and the Blood of the Scorpion, made with lemon and blood-orange juices, grapefruit syrup, and super-spicy 619 Scorpion Pepper vodka. Easy to make? Yes (just follow the carefully laid-out directions). Tasty? Absolutely. The box included fresh fruits, syrups for each cocktail, and two airplane bottles each of the vodka and Cazadores reposado tequila. (They’re working on an option, dubbed “FDR,” where you can buy full-size bottles of booze.)

Jacobs said subscribers have told him that what they enjoy most is the moment they open the box and figure out what they’ll be making and what ingredients they’ll be working with. (I agree—cracking open the box was pretty rad.) The goal, he said, is to educate subscribers and get folks thinking about the art of craft cocktails. Prior to starting Thirty3Club, he considered himself more of a beer guy. “Now,” he said, “it’s a new-found love.”

Got suggestions for a future column? Write to 2kellydavis@gmail.com.

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