Life in lockdown can feel monotonous – and without the glamorous fine dining dinners and champagne receptions that come with normal life, the pursuit of luxury can sometimes feel futile. No matter how opulent your home or how suave your car, after months of repetitive days and nights, you might be craving a little more excitement – and what better way to inject some into your week than arranging a weekly date night at home?
Giving you a solid excuse to get dressed up to the nines and get creative in the kitchen – or, if you really want to recreate that Michelin-star feel, order in from your favourite restaurant – staying in in style, it seems, is the new going out. And London-based luxury cocktail delivery service First Aid Box is upping the ante even further on evenings at home, coming to the rescue with its selection of 17 different premium cocktails, delivered straight to your door anywhere in the UK – and soon, within Europe, too.
This genius idea is certainly one we wished we had discovered months ago, and one that is certain to feature in our weekly schedule from now onwards. The service is another example of how many hospitality businesses across the country have pivoted since the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020 in a bid to keep on delivering the very best to their customers, even when physical doors are closed for custom – and is the brainchild of Chris Edwards and Dave Tregenza, who run a South London bar of the same name.
First Aid Box, in Herne Hill, was forced to shut its doors in March of last year, just as the first national lockdown began, and has remained closed for business ever since – although it hopes to reopen over the coming months as current restrictions begin to ease. Until then, it is quite literally bringing loyal customers the First Aid Box in ‘spirit’ – offering up an impressive and mouth-watering selection of classic favourites and bespoke drinks for any occasion. And yes, that weekly date night does count as an occasion – because in lockdown, there are no rules.
With seventeen cocktails currently available to order on its website, each in different shapes and sizes, First Aid Box works only with premium brands and quality ingredients to cater to its affluent customer base. The company has big plans to evolve its menu as we head into spring, offering up an exciting mix of seasonal cocktails that will make for the perfect complement for those longer, sunnier days in the garden.
“Our drinks menu consists entirely of premium products from independent producers, focusing on imaginative serves, twists on classic drinks and new creations – not just the generic classics that many other cocktail delivery services offer,” explains Chris, co-founder of First Aid Box.
“We like to have fun with our drinks, and not make them too serious – and we’ve come to be known for our penchant for film references, nostalgic notes and stories when it comes to naming and creating each one.”
Priding itself on never standing still and keeping innovation at the forefront of its strategy always, the company already has some tasty twists in the making for upcoming seasonal events. For Easter, we can expect to see them serving up their delicious hot cross bun Old Fashioned and truffle white chocolate Espresso Martini, with the Flower Power Sour set to be a spring favourite.
Chris and Dave also have a penchant for savoury cocktails, and their latest creation, Umami Mary, is already proving to be a huge hit. Comprising Haku vodka, Audemus Umami spirit and Fk Trump and his Stupid F*ing Wall blend (from the brilliant Copenhagen-based Empirical Spirits) alongside a blend of fresh, roasted and pickled tomatoes, it’s all finished off with a dash of chipotle and Empirical hot sauce 02, making for the ultimate twist on the classic Bloody Mary.
First Aid Box doesn’t just do the drinks though – in fact, it goes all out to provide the full luxury experience, from start to finish, making its offerings perfect for everything from virtual parties to theme nights, as well as making for thoughtful surprise gifts.
Chris says: “We make bespoke cocktails on request, and send garnishes out with our drinks so that our customers can experience and enjoy them to the maximum. From bee pollen and freeze-dried fruits to smoked venison jerky, there is always an accompaniment to enhance the flavour and all-round experience. We also make our own cocktail flavour salts, including the popular G and T and Pina Colada options.”
Having recently linked up with both Chapel Down vineyards and INTUNE Drinks, Chris says that we can soon also expect to see collaborations with Anno Gin, as well as a range of other brands locally around Kent, Sussex and London.
“Our aim is to keep things fresh for our customers, whilst also supporting other local brands and businesses that have been affected by the pandemic,” Chris explains. “These collaborations help to keep things interesting, and each and every drink we devise is of the utmost in quality to provide our customers with that sought-after luxury experience you’d expect from our bricks-and-mortar cocktail bar, all in the comfort of their own home.”
Born and raised in the capital, Chris and Dave each worked in many of London’s best bars and restaurants before deciding to take the leap and start a venture of their own. They now own award-winning South London bar, The Shrub and Shutter, as well as running food and beverage consultancy service, Salts of the Earth Ltd., which has big name clients such as Johnny Neill, of Whitley Neill fame, and Tom Warner, of Warner’s Gin, on its books.
The consultancy, which offers brand development strategies, has also worked alongside the likes of Twinings, Nestle, Arla, McCain, Coca Cola and Red Bull. It’s clear that beverages such as those offered by the First Aid Box are very much a part of Chris’ and Dave’s lives, and their expertise in the industry is evident.
“Both First Aid Box and The Shrub and Shutter were going strong until the pandemic took hold,” says Dave. “The Shrub was able to cater to social distancing measures when we were allowed to reopen, and continued to thrive, but as we were unable to implement the same measures at First Aid Box, the natural progression was to move online until all restrictions are eased later this year.”
He adds: “The response we’ve received to our luxury cocktail delivery service has been breath-taking, with orders flying out across Kent, back into London, and then to all four corners of the UK and Europe! We had never imagined things would grow as quickly as they have, but our cocktails are becoming more and more highly sought-after, and our customer base now comprises multiple people of note.
“We have also been running virtual masterclasses for parties and business meetings, which has been a massive success as well. We send out the cocktail kits in advance, so that all our attendees can participate live for a fully immersive and hands-on experience.”
The venture, it seems, is set to be much more than just a lockdown fad, and already has an impressive menu of services on offer that are certain to make for a long and successful future. If having First Aid Box’s delectable array of luxury cocktails come to you at home isn’t enough, then post-lockdown, you’ll be able to go one further, with the bar prepped for a return to its pop-up service, allowing customers to hire in the bar for everything from weddings, birthday and engagement parties to launch events and lavish drinks receptions.
As for the boxes themselves, these will soon be available on subscription, with a monthly changing selection of drinks tailored to individual tastes and designed to create different moods. The first box will include a cocktail kit so that each customer is perfectly equipped to start whipping up their own creations at home. Subscriptions will also come with a referral scheme, offering up discounts on forthcoming orders for anyone who successfully refers a friend.
If you’re planning a luxury date night this week, then an order from First Aid Box is guaranteed to elevate your evening even further. Visit firstaidbox2015.com/about to find out more.