NIO: a unique celebration of mixology in your own home
With bars and restaurants still beholden to lockdown, commemorate World Bartender Day with this groundbreaking service
Pour one out for the bartenders of the world. Just as things appeared to be looking up for the hospitality industry last summer, much of the globe was plunged into a second, even stricter lockdown as a second wave of coronavirus took hold.
As such, it appears that we won't be able to celebrate World Bartender Day, which falls on 24 February, with a cocktail by our personal favourite mixologist. And if you aren't remotely confident in your ability to venture into the world of DIY cocktail-making yet, you're left with few options, right? Wrong.
On paper, NIO sounds like a rather unusual or even unworkable idea; pouches of expertly pre-mixed cocktails served directly to your door. But in practice it is the perfect way to experience the best premium cocktails as they were meant to be tasted, and all from the comfort of your home.
Founded by cocktail connoisseurs Luca Quagliano and Alessandro Palmarinwho, NIO could scarcely have come at a better time. It was originally conceived under the pretense that venturing out to the nearest high-end cocktail bar would be something of a faff for most people, and so offered all the joys of a good cocktail to be enjoyed on the sofa in front of your favourite Netflix show. Now however, the pandemic has made the desperate need for a cocktail delivery service agonisingly palpable, and so NIO has donned its cape and come to our rescue.
The company offers a wide range of cocktails that can be delivered in sets of three, six or nine and customised to include your favourite flavours and mixed drinks. The brand's menu was curated in partnership with professional mixologist Patrick Pistolesi, founder of World’s Best 50 Bars’ Drink Kong, who has crafted everything from old favourites such as a negroni to intriguing house concoctions including the Garden of Russia, a unique take on the vodka sour.
The ethos of NIO is clear from the extended form of its name: Needs Ice Only. Each cocktail comes packaged in its own uniquely-designed sleeve which, when the time comes, you simply shake, pinch and tear off the corner and pour over ice.
But the delights of this quirky outfit don't stop there, as recent months have seen them collaborate with some of the most prestigious luxury brands to create special edition boxes for home delivery. The highlights of these collections include NIO's partnership with GQ, which includes trademark cocktails of four iconic global cities in Milan, London, New York and Tokyo, and their collaboration with Acqua di Parma for the 'Aperitivo in Terrazza' box complete with gorgeous scented candles, allowing patrons to transform winter evenings into Italian aperitivo-inspired bliss by candlelight.
The fascinating, immaculately presented and thoroughly delicious offerings from NIO are the perfect way to enjoy the ups and downs of lockdown, whether as part of a playful tasting session with a loved one or as an opportunity to enjoy your favourite classic cocktails in peace and quiet.