Sure, mixing cocktails is fun, but sometimes you want something as low-maintenance as possible. Maybe you’re out of ice, or you just don’t have the energy to wash any more glassware.
The solution? Premixed cocktails in cans.
Although canned cocktails (also called “ready-to-drink” cocktails, or RTDs) aren’t a new idea—see our previous coverage here, and here—offerings have expanded at a rapid clip. Also, what’s in the can has increased in quality and diversity of styles.
Whether your usual go-to is stirred and strong, or bubbly and refreshing, there’s likely a can that will appeal to you. Pop these open at home or tote them along to enjoy while social distancing in the Great Outdoors.
If you love a martini
Typically, a martini is a drink best made to order, and many people have very specific preferences about how they like theirs prepared.
While the Martinez isn’t a martini, it’s in the ballpark. Some say it’s a predecessor to the classic cocktail. Most importantly, this variation made by the team behind Dashfire Bitters is highly enjoyable, a bracing gin sipper mellowed by Sherry and elderflower liqueur.
If you love tiki drinks
Pour the contents of this teeny can into a tiki mug over plenty of ice, and you’ve got an instant tropical treat. What’s inside the can is a blend of Caribbean rums, orange Curaçao, lime juice and orgeat, an almond syrup that’s a staple for tropical drinks and not often seen in premixed cocktails. The “1944” is a nod to the year that tiki maven Trader Vic claims to have invented this rum classic at his bar in Oakland, California.
Also recommended: Post Meridiem’s Hemingway daiquiri variation.
If you love a Cosmopolitan
To be clear, this isn’t a Cosmo in a can. But the Heartbreaker hits many of the same notes: a crisp vodka base and a citrusy core of sweet-tart grapefruit intertwined with kumquat, jasmine and ginger.
Heartbreaker, a new offering from Los Angeles bartender Aaron Polsky, features edgy artwork by tattoo artist Henry Lewis on the can. Additional drinks in the LiveWire portfolio created by other well-known bartending names are expected to follow, including one by Sother Teague, a 2017 Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Award winner. For now, the cans are only available in LA, but a national rollout is said to be on the way.
If you love an Old Fashioned
Another bartender-led project, this canned version of the whiskey classic was developed by Miles Macquarrie, of Kimball House in Decatur, Georgia. The brand, Tip Top Proper Cocktails, debuted in venues around Atlanta last fall. It’s only available in Georgia for now, although the producer claims it’s working on broader distribution.
Appropriately, whiskey takes center stage, rounded out with a hint of sugar and a touch of orange bitters. If your taste runs toward muddled fruit in your Old Fashioned, a point of contention for purists, you’ll have to add it yourself.
If you love a Cuba Libre
Available this spring at selected Whole Foods nationwide, Los Angeles distillery Greenbar distills the spirit and cans the cocktail on site. The base resembles Greenbar’s pleasing Crusoe Spiced Rum. A mix of organic botanicals add the right balance of allspice and vanilla to complement the bubbly cola. The end result is mellow and easy-drinking, just right for sipping al fresco, if you can.
The distillery also produces a line-up of low-alcohol, Spritz-style canned cocktails.
Last Updated: May 8, 2023