Elizabeth Brownfield is a writer, editor, and researcher who specializes in food, travel, home, and lifestyle content. She's worked on the staffs of Domino, Martha Stewart, Metropolitan Home, and Every Day with Rachael Ray magazines, and was Senior Digital Editor at Food Network.
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No matter the season or occasion, the ability to push a few buttons and have your liquor store haul delivered to your doorstep in as little as 60 minutes never gets old.
Whether you’re stocking up for the winter, find yourself craving an ice-cold gin and tonic at home, or your wine supply is running dangerously low during a party, on-the-go liquor stores have you covered. Read on for details about the best alcohol delivery services.
Minibar is everything you want in an on-demand booze delivery app. It’s sleek and straightforward in design, supports local businesses across its numerous U.S. markets, and allows customers to shop for mixers and gifts in addition to wine, spirits, and beer. And last but certainly not least, it’s a female-founded company that regularly partners with charitable organizations to make the world a better place (beyond keeping glasses full).
Here’s how it works: Minibar is not a purveyor, but a facilitator of your drink order, which is picked up from the local shop of your choice and hand-delivered to your door in as little as one hour (availability is denoted in green under each item). The selection depends on each store’s inventory, but because you’ll typically have access to multiple stores in your area, you’ve got a veritable marketplace at your fingertips.
What really sets Minibar apart is its “Book a Bartender” feature—you can reserve your own personal bartender for your next gathering for three, four, or five hours. From there, Minibar will reach out to you to talk details, and while you’ll be responsible for securing all of the necessary supplies ahead of time, you won’t have to lift a finger when your bartender arrives to do their thing. Reservations must be booked at least one day in advance, and the program is only available in select cities.
Drizly co-founders Cory Rellas, Nick Rellas, and Justin Robinson are all equal parts drinks enthusiasts and business whizzes. Together, they took a savvy concept and built it into a drinks delivery powerhouse.
Drizly’s business model is similar to that of Minibar’s in that it creates a digital marketplace out of your surrounding local liquor stores’ wine, spirits, and mixers, but this app has a particularly strong program for businesses, offering a “white glove” concierge service that will curate your workplace’s selection for free. Those who prefer to have a say in their order can do the shopping on their own via the main website, but this is a serious perk for anyone who just doesn’t have the time (or the confidence) to handle the office’s everyday or special event drink selection.
Expect a $5 delivery fee (and tip your delivery person, of course) in most markets, so plan for those added costs, but you won’t have to worry about any crazy product markups along the way.
Ah, Instacart: the angel sent to procure your groceries while you do something other than grocery shopping. As if that weren’t enough of a blessing, Instacart now offers shipments of three, six, or 12 bottles delivered to nearly 40 states plus Washington, D.C. via FedEx through its very own wine shop, which has expanded its partnership with DRINKS and Martha Stewart Wine Co.
On top of this wine delivery program, Instacart users can also shop for wines and spirits on-demand through the general platform based on participating vendors in the area. For example, if you’re in Brooklyn and in need of something overproof for your flambé, you can order a suitable bottle through a local wine and spirits seller alongside your grocery order from a nearby store, all in the same transaction.
You’ll find meal delivery service DoorDash in major cities all around the country. This is a great option for those days when your motivation to cook has been put on the backburner—it allows you to not only order your favorite meal from the restaurants in your area, but to round out your experience with the ultimate drink pairing from the establishment’s list.
For example, if you’re on Cahuenga Boulevard in Los Angeles and craving tacos and margaritas, you’d simply search either term on the website or app and explore the options at hand.
Best of all, DoorDash has its own charitable foundation (Project DASH) that combats food waste and insecurity, which has delivered nearly 9 million meals to those in need since its 2018 launch.
If you live in a major city and are a sucker for great branding, Saucey is just the thing for you. Simply plug your address into the site, and a plethora of wine, beer, spirits, tobacco, and accouterments in your area will appear before you.
With Saucey, there are absolutely no delivery fees or order minimums—a plus if you’re making tiki cocktails at home and realize that you’re lacking that one obscure rum or liqueur that you missed when skimming the recipe. If you’re interested in sending a boozy gift to a fellow New Yorker, for example, you can easily do so through the website’s gift tab (special requests are also accepted via email).
What Is an Alcohol Delivery Service?
An alcohol delivery service can mean a few different things: either you’re ordering from local liquor stores via a third party app for same-day delivery (some deliver in as little as one hour), or you’re purchasing alcohol online to be delivered at a later date. Some of these apps are specific to liquor stores only, but some also offer meals or groceries alongside your wine, spirit, or beer order.
How Much Do Alcohol Delivery Services Cost?
Surprisingly enough, many alcohol delivery services don’t pack on too much in the way of fees—Saucey, for example, has no minimum order and no delivery charge, so you’re really just paying for what you ordered plus whatever gratuity you give your delivery person. Other services, like Instacart, do apply a small service charge, but you can always join their Express membership ($9.99 monthly or $99 annually), which grants free delivery on orders over $35 as well as reduced service fees; it's well worth it if you do most of your grocery and alcohol shopping through the service.
How Do I Choose the Best Alcohol Delivery Service for Me?
Choosing the best alcohol delivery service for your needs depends on your lifestyle, entertaining, work, and personal drinking habits. If you’re simply restocking or updating your bar once in a while, go with a one-off direct order through Minibar or Drizly; if you’re putting together a corporate or personal gathering, consider letting a service like Drizly’s concierge take care of the nitty-gritty for you. And the strategic shopper would do well to transition both their grocery and liquor store shopping endeavors to Instacart as an Express member, which often pays for itself in two or three orders each month. There are no rules here, so just select the best option for your goals and your budget.
How We Chose the Best Alcohol Delivery Services
Identifying the best means of doorstep booze delivery is painstaking work (but someone has to do it!). As always, variety is key in our selection process as it’s important that there’s something for every shopper, location, occasion, and budget. From the smallest last-minute order to a bulk shopping spree for an upcoming event, there’s a solid option out there, and we aim to capture that in the snapshot of our selection.
Generally, it’s a good practice to ensure that there’s food whenever you’re imbibing, and this was a factor in our list curation. Instacart is an excellent option for cooking a meal at home (and knocked the pairing out of the park in one fell swoop), while Saucey is the best bet for city dwellers in a pinch. For those planning a gathering, whether it's personal or work-related, Minibar and Drizly come in clutch with their respective “Book a Bartender” and concierge service, which take the drink mixing pressure off of your shoulders. And, for the proverbial takeout night, DoorDash is ideal for an on-demand wine (or cocktail) and dine experience. At this point, a trip to the liquor store is a thing of the past.