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Whether it’s a margarita with freshly squeezed lime or a perfectly presented martini with a cocktail pick of olives, nothing beats a handcrafted cocktail at the end of the day. But there’s a reason cocktails can be expensive at your local watering hole — they can be pretty darn tedious to make, and even the simplest ones can take a lot of work to get right. That’s where canned cocktails come in.
Sure, a canned cocktail can’t compete with a properly made cocktail in terms of the freshness of ingredients — but cracking open a canned cocktail saves you those awkward sideways glances at the bartender to make sure she didn’t forget about you or dealing with sticky lemon juice and overflowing jiggers when you’re (trying) to make one yourself. Simply put, canned cocktails are a convenient way to enjoy your favorite mixed drinks.
Canned cocktails are also great for parties and backyard BBQs, and they’re a more interesting alternative to the de rigueur bottle of wine or pack of summer beers. Our favorite canned cocktails include options for all the major spirit groups, whether that’s Mexican tequila, Kentucky bourbon or London dry gin. Most of these will have a lower ABV than a traditional cocktail, clocking in at a 5% to 15% range. That means you can enjoy more of them with a gentle buzz, rather than waking up with a buzzing headache.
Set that cocktail shaker down and put away the stirring spoon, because these are some of the best canned cocktails to try right now.
1. Cutwater Tiki Rum Mai Tai
Tropical cocktails like the Mai Tai are hard to make, especially because they require so many odd and obscure ingredients (orgeat syrup, anyone?). That’s why this canned cocktail from Cutwater is such a great option — all you need to do is crack open the top and enjoy a sip of Summer. Cutwater is pretty much the king of canned cocktails, and they make concoctions using vodka, tequila, rum, gin and whiskey.
2. Cazadores Spicy Margarita Canned Cocktail
Cazadores is one of the most reliable tequilas in its price bracket — it’s widely available and goes down smooth. Now, it’s even easier to drink, with this canned version. This spicy margarita is made using Cazadores Blanco, made with 100% Blue Weber Agave high-quality cocktail. Serve it in a glass and no one will be the wiser.
3. Tip Top Old Fashioned Canned Cocktail
Most canned cocktails are comparable to spiked seltzers in terms of alcohol content. Not Tip Top. It’s 37% ABV and comes in a tiny 100 ML can, so it’s about the size of an actual old-fashioned. It can be sipped straight from the can or enjoyed over ice. Plus, the fittingly old-fashioned can design suits the drink that’s inside.
4. Long Drink Strong
The long drink can be thought of as Finland’s answer to Mexico’s Paloma — they both have grapefruit, but Finland swaps out tequila for gin. Now, there’s an entire company dedicated to this crisp beverage, and The Long Drink’s canned iteration is available in “Strong” with 8.5% ABV instead of 5.5%.
5. Ranch Rider Ranch Water
Ranch Water is a Texas specialty. It combines tequila with lime and sparkling water (typically Topo Chico) for something light and not too sweet that’s perfect for bearing blistering Texas summers. Now it comes in canned form and stays true to its origins with sparkling water, real lime juice and reposado tequila.
6. The Club Manhattan
Made with vermouth, bitters and whiskey, this canned cocktail from The Club is a great way to enjoy a lighter take on a Manhattan. The 200 ML can is 17% ABV. The cool design of the can is inspired by old-school cars and a time when you would have called driving “motoring.”
7. High Noon Peach Hard Seltzer
CRISP AND SWEET
High Noon’s drinks are sold as hard seltzers, but they’re not too different from a vodka highball. Vodka, soda, and dash of fresh juice make for a light cocktail you can enjoy in the middle of a warm weekend afternoon. High Noon also makes vodka soda hard seltzers with other flavors, like grapefruit, lime and black cherry.
8. CanBee Bee’s Knees Canned Cocktail
The Bee’s Knees cocktail from CanBee is a sweet drink with an even sweeter cause — a portion of proceeds goes toward beekeeping conservancies. This carbonated cocktail includes gin, lemon and honey, making for a crisp and refreshing summertime drink.
9. Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey & Cola
THE COLLEGE CLASSIC
A whiskey and coke is already one of the easiest drinks to make, so it seems a little lazy to buy it premixed in a can. But this is a list of canned cocktails, after all — laziness is encouraged ’round these parts. Easy drinking Beam, sweet cola — it’s a winning combination, no matter what.
10. Canteen Cucumber Mint Vodka Soda
BEST FOR DAY-DRINKING
Canteen focuses on vodka soda concoctions with added fruit flavors, like this summery tipple made with cucumber and mint. Each 12 oz can is 5% ABV and free of carbs, fat and sodium, making this an easy one to drink a few of without having to worry about going overboard.
11. SouthNorte Mexican Mule
San-Diego-based SouthNorte is a beer brewery, but the company branched out into canned cocktails such as the Mexican Mule, a tequila-based canned cocktail inspired by the Moscow mule. For something a little fruitier, SouthNorte also has a Paloma, a classic grapefruit cocktail, and matador, a pineapple and lime drink.