Like a boozy BirchBox, Kat Rudberg's brand-new subscription service, Crafted Taste, will send craft liquors, fresh ingredients, bar tools, and recipes direct to your door every month. With recipes from top bartenders all across the country and specialized liqueurs, syrups, and bitters, Rudberg has combined her love of travel and craft cocktails into her business, offering hard-to-find ingredients and expert instruction for the more hermitic aspiring mixologists.
Kat Rudberg used to travel the country as a hotel and restaurant critic for AAA until she got the entrepreneurial itch after creating her first cocktail care package for a friend as a housewarming present. Now, Rudberg is her own boss, heading operations of Crafted Taste, which started sending out its first boxes over the Christmas season last year.
With just two different kits sent out and under her belt, Rudberg admits she loves February's offerings the most so far -- a gin-based kit inspired by the Juliet & Romeo cocktail mixed up by the Velvet Hour's Toby Maloney in Chicago. The kit, which you can buy individually for $130 to try out before you sign up for a $100 per month annual subscription, includes Bloom Dry Gin, Angostura bitters, Fee Brother's rose water, Wilks and Wilson Gertrude's gomme, fresh limes, mint, cucumber, cocktail napkins and a recipe card detailing how to make the drink.
Rudberg says this English garden-esque cocktail was a refreshing, summery getaway for her in the middle of Indianapolis' winter. With both fresh ingredients and liquors, which are complicated to ship across state lines, Rudberg's full kits arrive in two shipments. However, if you prefer to pick your own spirits, you can buy a kit with just the mixers for $65.
The benefit of buying a complete box is, besides not having to get out of your pajamas while experimenting, that you get full bottles, not sample-sized, to try out as many combinations as you like. Rudberg says the complete set would retail for higher than her subscription service sells it for, which means savings for your liquor cabinet.
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If you're gin averse, don't worry. Crafted Taste's first box, which did sell out, featured an Indianapolis-based bourbon drink with the spirit coming from a local small batch whiskey distillery. The next box will include ingredients for a tequila cocktail out of Miami's Broken Shaker bar. The full kit will also include hibiscus tea, Thai basil, lemon, and more.
While keeping her eyes on the pulse of what's going on with cocktails around the country, Rudberg selects mixologists and drinks to feature based on her travels, though she also looks to highly rated and even James Beard-nominated bars to inspire her Crafted Taste boxes. Although Rudberg has no immediate plans to include Arizona ingredients or mixologists, she says she would like to showcase Phoenix-area talent in the future.