The folks at Cask & Kettle are self-proclaimed "hot drink and cocktail lovers." This affinity led them to create 5 flavors of pre-mixed cocktail pods that only require adding water. In partnership with Temperance Distilling, each pod is equipped with coffee concentrate, booze, and flavoring to craft a cocktail that is ready in no time. Cask & Kettle cocktails come in Irish Coffee, Spiked Dry Cider, Mint Patty Coffee, Hot Blonde Coffee, and Mexican Coffee and range in ABV from 50-76 proof (25-38% ABV). Each are spiked with vodka (with the exception of the Irish Coffee, which also uses Irish Whiskey, and the Mexican Coffee which also uses Tequila).
The only requirement to make a Cask & Kettle hot cocktail is a cocktail pod, a mug, and some hot water. Certainly they are optimized to be made in a Keurig-style machine, but you can also just peel the foil off the top off and tip into some hot water. Having Marie Kondo-ed my K-cup machine during quarantine, I opted for the latter, less machine-intensive option.
To taste test the Cask & Kettle pods, I followed the serving suggestion on the back of each box, which provides suggestions for toppings and additional flavors (nothing too crazy, and all items likely to be in the average pantry). All were made with 6 oz of water, though the box recommend 8 oz, which I find dilutes the drink too much.
- Irish Coffee - Prepared with a dollop of whipped cream. This was my least favorite, with a rather weak flavor that tasted of artificial caramel. I am hoping for a reformulation to really bring out that quintessential Irish Whiskey flavor that makes this cocktail so special. I think if they ditched the vodka and doubled down on the Whiskey, it would be a much better cocktail.
- Mint Patty Coffee - Prepared with a swirl of whipped cream and dusting of cocoa powder. This was my favorite by far. It is a cross between a Thin Mint and a York Peppermint Patty. The mint sting lingers on the tongue, and it finishes with a gentle sweetness. I found myself coming back for sip after sip with this one.
- Hot Blonde Coffee - Prepared with a honey drizzle. The Hot Blonde reminded me of those powdered French Vanilla cappuccinos (that incidentally also taste like Korean instant coffee). This flavor improves significantly with the addition of honey.
- Mexican Coffee - Prepared with a dusting of cinnamon. The Mexican Coffee smells like cinnamon even before I added the fresh spice. The flavor is a bit thin, and the nose is the real winner. I wanted more chocolate to come through, and will definitely add some chili powder next time. This pod is much better iced.
Overall, the pods are not incredibly complex drinks, and some varieties lack strong flavor, but the good ones are very nice. I can certainly see myself in the middle of winter (or whenever my fiancé and I are fighting over the thermostat), cracking one open for a little spirited coffee break. I wish I had the opportunity to try the Cider, as that is my favorite type of hot cocktail, so I will be on the look out for that one!
These pods would be great to take on a camping trip, to an Airbnb getaway, or anywhere you would have minimal accoutrements for cocktail making. They would make a great gift for someone who enjoys coffee and booze. These would also come in great in a pinch for dinner parties or unexpected guests: someone wants a toddy? Just pop one in the Keurig!
Cask & Kettle pods are available at liquor stores in select states, and directly from the brand on their website.