We're in the throes of Dry January, but those who aren't participating may be itching for something new to drink. Cocktails are well and good, but it's way more convenient to crack open a beer or pour a dram of whiskey. Luckily a boatload of brands are making pre-mixed canned cocktails. While some cans pack about the same amount of booze as a spiked seltzer, say around 5 percent ABV, there's a new wave of ready-to-drink cocktails that hover well above that ABV, sometimes hitting the double digits. And that's the fun stuff. From portable old fashioneds to a cool-kid can from Copenhagen, these 10 high-ABV canned cocktails will get your party started sooner.
Cutwater Tiki Rum Mai Tai
The more ingredients a cocktail has, the more convenient these little canned cocktails become. Cutwater's Mai Tai combines the distillery's Barrel Aged Rum and Bali Hai Tiki Gold Rum with pineapple and coconut flavors as a well citrus mix. The can clocks in at 12.5 percent ABV so before you know it, you'll be feeling like you're chilling on a tropical retreat.
Price: $14 for a four-pack
Dante x F!ve Drinks Co. Americano 2.0
Dante, ranked the world's second-best bar, is known for bringing a nostalgic piece of Italy to New York. And the folks behind the bar make a mean cocktail. The bar worked with the canned cocktail brand F!ve Drinks Co. to bring its Americano (the cocktail, not the coffee drink) to the masses. It's bitter and sweet thanks to a blend of amaro, vermouth and bitters with a splash of soda water to help things go down smoothly.
Price: $14 for a four-pack
Empirical Spirits Can 02
Empirical Spirits is based in Copenhagen, but in 2019 the company broke into the US market. The spirits from Empirical are exceptional, and the canned cocktails are crazy good. In 2020, it launched Can 02, a fruity and woody sparkler unlike anything we'd tried before. Mainly a combination sour cherry, black currant buds, young pine cones, walnut wood, Can 02 is the kind of beverage you gravitate towards for an instant pick-me-up. And we can't neglect Empirical's Can 01, a 10-percent ABV canned cocktail that's made with oolong tea, toasted birch and green gooseberry.
Price: $45 for a four-pack
Hochstadter's Slow & Low Rock and Rye
Slow & Low is an old fashioned that isn't so old fashioned. It uses Hochstadter's Slow & Low rye whiskey, raw honey from Pennsylvania and air-dried Florida navel oranges. And because it is an old fashioned, there are, of course, Angostura bitters and some rock candy. Drink it straight from the can, or pour it over ice for a drink you'd expect to pay $15 for at a craft cocktail bar.
Price: $24 for a four-pack
Kiuchi Hitachino Highball
You might recognize the owl-adorned cans of Kiuchi's Hitachino Nest beer, a staple across Japan and easily found in Japanese grocery stores and restaurants in America. In 2016, the brewery started distilling whiskey, except the first product in launched in 2019 was not a bottle of brown but a whiskey-based beverage, the Hitachino Highball. Japanese people love their whiskey highballs, and this canned version doesn't eschew quality for convenience. The whisky used is aged three years in sherry and wine barrels, and the bold flavors are smoothed out by pure Hitachino water.
Price: $8 for one
Rogue Spirits Cranberry Elderflower Vodka Soda
Rogue is sort of a jack of all trades. The Oregon-based ale and spirit producer makes beer, CBD-spiked seltzers, spirits and canned cocktails. The producer's Cranberry Elderflower Vodka Soda is a refreshing, and far superior, version of a vodka cranberry — and it's definitely because Rogue is using its own vodka and real cranberries, elderflower and lime instead of a cranberry juice cocktail.
Price: $15 for a four-pack
Social Hour Cocktails Gin & Tonic
Few cocktails are easier to make than a gin and tonic. So if you're going to buy a canned G&T, it better be perfect. Social Hour made its version of the classic gin cocktail by using the ideal three-to-one ratio of tonic to gin. And unlike some other canned cocktail brands that don't disclose where they get their spirits from, Social Hour uses Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin, a high-ABV gin that retains its flavors even after being mixed.
Price: $20 for a four-pack
St. Agrestis Spritz
The Brooklyn-based St. Agrestis focuses primarily on old-school Italian aperitivi and digestivi. Its canned spritz is a combination of the unreleased Paradiso Aperitivo with sparkling Italian wine and sparkling water. Clocking in at just over six ounces, the spritz packs a boozy punch with a bitter citrus flavor and slightly herbal finish.
Price: $20 for a four-pack
Straightaway Last Word Spritz
Straightaway makes both bottled pre-mixed cocktails as well as canned spritzers, which use its house-made amaros. Last Word Spritz is based on the cocktail of the same name, which originated in Detroit and heavily features gin and Chartreuse. Straightaway's rendition maintains its namesakes flavors through a secret blend of spices, cherry and mint.
Price: $72 for a 12-pack
Troop Bourbon Smash
Troop's Bourbon Smash is an homage to mint juleps and the indulgence of smashing the cocktail at the Kentucky Derby. Bourbon Smash tastes like minty sweet bourbon with a hint of black tea bitterness. It's a drink that pairs well with socially distant gatherings and some form of gambling.
Price: $36 for an eight-pack