I know Labor Day weekend typically marks the end of summer, but if nothing else, 2020 has proved that time is a social construct, so I for one am just going to keep pretending it’s summer all year. (And I know summer technically ends on September 20th but much like Memorial Day is the unofficial start, Labor Day is the unofficial end. So don’t come for me.) One way to pretend like it’s summer all the time is to drink summery drinks no matter the time of year.
2019 may have been the summer of hard seltzers, but 2020 for me is all about the canned cocktails. They’re delicious, they’re portable, and best of all, half the flavors in the variety box aren’t undrinkable (okay so that was a White Claw subtweet). My point still stands. Here are some of the best canned cocktails to stock up on.
Boulder-based Cocktail Squad® has something for every type of liquor drinker, whether you’re a whiskey girl (Whiskey Sour, Bourbon Smash), a vodka lover (Greyhound, Vodka Soda), a tequila drinker (margarita), or a gin sipper (gin & tonic). The small batch original flavors all pack a serious punch at 10% ABV per can, but if you’re in a more casual drinking mood (can’t relate) the new Whiskey Ginger and Vodka Lemon are a responsible 5% ABV. See if Cocktail Squad is available in your area here.
First of all, I’ve got to say that this comes in some of the best packaging ever—plus, I love that these cans look like rugged sodas or a kombucha or something. They’ll never know it’s alcohol! These canned vodka sodas come in a variety of flavors from your traditional lime and black cherry to the more snazzy watermelon and cucumber mint (plus there’s also a grapefruit option). They’re only 99 calories per can, sodium- and gluten-free. Available on Drizly.
Truthfully, I’m not a gin person so I can’t vouch for these, but thankfully Tanqueray doesn’t need my endorsement because there are plenty of actual celebrities who swear by the stuff. And now you can get all the natural flavors of Tanqueray in a convenient can. There are three varietals: Tanqueray Gin & Tonic, Tanqueray Rangpur Lime Gin & Soda, and Tanqueray Sevilla Orange Gin & Soda, all 6% ABV and available in a 4-pack.
New this summer to Clubtails are two flavors: Strawberry Daiquiri and Blueberry Mojito. I’ll take a million of each, please. There are a bunch of other flavors if those aren’t your scene—including, but not limited to: Bahama Mama, Sex on the Beach, Scredriver, Watermelon Margarita, and others. All have a hefty 10% ABV and are perfect for drinking on-the-go.
Mimosas in a can made with brut from the Finger Lakes region of NY, plus real juice. That’s it, that’s the product. Ohza has three different brunch-inspired drinks: a classic mimosa, a bellini, and a mango mimosa. With 140 calories per can, that’s less than what you’d get if you made it yourself, and there’s no added sugar. At 5% ABV these are perfect to start your day with.
As we’ve previously established, I’m a sucker for cute packaging, and Fling’s is f*cking adorable. Boulevard has been brewing beer for decades but decided to dip their toes into the craft cocktail pond, and the result are fun varietals like a blood orange vodka soda (need), mai tai, mojito, and more. They vary in intensity from a casual 5% to a solid 9% ABV, so there’s really something for everyone in your group.
Again with a pretty cover, these Organic Premium Spritzes are a fave of Gwyneth Paltrow and Olivia Culpo. But stay with me, because they’re actually good! They don’t have artificial flavors, colors, or added sweeteners, and have five different varieties. I liked the grapefruit & hibiscus paloma spritz, which had a bit of a kick (think like gingerbeer); plus the elderflower & ginger margarita spritz. Other varietals include the brunch-friendly Mango & Peach Rosé Bellini Spritz, Sunrise Rosé Sangria Spritz, and Mandarin Rosé Mimosa Spritz.
For the wildcard in your friend group (if you don’t know who it is, it’s you), there’s Belle Isle Canned Cocktails, which are made with… wait for it… moonshine. But don’t get scared because they are a respectable 5% ABV and not the instant blackout you think of when you hear “moonshine”. Honey Hab & Pineapple combines honey-habanero moonshine with bubbles and real pineapple. Blood orange & soda , ruby red & soda, and shine & soda mix Belle Isle’s moonshine (in the case of the first two, infused with fruits) with a splash of soda.
Sold on that name alone, tbh. These canned cocktails, made with spirits distilled in Virginia, range from 4.5-10%ABV and come in four varietals. The Orange Smash is basically a screwdriver with lemon lime flavors added for an extra punch; the vodka soda has a twist of lime and is only 90 calories; the vodka mule combines ginger and elderflower; and the gin & tonic has notes of citrus and juniper.
Made with wine, fruit juice, sparkling water, and natural flavors, MOVO wine spritzers are only 100 calories per can with no sugar added. They come in three types: peach white blend, raspberry rosé, and blood orange sangria. And probably the best part is that since they’re canned, you don’t have to worry about bringing a corkscrew to the beach.
We can’t go to Italy right now, but we can get Italian spritz culture in a can with Ramona, a line of canned wine spritzes. No Aperol spritz, sorry, but all three can varieties are made with sparkling organic Sicilian wine, so you can pretend like you’re on your Italian vacation. There’s a blood orange, a ruby grapefruit, and an unconventional Meyer lemon. All the spritzes clock in at 7% ABV, which is more than your average seltzer.
Images: Monica di Loxley / Unsplash; Cocktail Squad, CANTEEN, Drizly, Clubtails, Ohza, Boulevard, Miami Cocktail Co, Belle Isle, Devil’s Backbone, MOVO Wine, Ramona