There’s something very nostalgic about having a bar cart in the corner of the living room, outfitted with your favorite spirits, glasses, and mixing equipment. But good luck packing that bar cart up and taking it with you on vacation or to your next get-together. Luckily, canned cocktails have absolutely exploded onto the scene over the last couple of years, with a wide variety of flavors, liquors, and styles to choose from. There’s little doubt that the global pandemic has helped fuel the desire for simple cocktails that can be enjoyed at home when your favorite watering hole has temporarily (or in some cases, permanently) closed its doors. But it’s also likely that this is just the beginning for the canned cocktail market.
Here we’ve compiled a list of 31 popular canned cocktail brands — and that’s just scratching the surface of what’s available out there. We’ve taken a look at brands that do things traditionally, and those that don’t. There are old-school liquor cocktails, wine cocktails, and a few drinks that walk the line between cocktail and seltzer. Some you’ve likely heard of, and some will probably be new to a lot of people. Read on to see how they rank, and which might be a good fit for your next festive night in.
31. Reed’s Classic Mule
We’ll admit that a mules-only canned cocktail company is pretty niche, but what else would you expect from one of the largest Jamaican-style ginger ale and ginger beer producers? Reed’s has taken their popular ginger drinks and transformed them into the most recognizable canned ginger cocktail, the mule. Their version is 7% alcohol by volume (ABV), and while it doesn’t include any actual vodka, it contains organic erythritol and a generous serving of organic ginger juice. The mules are sweetened with stevia instead of sugar in an attempt to make it a zero sugar, low-calorie beverage.
This already niche drink seems to be serving an even more specific audience — people who are following a keto diet and who love Moscow mules. Now, we don’t have the data on exactly how many people that might be, but given how rare of a find this is, we’re guessing it’s not a huge amount. Mules make a regular appearance on this list, so unless you’re looking for a strong keto option, we’d suggest you keep reading to see what your options are.
SESH could be considered both a canned cocktail or a hard seltzer. Made for those looking for a low-calorie cocktail option, SESH clocks only 120 calories per 12-ounce can, which is just above the 100 calories you’ll find in a White Claw. With those extra 20 calories, you’re getting a little bit more alcohol, with each can of SESH supplying 6% ABV. The creators also note that the drinks are sugar-free, which isn’t entirely uncommon these days, but was an explicit choice when creating these drinks as one of the co-founders is diabetic.
Like many of the other canned cocktails on the market, SESH offers a small selection of classic cocktails: Moscow Mule, Mojito, Gin & Tonic, and Paloma. Additionally, the branding on the cans is minimal, mostly black with a single band of color around the bottom to help indicate what flavor the drink is, which we imagine is supposed to appeal to a wider range of people than some of the other drinks with more explicit gender or age-based branding.
"In my opinion," writes Better on Draft, "Mojito was the best flavor with a steady balance between the lime and mint. The Moscow Mule was a close second … SESH’s version of the cocktail was extremely refreshing. The Paloma had notes of lime and grapefruit with neither one overpowering the other. The Gin & Tonic hard seltzer was straightforward." It seems like you shouldn’t expect a lot of complexity here, but instead some slightly boozier seltzers with a cocktail twist.
This won’t be the only tequila and soda entry in this lineup, but it’s the one that’s most like a hard seltzer with the fewest flavor options available. Mamitas was created by Phusion Products, the very same creators of Four Loko. Perhaps that’s something that interests you, but for those looking for a genuine cocktail experience in a can, it doesn’t bode well. But, of course, you can’t judge until you try the drinks, and that’s exactly what Marnie Shure at The Takeout did. "[It tastes] a whole lot like a tequila cocktail, to the point where you start bracing for a residual burn that never arrives … [It] balances the booze with some tempering sweetness in craveable proportions," Shure writes. "And you’re no more likely to get a headache from this stuff than you are from a White Claw." So that’s reassuring.
The drinks are actually made with tequila and sparkling water, and like White Claw, are only 5% ABV. They’re available in four flavors: Mango, Paloma, Pineapple, and Lime. Unlike White Claw, they’re a miniscule 95 calories by can, which we understand is what a lot of people are looking for with hard seltzers. So if you come across Mamitas, give it a shot, but you might want to try some of the other canned tequila options as well.
Clubtails canned cocktails were undoubtedly made for a party. If you were wondering what gave us that impression, it’s that they come in 16- and 24-ounce canned formats and are all 10% ABV. In the lineup of 13 flavors, five are margaritas, and the rest are exactly what you’d expect to find at a beachside bar: Sex on the Beach, Bahama Mama, Screwdriver, Long Island Iced Tea, Strawberry Daiquiri, Peach Breeze, and Alabama Slammer.
In lieu of liquor and fresh juices, most of these drinks are made with neutral malt liquor and natural flavors. With that in mind, we’d like to manage your expectations of what these should taste like. These should taste like college spring break in Tampa. These should taste like a club on the Jersey Shore in the summertime. This should taste like an unapologetic good time without having to hire a private bartender for your backyard party. They’re ideal for a day trip to the beach without a resort stay, and since they’re sold primarily in convenience and grocery stores, you don’t have to go out of your way to find them. With all of that said, if you’re looking for something more along the lines of a craft cocktail from your favorite little bar, you’re definitely going to have to look elsewhere.
We’ll admit that we just learned about Buzzballz recently (thanks, TikTok), and we weren’t quite prepared for what we’d find here. Buzzballz are 200 ml round cans — not cylindrical like regular cans, but round like tennis balls with a pop-top mouth at the top — and in each is a 15% ABV cocktail that is made with rum, tequila, or vodka. The flavors are both familiar and playfully unorthodox, and definitely things you probably won’t find at your local bar. The current flavors include: Chili Mango, Hazelnut Latte, Lotta Colada, Peachballz, Horchata, Tequila ‘Rita, Forbidden Apple, Cran Blaster, Watermelon Smash, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Strawberry ‘Rita, and Choc Tease. If they weren’t so boozy, we’d think they were being marketed to middle schoolers.
The brand also makes equally boozy "Chillers" in many of the same flavors, but with wine instead of liquor, and large 1.75 liter Buzzballz in three select flavors. All of the drinks are highly rated on the Buzzballz website, but we looked to Spoon University for an impartial review. "Trying to get turnt, thin out some paint, or maybe just love a liquid in a spherical container? Ugh, me too," writes contributor Katie Orlady. So, be prepared for a college frat-party level of booziness when you crack open one of these.
26. Canteen Spirits
This drink is for those of you who drink vodka soda, and only vodka soda. And for those whose go-to drink is the vodka soda because of the lower calorie count, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised by what Canteen Spirits has to offer. Each 12-ounce can is only 99 calories, with zero sugars and zero carbs. The sodas come in seven "All American" flavors: Black Cherry, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Strawberry, Watermelon, Pineapple, Lime, and Cucumber Mint. The branding is heavy on the outdoors and geared toward those with an active lifestyle that want to enjoy a bubbly and slightly boozy drink on their next adventure.
Brock Wilbur of The Pitch sat down and tasted five of the Canteen vodka soda flavors, and was subsequently impressed with what they had to offer. "This is perhaps my favorite entry in the series. A perfect blend of flavor and smoothness," he writes of the Cucumber Mint vodka soda. "The cucumber coming off as chiller than the lime was a surprise. This is what I think summer tastes like. And I’m dragging it with me into fall." The Cucumber Mint ultimately ends up tasting as close to what you’ll get in a bar as this lineup gets. He also mentions that the Black Cherry vodka soda tastes like drinking a Clearly Canadian in the 1990s, which is either amazing or not, depending on your affinity for Clearly Canadians and the memories you may have made while drinking them 30 years ago.
Eventually you’re going to get bored with all of the ubiquitous seltzers out there, and you’re going to want something with a little bit more style. Onda has created a line of tequila seltzers that aren’t exactly cocktails, but a little bit cooler with the same low-calorie buzziness in mind and a clearly a Miami-in-1992 vibe. Each 12-ounce can is 5% ABV, and there are currently eight flavors of the tequila seltzer: Mango, Passion Fruit, Pineapple, and Strawberry (available together in the "Paradise Collection"), as well as Grapefruit, Lime, Blood Orange, and Watermelon (available individually or together in the "Classic Collection").
When Jim Vorel at Paste Magazine, who is decidedly not a hard seltzer guy, tried the Onda Lime and Grapefruit tequila seltzers, he was swayed enough to accept this version over some of the more mainstream seltzers. "Between the likes of Onda and pretty much any hard seltzer brand I’ve ever sampled, I’d choose the Onda," he writes. "In fact, I expect that if you gave most drinkers a direct choice between a seltzer-like product where the source of the alcohol was a distilled spirit, or ‘flavored malt beverage,’ people would choose the spirit every time, all else being equal." And that’s really what many of the canned cocktail companies are aiming for these days. Just because it’s better than a hard seltzer doesn’t mean it can compete at the same level as actual cocktails, but they’re a decent starting point.
It only makes sense that some of the big-name liquor companies would catch on to the whole canned cocktail movement and start producing the cocktails for which their liquors are already known. And given that Malibu coconut rum is already known as a spirit best enjoyed when you’re unwinding, be it at a beach or a club, we were curious what canned cocktails the company has dreamed up — and cautiously wondering if this would be heaven or hell.
Of course, the aim is to please, and that they do with two classic rum cocktails, a Piña Colada and a Strawberry Daiquiri, in a can. Malibu also makes a series of five lighter canned sparkling beverages made with malt liquor instead of rum and branded as Malibu Splash. The Splash drinks come in watermelon, strawberry, lime, passion fruit, and pineapple flavors. And while they’re not specifically canned cocktails, Malibu also offers pre-mixed rum punch and Blue Hawaiian cocktails in 1.75 liter bags.
We appreciate that the Malibu Splash drinks offer lighter summertime sips with a healthy squeeze of coconut flavor, but they’re still essentially just hard seltzers. The canned and bagged rum cocktails are where the Malibu magic actually happens. But like any Malibu drinker can tell you, it’s very easy to drink — and before you know it, you might have had too much of a good thing. You’ve been warned.
23. Kahlúa Espresso-Style Martini
We’ve found a few coffee-flavored canned cocktails here and there, but it makes perfect sense that Kahlúa would have a canned cocktail of their own, and that it would be an Espresso Martini. Well, it’s an espresso-"style" martini, according to the can, which is made with Kahlúa, vodka, coffee, and nitrogen for a creamy, smooth finish. It comes in a 200 ml can (about 6.75 ounces), and serves up a 4.5% ABV. With such a relatively low ABV, we have no qualms with popping open a can of this espresso martini and enjoying it for brunch. But be warned, while this little can only has 150 calories, you’re only getting about half the drink that most of the other 12-ounce canned cocktails offer.
Christopher Null at Drinkhacker tasted the canned cocktail and wrote, "[I]t certainly looks appealing, with a dense brown color beneath a lovely layer of foamy cream. On the nose, sweetened coffee is immediately evident, along with notes of coconut nectar and some maple. Upon sipping, the coffee notes fade surprisingly quickly, perhaps because the experience is so extremely sweet — though some notes of cinnamon are evident, giving at least some intrigue." So you probably shouldn’t expect a perfectly balanced espresso martini here, but for the convenience of a cocktail that requires more things to make than we have on hand, we’re willing to give it a shot. Maybe they’ll even add a White Russian to the lineup in the future.
22. The Finnish Long Drink
Your first question might be, "What is a Finnish Long Drink?" This is an entirely reasonable question considering we’ve never seen it listed on a cocktail menu at any bar in the U.S. Essentially, it’s a gin and soda with grapefruit and juniper berry flavoring. The Finnish Long Drink website claims the drink was commissioned by the Finnish government to serve the large crowds attending the summer Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland, in 1952. Now, keep in mind that the average daily temperature in the summer in Helsinki is only 62°F (via Weather Spark), and grapefruit doesn’t actually grow in Finland, although juniper does.
Nevertheless, we like the idea of a drink that’s quick and easy to mix and refreshing in the heat of the summertime. This particular brand has created four versions of the drink: a traditional version with 5.5% ABV, a Zero version with zero carbs and 5% ABV, a Strong version with more citrus and 8.5% ABV (which we imagine is how it’s meant to be made), and a Cranberry version that swaps out the grapefruit and juniper but keeps the 5.5% ABV. "[It’s] a bit sour with a pleasant tartness. Juniper berries are in the background, quietly rounding things out. There’s not much bitterness on the finish — mostly just a hint of sweet grapefruit candy," writes The Gin is In. "The Long Drink Company has pulled off a winner."
Ohza went in a different direction than many of the other canned cocktails we’ve listed here. All of the cocktails that Ohza offers are mimosas (and one bellini, which is pretty much just a peach mimosa). They offer four bubbly flavors, including a Classic Mimosa, Cranberry Mimosa, Mango mimosa, and Classic Bellini. These aren’t sparkling seltzers, they’re actually made with brut sparkling wine made in New York and fresh juice from California or Florida, depending on the season, which we very much appreciate. Each 12-ounce can is 12% ABV and contains an impressively low 11 grams of sugar per can — which is far lighter than the drink you’re probably going to get at brunch this weekend.
The lighter calorie content is definitely something to consider when hosting your own bottomless brunch, and since the sugar and alcohol content are a little lower than the hand-mixed versions, you might even feel good enough to tackle some of those after-brunch plans that you always manage to be too wiped out to deal with after a much heavier meal. Forbes took a special interest in this new upstart beverage company, and was impressed with what they found. "No matter the quality of what goes into a canned, shelf-stable product, you can’t replicate fresh-squeezed juice," wrote contributor Kevin Gray. "But Ohza already tastes better than many canned cocktails and most bottomless mimosas you’ll find at brunch spots."
If you aren’t familiar with Rogue Canned Cocktails, it’s very likely that you’re familiar with Rogue craft beers, which are based in Newport, Oregon, and widely sold across the country. The brewery and distillery are large and produce beers, liquors, canned cocktails, and even CBD seltzers. Riding on the popularity of their beers, Rogue created a line of canned cocktails in 12-ounce slim cans that are all 7.5% ABV each. The cocktail flavors include Grapefruit Vodka Soda, Cranberry Elderflower Vodka Soda, Cucumber Lime Gin Fizz, Ginger Lime Vodka Mule, Ginger Lemon Whiskey Mule, Lemonade Iced Tea Vodka Soda, Apple Pie Whiskey Fizz, and Espresso Martini.
Florence Fabricant of The New York Times writes, "They’re blissfully straightforward mixtures of very few ingredients, plus sparkling water. The spirits are Rogue’s own Bayfront Vodka and Farmhouse Gin. The Ginger Lime Vodka Mule and the Cucumber Lime Gin Fizz are my preferences, with the Grapefruit Vodka Soda a runner-up. The Cranberry Elderflower Vodka Soda was too sweet for me." While Fabricant finds the cocktails to be enjoyable enough, she also comments that an extra shot of liquor in each cocktail is a welcome addition for those looking for a more authentic cocktail experience.
19. Bombay Sapphire
There are a lot of canned gin and tonics on the market, second maybe only to vodka sodas. So for a brand to make canned gin and tonics exclusively, they’d have to be something special to outshine the widespread competition. Of course, if Bombay Sapphire can’t make a gin and tonic, who can? And that is just exactly what they’ve done. The brand offers a classic gin and tonic (or Bombay and tonic), as well as a light version with fewer calories. Both the regular and light versions clock 5.9% ABV, with the light cocktail having only 90 calories per 250 ml can (the calorie count for the regular gin and tonic is not listed).
But for die hard gin and tonic fans, how does this canned version stack up? Drinkhacker put both cans to the test to see how they taste, and found that the classic gin and tonic hits all the aromas and delicate tastes that you’ll find in the London dry gin. "Popping the top, a burst of citrus hits the nose, followed by piney juniper. With a sip, the citrus comes first, tasting like a lemon drop, while evergreen notes follow. Coriander and almonds, which are among Bombay Sapphire’s botanicals, can be teased out, but they are very subtle." Unfortunately, it’s got a pretty low alcohol kick for a drink that should be a little stronger. Not a deal breaker for those drinking on the go, but noticeable.
18. Jim Beam Highballs
It’s not surprise that Jim Beam has created a couple of canned whiskey sodas, which is great news if you like bourbon, as many of the other canned cocktail brands use little, if any, bourbon in their drinks. Unfortunately, the selection is slim, currently only including a Bourbon & Seltzer, and a Bourbon & Ginger Ale, both of which Jim Beam is marketing as "Highballs To-Go." Each of the cocktails is 5% ABV, and while not marketed toward those looking to cut calories, the bourbon & seltzer points out on the label that it’s only 105 calories.
Drinkhacker tasted both of the highballs, and gave both very high ratings. Of the Ginger Highball they wrote, "Here, the ginger ale comes across as of the widely available variety, where the sweetness outshines the ginger. When poured over ice with a lemon wedge as instructed, it struck me as exactly what I was in the mood for." Even if a fizzy bourbon cocktail isn’t your first choice, it’s a great alternative for breaking up the monotony of beer and a pretty refreshing choice for the warmer months. In the future we hope Jim Beam branches out to some more bourbon-heavy canned cocktails, and brings some creativity to a world that we think could use a little more bourbon in it.
17. You & Yours Distilling Co.
You & Yours began as a distilling company in San Diego, California, but has grown to include a beautifully packaged line of canned vodka sodas and gin and tonics. Using their own spirits, You & Yours has created six vodka soda flavors, including Cucumber Mint, Meyer Lemon, Cranberry, Tangerine, Key Lime, and a Vodka Mule. There are also two gin and tonics in the collection that include a classic version of the cocktail and a Blood Orange version. Most of the sodas are 7.5% ABV and come in 12-ounce cans.
The Gin Is In tasted the classic Gin and Tonic, noting, "You and Yours Distilling Co. Gin and Tonic is only on the lighter side of sweet. It’s perfect for drinkers who think most canned Gin and Tonics are a tad too sweet, but also for fans of citrus in their G&T." Unfortunately, you may not find these drinks in stores if you don’t live in the San Diego area, but they’re shipped nationwide if you’re so inclined to give them a taste.
16. Jack Daniel’s
Jack Daniel’s has been playing around with flavored whiskies for decades now, so we were happy to see the popular whiskey brand branch out into canned cocktails. Currently Jack Daniel’s offers three canned cocktails that are exactly what you’d expect if you’re an avid Daniel’s drinker. Of course, there’s a whiskey and cola for classic Jack Daniel’s fans, a Tennessee Apple Fizz made with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple Whiskey, and a Tennessee Honey Lemonade that will satisfy the Honey Jack fans. When the cocktails were initially offered, the lineup included a whiskey and seltzer, but has since been replaced with the Tennessee Apple cocktail.
Each of the 12-ounce cans is 7% ABV and widely available. The biggest issue tasters seem to have with the whiskey and cola is that the cola itself isn’t very good. There’s a reason why Jack and Cokes are such an essential bar drink — because it’s hard to beat the flavor of Coca-Cola (or even Pepsi, for those who swing that way). In an ideal world, Jack Daniel’s would have teamed up with Coke to bring us the actual bar drink we’re looking for. With that said, the Tennessee Honey Lemonade has received high praise from many tasters, and is worth trying if you’re partial to whiskey drinks.
15. Two Chicks
Step away from the ordinary and into a botanical cocktail wonderland. Two Chicks canned cocktails come in eight flavors and are dressed in lusciously illustrated cans. We’re especially excited by the Vodka Elderflower and Pear Cocktail as well as the Gin Apple and Cucumber Cocktail. All of the cocktails are sparkling, and a few more familiar flavors like the Citrus Margarita and Cranberry Tartini (which is basically a sparkling Cosmopolitan with lime) will appease a wide range of tastes. The company is founded, owned, and operated by women, and markets itself toward women with creative, organic, and self-empowered lifestyles.
Each of the Two Chicks cocktails comes in 12-ounce cans and has a 5% ABV, which makes them relatively easy-drinking and fitting for an afternoon in the park or chatting for hours with friends over bottomless brunch. The Two Chicks cocktails are more creative and authentic than hard seltzers, and less fussy and intense than actual cocktails. We think the flavor combinations and presentation are really lovely, but understand that they might not appeal to everyone, especially those looking for a more masculine drink or a traditional cocktail option.
14. Crown Royal
There’s just something about that luxurious purple and gold bag, with a bottle of fancy Canadian whisky nestled into it, that people can’t get enough of. Crown Royal launched three canned cocktails just in time for the summer of 2021, including a Whisky and Cola, Peach Tea, and Washington Apple whisky cocktail. Each cocktail comes in a 12-ounce can and packs 7% alcohol by volume, which is enough for most people to feel.
Travel Distilled gave all three cocktails a try, and generally thought they were all fine, if slightly less boozy than what you’d expect from a bar-quality cocktail. "If you’re a Crown Royal fan, give them a try … but have a bottle of Crown Royal standing by to give them a booze boost." With that said, there are fewer canned whisky (or whiskey, depending on where it’s made) cocktails on the market than there are vodka and gin options, so we’d suggest grabbing any of these cans you see if you want a whisky cocktail on the go.
13. Cocktail Squad
Hailing from Boulder, Colorado, the Cocktail Squad canned cocktails are both playful and a little dangerous. The "Classy Classics" collection of cocktails are all 10% ABV, and come ready to drink in 12-ounce (355 ml) cans. The classic cocktails include Margarita, Greyhound, Blackberry Bourbon Smash, Nitro Whiskey Sour, Gin and Tonic, and Vodka Soda. We like that Cocktail Squad offers drinks we know and love, in conjunction with drinks that are a little more creative than the generic canned cocktail options available from everyone else. For those looking for a good time with a little less of a kick, Cocktail Squad also offers two 5% ABV sodas that they call "Classy Casuals": the Vodka Lemon and Whiskey Ginger.
Drinkhacker tasted all of the Classy Classics and had mixed reviews. They found the Gin and Tonic to be on the basic side and would benefit from a citrus upgrade, but possibly nice to use as a base for your own mix-ins. The Vodka Soda was a complete miss, tasting more like a Country Time Lemonade Mix than a grown-up vodka soda with lemon. The Nitro Whiskey Sour ranked the highest, with complex and satisfying flavors, while the Margarita, Greyhound, and Blackberry Bourbon Smash all were given fine reviews, if not quite as good as their handmade counterparts. Ultimately, if you’re looking for cocktails that pack more of a cocktail punch without having to do any of the work to mix them up, Cocktail Squad has you covered.
12. Cocktail Courier Party Can
Cocktail Courier is an actual cocktail-making company for those who want to lean into the home bartending game with more enthusiasm than simply popping open a can. But the smart people at Cocktail Courier also realize that not everyone wants to bartend; some people just want fantastic cocktails. So while they offer very cool all-in-one cocktail-making kits that you should definitely look at, we’re focusing on the pre-mixed large batch cans of cocktails that serve a whopping 12 glasses per can and are aptly named the "Party Can." Each cocktail is either 12.5% or 15% ABV. There are currently three selections: Gold Rush Old Fashioned, Passionfruit Cosmicpolitan, and Triple Spice Margarita. Cans cost $30 to $34, which is honestly an incredible price given how many cocktails you’re getting out of each can. They’re also available as a set for $80.
Writing for Thrillist, Amber Sutherland-Namako says of the Triple Spice Margarita, "[T]he Party Can has more of a synthetic, candy nose. It tastes a little like candy, too, with a tangy sweetness that sticks to the back of the palate. I wouldn’t add the Party Can triple spice margarita to my everyday home bar rotation, but I would trod it out at our next barbecue … I’d be even quicker to bring it to somebody else’s party."
So while these cocktails don’t taste quite like the real thing, they are a fun party favor for those looking for a clever way to have fun.
11. Miami Cocktail Company
Miami Cocktail Company makes two kinds of cocktails, organic spritzes and bottled organic cocktails. The spritz collection is true to the classic spritz ingredients list, with a few twists along the way. All of the spritzes are made with sparkling wine, either rosé for the Limonata, Bellini, Sangria, and Mimosa spritzes, or sparkling blue agave wine for the Paloma and Margarita spritzes. Each can is 4 to 4.2% ABV and the flavors are delicate and approachable. The bottled organic cocktails are basically batched and bottled wine cocktails, and currently include a Blood Orange Mimosa, Sangria, and Margarita, ranging from 8.5 to 12% ABV per 750 ml bottle.
Drinkhacker tasted and reviewed all of the spritzes, giving almost all of them high marks. "This may be better than an actual mimosa. The use of tangerine, orange, and mandarin juices adds complexity I don’t usually experience in the traditional two-ingredient rendition. Again, the sweetness is well-balanced, and it dries nicely into the finish with pleasant notes of tart citrus and crisp sparkling wine," writes contributor Drew Beard of the Mimosa Spritz. The only one out of the group that he thought was a miss was the Paloma. "It’s the least flavorful and balanced of the lineup, with the grapefruit notes coming across watered down and almost slimy. Hibiscus and ginger juice is in here somewhere, also, but it’s lost amid tart citrus. What little grapefruit flavors I detect sour abruptly into the finish."
10. Bacardi Ready-to-Drink Rum Punch
Like several of the other big-brand liquor companies that have joined the canned cocktail party, Bacardi has played to its strengths and made a line of canned rum cocktails. There are six flavors in tropically colored cans that include Rum Punch, Mojito, Bahama Mama, Limon & Lemonade, Lime & Soda, and Sunset Punch. The 12-ounce cans all contain 5.9% ABV.
Good Spirit News tasted three of the canned rum cocktail options, with the Rum Punch coming out on top. "The Real Rum Cocktails collection is a worthwhile addition to the thriving ready-to-drink trend," they write, although they’ll admit that some of the drinks could be doctored a little bit with a dash of fresh fruit here or a splash of soda water there. While we’ve seen mojitos and citrus and soda drinks in several canned cocktail lineups, the Rum Punch flavored with pineapple, orange, mango, and a hint of passionfruit is a nice change of pace. Since the drinks are produced by such a large brand, you’ll likely be able to find them very easily nationwide at retailers like Total Wine and on Drizly.
9. Cutwater Spirits
Cutwater Spirits currently has 27 types of canned cocktails available, which is by far the largest selection of canned cocktails on the market. Here you’ll find a variety of flavored margaritas, vodka sodas, bloody marys, and some fruity mixed rum drinks. There are also a few canned cocktails you won’t find anywhere else, like a White Russian, Long Island Iced Tea, and an Elderflower vodka spritz. While there are several classic cocktails in the lineup (margarita, gin and tonic, rum and cola), the majority of the cocktails in the Cutwater Spirits collection lean toward the fun and festive and away from the traditional and straight-laced. The cocktails come in 12-ounce cans, and range from 5% to 14% ABV depending on the cocktail, with most averaging about 7% ABV — which is still stronger than many popular beers.
Spencer Dukoff tasted a few of the most popular Cutwater Spirits canned cocktails for Men’s Health and was pleasantly surprised by several of the drinks. "The tart lime complemented the orange triple sec flavor, resulting in a refreshing drinking experience, rather than something that would make you scrunch your mouth into a pucker," wrote Dukoff of the Tequila Lime Margarita. "When I glanced at the ABV halfway through the can — 12.5% — I was a little surprised, simply because the cocktail was so easy-drinking." Cutwater began as, and still is primarily, a distillery in San Diego, California. The distillery produces tequila, rum, vodka, gin, whiskey, and an herbal liquor named "Opah."
One look at these brightly colored canned cocktails, and you’ll absolutely want to know more. Fling is made by Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, Missouri, and is first and foremost a beer brewing company — the largest specialty brewer in the Midwest, in fact. Like many breweries and distilleries with the interest, capital, and space to expand their market reach, the company decided to create a collection of canned cocktails as well as a line of spiked sparkling seltzers. Seven 12-ounce canned cocktails are currently offered: Blood Orange Vodka Soda, Margarita, Mai Tai, Rye Whiskey Mule, Vodka Lemonade, Mojito, and Botanical Gin and Tonic.
Cigars & Leisure tasted four of the cocktails, and of the margarita, they wrote, "Of all the Fling cocktails, I would say this is the one that tastes most like its namesake. It is mouthwatering with a perfect balance of salty, sweet, and sour. If you could bottle what it feels like to sit on a beach, this would be it. I especially appreciate how it tastes like it has a salted rim because of the saltiness in the beverage. Really well done."
The Gin Is In also tasted the gin and tonic, commenting, "Where it ultimately comes up short is … the gin. Cucumber, lime and the bitterness of tonic are all evident. But you’ve really got to hunt hard to find juniper." So while these canned cocktails might not be exactly like the classic versions, you’ll still find something to enjoy here.
7. Usual Wines
Usual is actually a wine company, but for the time being we’re looking past the individual glass-sized bottles of wine they offer and taking a look at their wine spritzes. After all, who better to make a spritz than a company already producing wine? They currently offer a Guava spritz and a Raspberry spritz, with the Yuzu spritz being so popular that it’s indefinitely sold out. Even though there isn’t much of a selection, we like that Usual is offering up some unusual spritz options. So far we haven’t seen guava or raspberry featured in any canned spritzes or any of the other cocktails on this list. Both of the cocktails come in 8.45-ounce cans with a 7.25% ABV, and can be ordered by the box of 8, 16, or 24. Single flavor or mixed-pack options are also available, and we think you might as well mix it up.
These canned spritzes provide a more sophisticated wine cocktail experience than some of the other brands on this list, all while maintaining the casual presentation of the can. Our only hope is that more creative flavor options are offered in the future.
Given how many sparkling cocktails are on the market, we wanted to choose the best and most popular in each category to give you an idea of what’s out there. One cocktail type that is missing from every other company is a mezcal-based canned cocktail, so we were thrilled to find Elenita. Elenita is made in Mexico with mezcal and natural flavors, and is currently available in four flavors: Passion Fruit Paloma, Strawberry Mule, Cucumber Lime Basil, and Pineapple Jalapeño.
The mezcal is distilled in Oaxaca, before being added to these refreshingly tropical and slightly smoky sparkling cocktails. One sip will have you dreaming of eating warm fruit in the heat of the Mexican sunshine, and washing it all down with one of these gorgeous sparkling drinks. The beverage is still relatively new to the market, and not as widely available as most of the other drinks on this list. But for those who love mezcal, we think it’s well worth it to order the drinks online.
5. QNSY Sparkling Cocktails
QNSY is a new canned cocktail company based in Queens, New York, which just launched in the summer of 2021. Two alumni of the NYC food and beverage scene developed the drinks, which are made with real ingredients to bring you an authentic handmade cocktail experience. Their motto, "We welcome EVERYBODY. We Take sh*t from NOBODY," is just about as New York as it gets, and we were excited to finally get to try these sparkling cocktails in person.
Currently, QNSY makes three cocktails: a Cosmo, Mojito, and Margarita (affectionately named "Lovely Rita"), all of which are naturally gluten-free and 5% ABV. What we like about each of the cocktails is that they hit all of the familiar notes from our favorite cocktails, but have an impressive depth that we don’t often find in other canned cocktails. While some of our tasters leaned more toward the cool flavors of the mojito or refreshing lime kick of the Lovely Rita, we’re unapologetically partial to the juicy and delicate pink cosmo.
If you live in New York or New Jersey, there’s a good chance you can find QNSY at a grocery store, bar, or beer distributor near you (locations listed on the QNSY website). If you’re a little further away from NYC, fear not — these canned cocktails are also shipping nationwide.
4. Social Hour Cocktails
There are seven canned cocktails in the Social Hour Cocktails lineup, and it would take a generously well-stocked bar to be able to pull them all off on your own. The cocktails include Navy Strength Gin & Tonic, Pacific Spritz, Straight Rye Whiskey Mule, Prizefighter (the only appearance of this cocktail on our list), Sunkissed Fizz, Harvest Whiskey Sour, and Strawberry Rhubarb Spritz. The cocktails range from 8% to 20% alcohol by volume, but most hover around the 11% ABV mark, which is why you’ll find them in more approachable 250 ml cans.
Social Hour Cocktails was founded in Brooklyn, New York, by Julie Reiner, author and founder of several popular New York City cocktail bars, and Tom Macy, bartender, bar co-owner of the Clover Club, and YouTube video host — two people highly invested in the art of fine cocktail making. Since launching, Social Hour Cocktails have been featured in dozens of reviews, all praising the authenticity and creativity of the drinks. Unfortunately, you’ll only be able to find these cans in-store in New York and New Jersey, but you can order them and have them shipped to your door through the company’s website.
3. Slow & Low Rock and Rye
Hochstadter’s Slow & Low offers something decidedly different than anything else you’ll find on this list. The brand produces only one canned cocktail, and it’s a small but oh-so-mighty can. Slow & Low has re-created the classic liqueur from the mid-1800s, the Rock and Rye, which was originally created as a medicinal drink (via Whiskey Advocate). While the "rye" part of this drink is self-explanatory, the "rock" part refers to the addition of rock candy to sweeten the liquor and is an essential part of the drink. Different Rock and Rye makers have added everything from citrus and fruits to herbs and spices, occasionally in pursuit of healing effects, but most often in the name of taste.
Slow & Low’s Rock and Rye is more of a traditional Rye Old Fashioned, made with real rock candy, raw honey, angostura bitters, and orange peel. But don’t be fooled — this is no sweet and dainty cocktail. In fact, it’s dry and pours nearly black, which you might not notice if you drink it straight from the can as directed). It’s 84 proof, or 42% ABV, which explains why it comes in such a small 100 ml can (about 3.4 ounces or two shots). "Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock and Rye remains the only canned option whose alcohol content approaches anything close to a spirit-forward cocktail," writes Vinepair. Slow & Low doesn’t provide as much variety as others do, but they’ve perfected the one drink they make.
2. Tip Top Proper Cocktails
Tip Top Proper Cocktails is a collection of six genuine classic cocktails, including a Negroni, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Margarita, Bee’s Knees, and classic Daiquiri. You’ll immediately notice the small stature of the cans, each only 100 ml, which is substantially smaller than many of the other canned cocktail options that are sold in 12-ounce cans. Even though the other cans are 3.5 times larger, most of them range from 5% to 10% ABV, whereas the Tip Top cocktails are anywhere from 24% to 37% ABV. These little cans pack a real cocktail punch and are made with real liquors and ingredients.
Once chilled, these mighty but tiny cocktails can be enjoyed straight from the can, but we like the ritual of pouring them into a garnished glass when enjoying them at home, preferably on the rocks or straight up. You can rest assured that you’re getting a decent drink since all of the cocktails were formulated with the help of James Beard-nominated bartender Miles Macquarrie — and they don’t start to decline in quality once you’ve had a few. If you live in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, New York, South Carolina, or Texas, you may be able to find Tip Top Proper Cocktails at your local liquor store. If not, you can still buy the cocktails online in 8-packs for about $40 each before taxes and shipping, coming to about $5 per cocktail, which we think is a pretty good deal.
1. F!ve Drinks Co.
The plain silver, short-stature cans that F!ve Drinks Co. produces could be easily passed by at the store, but these little drinks are far more than the nonexistent label might suggest. The company has created a core collection of six canned cocktail flavors, including Moscow Mule, Margarita, Mojito, Paloma, Gin and Tonic, and Watermelon Vodka Soda. Most of the cocktails are between 9% and 11% ABV, with the Watermelon Vodka Soda coming in at 5.9% ABV.
While none of these drinks are especially unique to the canned cocktail world, it’s what’s in them that got our attention. For example, the margarita is made with tequila, triple sec, lime, and agave syrup as usual, but also includes steeped hibiscus and infused habanero, ingredients that set it apart from your typical mass-produced margarita. In the mojito you’ll find rum, mint, soda water, and sugar, but instead of lime the mojito gets a delightfully citrus kick from passionfruit. In addition to the six core flavors F!ve offers are a cast of rotating cocktails designed in conjunction with real-life bars and bartenders to bring high-end bar-quality cocktails straight to your living room.
Currently F!ive is collaborating with Dante NYC to create three cocktails: the Summer Spritz, Americano 2.0, and Gin and Tonic. Unfortunately cans can really only be found in stores in the NYC area, but can be ordered online and shipped to 40 states.