Waitrose is introducing a new interactive service with its exclusive ‘Cocktails at Home’ Experience Boxes, in partnership with John Lewis. 

The two limited edition boxes, which launch October 21, include the key ingredients and kit to make either gin cocktails with a bottle of Roku gin, or whisky cocktails with Toki whisky, premium craft spirits from the House of Suntory.

The kit includes two John Lewis high ball glasses, cocktail spoon, jigger and a booklet containing two cocktail recipes and a range of garnishes. Inside each box is an invitation to an online masterclass with a Waitrose drinks specialist, where the recipient can find out more about their chosen spirit and learn to mix House of Suntory cocktails like a professional.

Described as “the ideal gift for a cocktail lover”, the boxes are part of the extensive programme of virtual events hosted by John Lewis and Waitrose experts, including online wine tastings, cookery school classes, personal shopping and home styling.

Waitrose said the events have proved “incredibly popular” during lockdown and its experts have hosted more than 583 virtual experiences, and its customers have bought more than 23,000 tickets to online events.

Andrew Riding, Waitrose Drinks Experience Manager, said: “Gin and whisk(e)y are the two biggest spirit categories at Waitrose – gin is still our customers’ number one spirit and imported whisk(e)y is in strong growth, with sales up 50% year-on-year. We love sharing our knowledge and experience with customers, and cocktails are the perfect online masterclass as everyone can deepen their understanding of their favourite spirit from the comfort of their own home.”

Shelley Maddock, Brand Manager for The House of Suntory, said: “We are thrilled to be bringing this unique at-home mixology experience to Waitrose customers with our range of premium Japanese craft spirits. Both Roku gin and Toki whisky have perfectly balanced and refined flavours which make them an ideal choice for enjoying in cocktails. We also look forward to seeing customers perfect their cocktail-making craft in the series of online masterclasses and enjoying a taste of Japan in the process.”

The collection includes:

The Experience Box: Gin Cocktails at Home (£69), which contains Suntory’s Roku Gin. It is made with six Japanese botanicals, each one harvested at the peak of its season to capture the best flavour. The kit includes the following ingredients: Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients Pink Peppercorns, Yuzu Juice and Dried Rose Petals, San Leo Prosecco, FeverTree Tonic Water, Boudoir Cherry Brandy and Bonne Maman Honey.

The Experience Box: Whisky Cocktails at Home (£69). Toki whisky is made by Japan’s renowned Suntory distillery, and it “brings together old and new – traditionally crafted, but with grain whisky lifted from its usual supporting role to create perfect balance and harmony”.  Ingredients include: Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients Yuzu Juice and Dried Lime Leaves, Waitrose No1. Single Origin Spiced Orange Dark Chocolate, FeverTree Ginger Ale, Angostura Bitters, Bonne Maman Honey.

The boxes will be available exclusively at selected Waitrose and John Lewis shops, online at Waitrose.com, JohnLewis.com and WaitroseCellar.com.