Canned cocktails are huge right now. The IWSR, which analyzes the alcoholic beverage market, clocked growth in the ready-to-drink sector at 43 percent in 2020. And it's not hard to see why canned cocktails are having such a moment. When the pandemic shut nearly everything down, people were unable to head out to their favorite cocktail bars, and mixing a drink at home requires a crap-ton of ingredients that some may not be willing to make room on their bar cart for. Pre-mixed cocktails in convenient cans provided an answer to the cocktail draught, and frankly, they can be really delicious.
It's nearly impossible to find a cocktail that isn't available in a can. A perfectly sour whiskey sour? It exists. A well-made margarita? Yes, those exist, but you'll have to provide the salt-rimmed glass yourself. Then there's a variety of spritzes and highballs that — while easy to make on your own — are just so much better when drunk from a can. The beverage aisle is overflowing right now with really good canned cocktails, but these 19 should be in your fridge right now.
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.
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.
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.
Onda is just a classic tequila soda in a can. It's made with tequila from a woman-owned distillery in Mexico, and flavored with either lime or grapefruit juice. The sodas are only 100 calories each and have zero sugar.
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.
In Finland, long drinks are called lonkero, and they were invented in the 1952 as a way to get tourists buzzed (but not blasted) during the Summer Olympic Games in Helsinki. With a gin base and citrus-forward flavor, the Long Drink is a crisp and thirst-quenching brew that rivals your favorite hard seltzer.
Famed craft brewery Dogfish Head has quietly been making spirits for years, and it wasn't until 2021 that it turned its spirits into delicious canned cocktails. Its whiskey sour is made with tart cherries and bergamot, then mixed with the distillery's house-made sour mix.
California-born Lo-Fi makes exceptional aperitifs, and the go-to move for aperitifs is to make it a spritzer. The brand's Grapefruit Hibiscus Spritz does the mixing for you, resulting in a refreshing drink that tastes fruity, sweet and herbaceous.
This is not the lemonade you get from a child's lemonade stand. Clocking in at a whopping 9-percent ABV, Fishers Island Lemonade is made with a base of both vodka and whiskey and tastes like your childhood but drunk. The brand's CEO, Bronya Shillo, got the recipe for the drink from her family's bar, The Pequot Inn, which is located on Fishers Island, New York.
The ideal home bar is outfitted with the gear to make any cocktail happen.
Nude is canned boozy beverage brand that prides itself on being free of sugar, sweeteners and carbs. The brand's Hard Iced Tea is exactly as it sounds, an iced tea with booze. Its variety pack comes in lemon, peach and raspberry — sort of like your favorite bottled non-alcoholic iced teas.
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.
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.
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.
It's not hard to make a mimosa, so the key to making a really good one is by focusing on high-quality ingredients. Miami Cocktail Co's Mimosa Spritz uses a base alcohol of rosé wine paired with organic mandarin, orange and tangerine juices.
Vervet is making a name for itself in the canned cocktail space because it makes literally everything from scratch. The amaro, bitters, spirits — it's all made in-house. Vervet describes this as a "boozy strawberry soda," and that's as accurate as it gets. It's made with cold-pressed Oxnard strawberry juice, champagne vinegar, rhubarb-oak bitters and amaro. This is something you'll enjoy from sunup to sundown.
Get the flavors of tequila, the refreshment of sparkling water and the spicy sweetness of ginger in Volley's Spicy Ginger Spiked Seltzer. The quality of each ingredient shines, making this better than your ordinary tequila soda.
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.
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.
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.
Add these to your shopping list for your next alcohol re up.