First it was wine with twist-caps, then it was boxed wine, and now? Budweiser and Miller need to move over because the canned beverage industry has gotten a whole lot more interesting. What started as one or two canned wines (they’re portable! they’re safe around pools and on boats! they still taste good!) has exploded into an industry of every type of canned cocktail imaginable available to the masses. Gone are the days when you needed to be a bartender to whip up your favorite hard cocktails, now you can buy everything from a simple mimosa to a classic mule that’s ready-to-drink from a can.
The only tricky part? Deciding which canned cocktails to imbibe in. With the industry exploding (the 2020 Coronovirus pandemic didn’t exactly slow down people’s desire for an evening … or morning … cocktail), and new brands cropping up regularly, it can be hard to sort through the options. But rest assured, these are the canned cocktails — some crisp, some cool, some classic — that you’re going to want to test drive this summer.
Afterglow Hard Kombucha Cherry Sour
Technically, kombucha, which is a type of fermented tea, contains a tiny bit of alcohol (though probably not enough to get you drunk) that’s naturally derived through the fermenting process. According to Healthline, commercial kombuchas can claim to be "non-alcoholic" because the alcohol content is less than 0.5 percent. That said, the same crisp, tangy flavor of these slightly effervescent drinks can be amped up to adults only-level enjoyment when they’re turned into official alcoholic cocktails.
After Glow, a canned hard kombucha, is one such option that comes in four summer-fresh flavors, including citrus rush, apricot dream, and ginger blue, but the cherry sour flavor has that tart, sour cherry flavor that is sure to keep your tastebuds happy as you lounge by the pool. And at 5 percent alcohol by volume, a single can offers a similar buzz to standard beers and other hard ciders, but it’s made with certified organic ingredients and includes some good-for-you tea, too.
Tia Maria Iced Coffee Frappe
If you’re a fan of iced coffee, but every now and then you want a coffee with a little extra somethin’-somethin’ (i.e., alcohol), the Tia Maria Iced Coffee Frappe may be just what you’re looking for. The coffee features a hint of milk and a coffee liqueur, and is best served cold (go ahead and pour it over ice for the best results). It also has a slightly lower alcohol by volume percentage of 4 percent, making it (somewhat) more appropriate for morning drinking — just do so responsibly … and maybe not while at work. (Although, hey, everyone has those mornings, and maybe your workplace is cool like that — go ahead and do your thing!)
One especially cool thing about this canned cocktail is that when you pop the top, its nitro technology creates a foam, so you actually get to experience drinking a foam-topped coffee straight from a can (or in an ice-filled glass).
Alani Seltz Mimosa
A lazy summer brunch with your best friends just isn’t complete without a cold, crisp mimosa. And while, to be fair, mimosas are one of the easiest cocktails to mix at home, why not serve up crisp, cold, already mixed cocktails in a can? This is especially nice when you’re on vacation and you can simply pop a pack of Alani Seltz’ Mimosas in your hotel fridge, then take them with you to the beach or the pool, or even on a hike. Each can contains a single gram of sugar, two grams of carbs, and is 5 percent alcohol by volume, so you get the nice seltzy buzz at only 100 calories per can.
And if you don’t want to limit yourself to a single brunch time drink, the brand comes in four flavors — Hawaiian Shaved Ice, Peach, Please, Frozen Lemonade, and of course, Mimosa — which you can test-drive in a party pack.
Miami Cocktail Margarita Spritz
Margaritas are another one of those classic, summertime cocktails that are practically required summer drinking when you’re heading to the beach. But if you don’t want to rely on restaurant or home-mixed margaritas, or you’re looking for a twist on the classic cocktail, look no further than Miami Cocktail’s Margarita Spritz. This wine-based canned cocktail is actually made from agave wine, organic key lime and orange juices, with a little bit of elderberry and ginger to give the cocktail an unexpectedly fresh and spicy twist. The result is a delicious take on a margarita, but in a decidedly contained package that makes it easy to keep an eye on your drinking (be honest — it’s easy to suck down two to three of those oversized restaurant margarita behemoths). And at just 110 calories a can, you can still indulge your cravings without feeling like you’re overdoing it.
And, as with many of the other brands on this list, Miami Cocktail offers different flavors and options when you’re looking for something different — all of which offer a summertime vibe. You can try the sangria, bellini, mimosa, and paloma spritzes as well.
Reed’s Zero Sugar Classic Mule
If you’re a Moscow Mule fan, you’ll want to start packing your copper mug in your bag to fill with the decidedly gingery Reed’s Zero Sugar Classic Mule. This ginger beer (technically, it’s a mule without the added vodka) hits on all the high-notes of the classic cocktail — ginger, lemon juice, lime juice, and of course, alcohol — without a bit of added sugar. Instead, the brand uses stevia leaf extract to offer that sweet sensation. The result is a 12 ounce can that clocks in at just 140 calories, or the larger, 16-ounce version that will set you back an extra 45 calories.
Ultimately, the thing you’ll love most is that the brand is made with fresh ginger, and skips on artificial colors and other unnecessary additives. And at 7 percent alcohol by volume, it’s going to give you a stronger kick than many of the other cocktails on this list.
Dulce Vida Tequila & Soda Pineapple
When you’re looking for a canned cocktail that’s … harder; as in, features hard liquor rather than wine or beer, then check out Dulce Vida Tequila’s line of ready-to-drink cocktails, Tequila & Soda. These drinks feature Austin, TX-crafted organic tequila that’s pre-mixed with real fruit juices and soda — your choice of lime, grapefruit, or pineapple.
Each can is just 65 calories and 7 percent alcohol by volume, regardless of flavor, but if you have to choose, go with the pineapple version (and that’s only if you have to choose). This sweet and tart fruit juice balances well with the tequila while delivering that summertime palm tree, white sand, salty air vibe. Pick up a four-pack at your local liquor store and enjoy alongside fresh grilled fish, a big bowl of homemade guacamole, or chicken topped with pineapple and mango pico de gallo. The only thing missing is the frosty-cold glass with a wedge of pineapple for garnish, but you can probably figure out how to do that at home, too.
Tip Top Manhattan
When you’re looking for a pre-stirred classic cocktail, look no further than Tip Top, a brand that’s serving up tiny cans (they’re only tiny because they contain appropriately-sized servings of alcohol) of "big city bar"-style cocktails, like Manhattans, Negronis, and Old Fashioneds. When you’re looking for that fancy nightcap to offer to friends after a long summer day, but you’re not up for finding and mixing the right ingredients, just keep a couple packs of Tip Top stocked in your fridge to pull out and serve.
The Manhattan, a true classic, includes rye whisky, sweet vermouth, and bitters. The 100-milliliter serving (a little more than 3 ounces) registers a whopping 31 percent alcohol by volume, so you know it’s the real deal. You can even trick your friends into thinking you’ve spent time at bartending school by serving it up in a martini glass and garnishing it with an olive. Or, you know, just handing them a can without pretending to be pretentious — if they’re your friends, they already know you drink cocktails from a can, right?
Local Roots Hard Kombucha Strawberry Mojito
If you’re a kombucha fan who wants a few more flavor options and a little more alcohol by volume, look no further than Local Roots Kombucha. Local Roots takes classic cocktails and turns them into a lighter, somewhat healthier option than other non-kombucha cocktails because they use all organic ingredients with no added sweeteners and come served with living probiotics.
The brand offers five flavors — Purple Haze, Island Vibes, Booch Mosa, Cali Mule, and Strawberry Mojito — all of which are perfectly suited for chill, summertime drinking. But really, the Strawberry Mojito flavor has that fresh, fruity strawberry and mint flavor that’s perfect for serving poolside or during a backyard barbecue. You can even order a six or 12-pack online to be delivered within two business days. Each variety has 6 percent alcohol by volume, which is more than the standard beer, but less than a glass of wine. So enjoy, but be aware that a couple of these bad boys could leave you with quite the buzz.
Bomani Cold Buzz
If you’re looking for a nighttime drink to keep you awake and take the edge off, Bomani just might be your perfect pour. This cold brew alcoholic coffee comes in two flavors — original and vanilla — and doesn’t skimp on the alcohol, which clocks in at 5.7 percent by volume … or the caffeine, which is the same as about a half cup of brewed coffee. The flavor is smooth and naturally sweet (the cold brew process ensures that more sweetness is naturally pulled from the coffee beans), leaving you with the type of drink that you’ll be tempted to enjoy in the morning and night. Just keep in mind, there’s no milk added to this coffee cocktail, so if you struggle to drink black coffee straight, you might need to serve it in a glass with milk and ice. Better yet, freeze some milk into ice cubs and pour your Bomani over a handful of these. The milk will help cut the coffee flavor without watering it down.
Coppercraft Whiskey Lemonade
Lemonade is a classic summertime drink that harkens back to childhood lemonade stands, but when it’s time to ditch the "kid stuff" and opt for an adult beverage, you don’t have to ditch the lemonade, too. Simply pick up an adult version by purchasing Coppercraft’s Whiskey Lemonade. A standard 12-ounce can is 10 percent alcohol by volume, so basically double the alcohol you’d be drinking in a regular beer. We suggest taking this with you on a mountainside hike or packed in a cooler as you kayak or standup paddle across placid waters. Just don’t lose sight of the alcohol content — it’s best to stick to one or two while out adventuring, then maybe break open another when you’re telling stories around the fire at your campsite. It would pair especially well with another childhood favorite — s’mores.
And if spiked lemonade just isn’t your thing, Coppercraft also offers a canned Gin & Tonic, and another lemon-infused option called Pink Bubbles, which includes lemon, pomegranate, and cherry flavors.
Ramona Organic Dry Sparkling Rose
According to an article published in August 2020 in The Connexion, the popularity of rosé wines soared in the eight proceeding years — growing in popularity by 40 percent per year in the U.S. — so it only makes sense that one of the most popular canned cocktails includes rosé. But instead of relying on a flat wine to get you through the summer months, try Ramona’s Dry Sparkling Rosé which offers a fresh, crisp effervescence with each sip. The wine comes from Abruzzo, Italy, and is made of organic ingredients and without any refined sugar, elevating the experience to a fine wine in a can.
And Ramona has the credentials to back up the "fine wine" claim, having received a gold medal at the International Canned Wine Competition, and a silver medal, specifically for the Dry Sparkling Rose, at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. That means that even if you’re not a fan of rosé, the label has other delicious summer-appropriate options, including lemon, grapefruit, and blood orange-infused spritzes.
If you’ve ever had a Long Island iced tea, you know they can be dangerous — they really do taste like tea, but they’re pretty much straight liquor. So when it comes to summer sippin’, when the heat of the sun can cause you to drink a little more than you intended, your best bet is to ditch the mixed cocktail and to grab a pack of LIIT. These hard tea seltzers are made with real tea, light carbonation, and naturally infused flavors to deliver the cooling essence of iced tea with the buzz akin to a beer (each can is 5 percent alcohol by volume).
The label offers four different LIIT flavors, all of which are worth test-driving, but the Mango Green Tea is particularly appropriate for the summer, delivering that tropical-fruit-meets-cut-grass flavor with just a hint of sweetness. But if you’re not a green tea fan (not everyone is), the summer runner-up is definitely the Raspberry Lime Hibiscus hard tea, which offers more of an herbal tea tang.
Pinot grigio is one of those light, fruity wines that works perfectly for hot summer days, so if you’re looking for a canned alternative that offers a slightly carbonated finish, you need to pick up a pack of Bev Gris. This slightly fizzy drink has notes of grapefruit, pear, and elderflower, giving it that light, crisp taste you want when it’s hot outside. A four-pack serves up the equivalent of 1.3 bottles of wine, so grab a couple of packs when you’re planning a girls’ night out — it’s the perfect "pre-party" beverage to sip at home before you grab an Uber to an outdoor concert or event.
And if not everyone in your group is a white wine enthusiast, you can pick up one of the label’s packs of rosé or pinot noir, instead. Simply throw the cans in your fridge or a cooler to chill, then sip away as you destress outside with your best friends.
Novo Fogo Passion Fruit
The 2020 coronavirus pandemic put a halt to most summer travel plans, and the return of confidence in international air travel may take years to recover. So if you’ve been looking for a way to experience international affairs a little closer to home, consider stocking up on Novo Fogo, a canned take on Brazil’s national cocktail, the caipirinha. These cocktails are traditionally made with cachaca (a type of liquor), sugar and lime, which when served over ice, is the perfect beverage to drink oceanside or in a jungle getaway. But if you’re stuck in landlocked Ohio (or, you know, somewhere like that) the Novo Fogo canned cocktails offer a pre-mixed version that includes chacaca, lime, and either sugar or flavored syrup in passion fruit or mango.
If you want to go classic, obviously you should pick up the lime version of the cocktail, but if you’re looking for a fun summer twist, we vote for trying the passion fruit version. The chacaca is organic, a single can has 8.2 percent alcohol by volume (thanks to the sparkling water that’s included), and the drink was given a gold medal by Chicago’s Beverage Tasting Institute.
Cutwater Tiki Rum Mai Tai
A good rum drink can transport you to the Caribbean, South Pacific, or Latin America, even if you’re just lounging by the neighborhood pool. And Cutwater’s canned Tiki Rum Mai Tai delivers the quality rum you love combined with the pineapple and coconut flavors this popular cocktail is known for. Just keep in mind, a 12-ounce can contains 12.5 percent alcohol by volume — an amount similar to wine — so you’ll want to sip slowly and really enjoy the flavors since every can offers the rough equivalent of two to three drinks.
Also, like traditional mai tai drinks, this canned cocktail doesn’t skimp on sugar, delivering sweet fruit flavors guaranteed to hit the spot. But with sugar, comes calories. A full can contains 350 calories. Our suggestion? Chill the cans in the fridge, but serve in a homemade coconut cup, only serving up a little bit at a time while you really indulge in your tropical staycation. Complete the vibe by lounging in a pool (baby pools count!) with a giant swan floaty and a straw hat.
Owl’s Brew Matcha
When you’re looking for hard iced teas to consume and serve during afternoon lawn parties, look no further than Owl’s Brew, which offers Boozy Tea to the canned cocktail-sipping masses. The label offers six different tea options, including darjeeling tea with hibiscus flowers, English breakfast tea with lemon and lime, white tea with raspberry and watermelon, and matcha tea with pineapple and chamomile, each of which makes a nice summer afternoon drink.
So pick your favorite based on personal preference, or just go with the matcha version. The all-white can looks elegant, so you don’t even need to think about providing glasses to your guests (unless you want to, of course). And there’s no denying how popular matcha drinks are these days, so you’re guaranteed to be right on-trend. Plus, a 12-ounce can has 4.8 percent alcohol by volume, putting it right in range for the average beer, so it’s unlikely to make you too tipsy, too quickly. Plus, the matcha green tea delivers caffeine, too, so you don’t have to worry about an afternoon slump after having a little alcohol.
West Coast Mule
When you’re looking for a canned mule that contains real vodka in addition to the expected flavors of ginger and lime, check out R6 Distillery’s West Coast Mule. A single, 12-ounce can has 10.1 percent alcohol by volume, which means you’re drinking the equivalent of two cocktails when you drink the full can. And given that this mule is crafted in the beach town of El Segundo, California, when you crack open a can, you should imagine yourself sitting beachside at an outdoor restaurant, mule in hand, watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
And here’s the thing, you shouldn’t stop the "experience" with your imagination. These mules are the perfect cocktail when you’re planning a dinner party because the ginger and lime flavors pair so easily with different cuisines. For instance, you can host a shrimp taco night to capitalize on the lime flavors, or you can serve curries with the drink, highlighting the ginger. Or, you can skip a full meal altogether and stick to cheeses, meats, olives, and other charcuterie-style appetizers, as a mule is a great alternative to a standard wine when hosting a cocktail hour.
Tolago Ginger Pear Hard Seltzer
Hard seltzers have been around for years, but most are filled with cheap sugars and artificial flavors, making them less appealing to a discerning drinker. Enter, Tolago — a hard seltzer focused on sourcing their juices, purees, and botanicals in an ethical way from California and Oregon, as well as using fair trade-certified organic agave nectar from Mexico. What results is a cleaner, better-tasting hard seltzer that has 5 percent alcohol by volume and 100 calories per serving.
What really stands out about the brand (aside from the label’s ethical mindset) is the flavors they’ve created. Options include Ginger Pear, Guava Mango, Cherry Rose, and Agave Lime, all seeming to tip their hats to the Latin origins of the agave contained inside. While you should definitely try all of the options, the ginger pear is especially refreshing on a hot summer night. Bonus points if you can channel the can’s imagery and enjoy it while attending a rodeo or visiting a dude ranch.
Rancho La Gloria Watermelon Margarita
Margaritas, of course, make for the perfect summer cocktail, but when you’re ready for a break from the traditional lime flavor, it’s time to try Rancho La Gloria’s Watermelon Margarita in a can. Each 250-milliliter can is just shy of 10 percent alcohol by volume (meaning it offers a full serving of alcohol), and contains real lime and watermelon juice. The sweet flavor of the watermelon helps to cut and complement the tartness of the lime. And if you’re looking for an easy way to make a signature drink for a party with friends, you can offer sweet and spicy versions of the watermelon cocktail. Simply serve a can of the margarita in a cocktail glass rimmed with sugar or salt to provide the sweet version, and use the label’s 10-second recipe to add a little spice — simply garnish the drink with a slice of jalapeno and rim the glass with tajin seasoning for an unexpected kick.
And, of course, if watermelon’s not your "thing," you can always try the brand’s other margaritas in a can, including traditional lime flavor, mango, and peach.
Kyla Pom Pom Collins
Kyla is another hard kombucha brand serving up canned cocktails with live cultures, natural ingredients, and clever and unique flavor combinations. Take the Pom Pom Collins, for instance. This twist on the classic Tom Collins features a combination of pomegranate and pomelo juices (hence, the name Pom Pom) to offer a sweet, tangy, and citrusy kombucha in a 12-ounce can. Plus, like most canned cocktails (and all kombuchas), Kyla’s offers a fresh fizz that comes from the fermentation process, rather than added carbonation.
It’s worth noting as well that Kyla’s has one of the most extensive lines of flavors for hard kombuchas, so if pomegranate and pomelo isn’t your thing, there are lots of options to choose from. The Riviera Series (which includes Pom Pom) also features Lemon Verbena Drop, Bergamot Blood Orange Fizz, and Shiso Mint Mojito. And the label’s other two series, Sunbreak and Classic, also include six and four flavors, respectively. Essentially, you’re bound to find a flavor you like when trying out Kyla’s options.
Ohza Classic Bellini
The classic bellini, consisting of Prosecco and peach puree is the perfect brunch alternative to a mimosa, or an excellent option for a wedding-related summer event or Fourth of July party. This is especially true since peaches hit the peak of their ripeness in the hottest months of summer, so a cool, fresh peach drink tastes perfect when served alongside barbecue chicken, potato salad, and corn on the cob. And when you don’t feel like mixing and mastering a whole batch of the hard punch yourself, simply pick up Ohza’s Classic Bellini in a can. It includes sparkling wine, peach juice, and natural fruit juices for added color, so it tastes just like the real thing. Plus, a 12-ounce can contains 5 percent alcohol by volume, so you don’t have to worry about managing the serving size. You can even order a 24-pack online and have it delivered before your next event — simply store it in your fridge and serve cold!
Post Meridiem Daiquiri
If you made a bucket list of summer cocktails you wanted to drink this year, it wouldn’t be complete without a daiquiri. The Cuban-born drink features rum, citrus juices, and sugars, and is often served frozen or with other fruit purees mixed in to cater to almost any flavor palate (banana, pineapple, strawberry, and raspberry are all frequent favorites).
But when you don’t want to take the time to mix a daiquiri at home, Post Meridiem’s canned cocktails come in handy. The label’s Daiquiri contains white rums, marachino liqueur, real lime juice, and cane sugar syrup, ultimately giving it a fresh, cherry lime flavor that’s like a hard alcohol version of another summer classic beverage — the cherry limeade. Most notably, these cans are real cocktails, which means the alcohol by volume clocks in high at a whopping 27 percent (hence, the small size of the can itself).
And of course, you don’t want to overlook Post Meridiem’s other canned classics, as well. Your best buy when trying to please a crowd with different, fully-loaded cocktails is the brand’s sampler pack, which includes three margaritas, three vodka gimlets, two old fashioneds, two mai tais, and two daiquiris, all in single-serving cans.
Cocktail Squad Whiskey Sour
One of the best parts of summer is those long, late nights, where even after the sun goes down, you can still linger in the warmth for a little longer before a chill sets in. And when it does, you’ll want to settle down for a stargazing session with Cocktail Squad’s Whiskey Sour. These 350-milliliter cans contain real bourbon whisky that’s guaranteed to give your belly a little extra heat while the mouth-puckering pressed lemon and orange juice will help keep your mind wide awake. And at 10 percent alcohol by volume, you get two drink servings per can, so you can linger under the stars a little longer before heading inside to grab another from your fridge.
And of course, don’t overlook the brand’s other classic cocktail offerings, including Gin & Tonic, Vodka Soda, Margarita, Greyhound, and Bourbon Smash. For those who like classic bar drinks, Cocktail Squad has you covered.