So you're sitting at home, longing for a Negroni, only to discover you're out of Aviator gin and/or Campari and vermouth.
You could hop in the car, or pull out your skateboard, but hey, it's hot out there. And who's to say whether the closest liquor store will have your preferred brand of gin or any other liquor.
Enter Drizly. "The smartphone app for fast, convenient alcohol delivery" just launched in Los Angeles following its debut in Boston and New York. The first neighborhoods to launch include Silverlake, Venice, Westwood, Beverly Hills, Miracle Mile, West Hollywood, Hollywood, Hollywood Hills, Santa Monica, Culver City and Koreatown, with more to come.
The question is, is it worth the $3 flat fee plus 10% automatic gratuity?
Here's how it works: "Consumers of legal drinking age simply download the app to their smartphone and with a few taps of the finger, the consumer's favorite beer, wine or liquor is on its way, in just 20 to 40 minutes. Delivery drivers then authenticate and validate IDs using Drizly technology."
I was nearly out of gin and definitely out of Campari, so I downloaded the app, which is free. I registered, affirmed I was over 21, confirmed my address and then logged in. Easy.
The initial menu has four categories: Beer & Cider; Wine; Liquor & Spirits; Soft Drinks & Extras. In the search field, I typed in Campari.
Nothing. No Campari, thus dashing my hopes for a Negroni by nightfall.
Next I tried a search in Liquor & Spirits by type: gin. Right at the top was my Aviation gin for $37.99. The app doesn't list a gazillion brands. In fact, there are just eight at the moment, but that does include St. George Spirits Botanivore at $34.99, which is quite an eclectic -- and excellent -- choice. But Finca El Origen Torrontes, a white wine from Argentina, is also listed. As well as Mizbasho Ginjo — a sake. Those glitches aren't such a big deal, just amateurish.
Call me crazy, but I would have expected to have at least some information about the product, but nada. Just the name. On the other hand, this is not really a shopping site, but an alcohol delivery site. You have to already know exactly what you want to order.
Under mezcal, I find three from Del Maguey's Single Village selections. Vida is my go-to mezcal for cocktails and the price, at $35.99, is right in line with what I last paid. They've also got Del Maguey's Arroqueño, a special edition of 360 bottles made from the semi-wild agave Arroqueño, and their Wild Papalome, both at $99.99. These last are pretty darn obscure, a big plus for Drizly's selections.
By now I've got two items in my basket: Aviation Gin and Del Maguey Vida. The delivery fee? Just $3. I'll add some more bottles to see if that fee increases.
Poking around in Wine, I see the subcategory Fortified Wine and in that I find Punt e Mes and a couple of vermouths, but no Campari. Under Italian reds, I find a Giacosa Dolcetto d'Alba from Piedmont, but the listing doesn't specify whether it's Bruno Giacosa or another Giacosa. When I click on the name of the wine, I get no information, just a place to rate it from one to five stars.
Also, it bothers me that the names are run together without spaces; i.e., PacentiBrunello 2008 or PacentiRosso2011. SpinettaNebbioloLanghe should be La Spinetta Nebbiolo Langhe (Piedmont, Italy) at the very least.
Somebody needs to go through the wine section and organize it better as well as add basic information such as the grape and region. "Washington state" is not precise enough. Nor is "California red." We need to know it's Napa Valley or Columbia Valley or whatever. I found only two wines under "Washington red," in fact, and one of them is a Chenin Blanc — a white wine!
The beer selection seems more complete in that some selections do include a description. However, typos and errant characters make this app feel very much like a work in progress.
The five items in my basket add up to $138.95 (including $3 delivery fee). With $12.24 added in tax, and a 10% tip at $13.50 (automatically included), my total comes to $164.69. The question then becomes whether it's worth $16.50 to not have to step out of my house. On this particular day, not really. But who knows? I might go for it another afternoon when I'm cooking for a dinner party and simply don't have the time to rustle up those bottles myself.