Ten years ago, the “canned cocktail” field was populated with syrupy-sweet malt beverages with names that ended in “rita” and didn’t start with “marga.” But today’s canned cocktails have caught up with the craft movement of the bar world. Now made with real ingredients and real spirits, they’re not only palatable, but actually good and certainly worth stocking up on for backyard cookouts and beach trips. Because who wants a boring can of light beer when you can have a cooler full of ready-to-drink Gin & Tonics? Here, the five canned cocktail brands to try this summer. And a quick word of advice for airlines: You need these ASAP.
5 Canned Cocktails You Need to Drink ASAP
Heady and strong with a seriously boozy kick, these tiny cans pack a mighty wallop with 42 percent ABV. Each 100-ml can is filled with a mix of rye whiskey, raw honey, navel orange, rock candy and bitters, for an easily drinkable take on an Old Fashioned. Pour one into a glass over a big hunk of ice, or simply chill it down and enjoy it straight from the can.
Spritzy, tangy and sweet, these sparkling Caipirinhas taste shockingly like the real thing, complete with cachaça’s signature funkiness. Almost too easy to drink, these petite green cans are magnificently refreshing and would be great at any party, or just cracked open for an easy happy hour on the porch. At 11 percent ABV, they’re boozier than most beers but slightly less so than a glass of wine, aka the day-drinking sweet spot.
Cutwater Spirits Canned Cocktails ($15 for a 4-pack)
The San Diego-based spirit company (which produces bottles like Old Grove gin, Fugu vodka and Three Sheets rum) offers the most expansive lineup of canned cocktails on the market right now. From an extra-cucumbery Gin & Tonic (take note, Hendrick’s drinkers) to a zesty canned Moscow Mule to a spicy-tangy Bloody Mary, there’s something for everyone. Ranging from 6 to 10 percent ABV, the 12-ounce cans belong in your fridge all year round. Just think of how grateful you’ll be the next time a rough Sunday morning comes to call and all you have to do is crack a can to gulp down some Bloody Mary relief.
Can Can ($3)
The brainchild of artist/bartender Ryan Seng, this company creates small-batch canned cocktails in flavors like a raspberry-mint Vodka Soda and an extra cinnamony Root Beer Bourbon, made with Seng’s own homemade root beer. Each can comes with an original label designed by Seng, making even the empty cans collector items. Right now, Can Can’s canned cocktails are only available in California. Get on it, Left-Coasters.
Pampelonne ($17 for a 4-pack)
Pampelonne’s wine-based canned cocktails are as light and refreshing as their bright and beachy labels. Made with French wines, the cans come in flavors like a crisp French 75 and a richly tart Blood Orange Spritz, but our current favorite it the Negroni Sbagliato, which is an easy-drinking take on the classic, sparkling Campari Cocktail. These cans are serious poolside drinking material and definitely give today’s current reigning wine-tail, Frosé, a run for its money.