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
If you asked anybody last fall what they thought their summer would be like, I’m sure nobody could have predicted we’d all be relegated to our homes, avoiding a deadly virus. (And if you did, give me your number because I need some advice on stocks.) Bars may be opening to varying degrees where you live, but maybe you don’t feel comfortable venturing out just yet. Or maybe you just prefer drinking in the comfort of your own home, which, before quarantine happened, we all complained was a better way to pass the time anyway! So if you’re not an overachiever who has taken this time to learn how to bartend (and who wants to buy random sh*t like vermouth and bitters anyway?), then it’s time to stock up on canned drinks for summer. They’re portable, they’re delicious, and you don’t have to make them yourself. Here are some canned drinks you can take to your next socially distant park hang.
Created in Los Angeles and produced in Ventura, CA, Livewire canned cocktails are created by top bartenders and the cans are designed by tattoo artists, which is good for your Instagram but bad for my hoarding tendencies. (What, I like to save pretty things…) Three drinks are now available: the Heartbreaker, a mix of vodka, oroblanco grapefruit, kumquat, jasmine, and ginger; the Honeydew Collins, which contains gin, honeydew, lime leaf, coconut, and elderflower; and the Golden God, which is made of Rye whiskey, brandy, apricot, green tea, and elderflower. Fancy. They’re available at select stores in Los Angeles, San Diego, and New York, or you can just buy a 4-pack online.
Cutwater Canned Cocktails
So basically you’ll never have to buy a bottle of liquor ever again if you just stock up on Cutwater Spirits, because they’ve put pretty much every cocktail imaginable in canned form. From a Bloody Mary to a tequila paloma to your basic vodka soda and so many f*cking more, they legit have it all. I sounded like an infomercial just there but it’s legitimately true. I the grapefruit vodka soda, which has a nice flavor kick without being too abrasive like ahem other grapefruit canned drink varietals, as well as the tequila margarita, which knocked me on my ass at 12.5% ABV. Truly something for everyone. They’re currently available in a bunch of states and on Drizly and Reserve Bar.
Prairie Organic Spirits
I love the design of these cans because they kind of look like you’re drinking an old-timey soda and not a cocktail with 5% ABV. Just in case, you know, you might need to disguise the fact that you’re getting buzzed…in front of your mom, not anything illegal, of course. Prairie’s canned cocktails come in three varietals, all made with Prairie Organic vodka or gin. The cucumber lemonade and grapefruit are made with vodka, and they are pretty self-explanatory in terms of flavor and ingredients. If you’re a gin person
I don’t trust you you can try the Minnesota Bootleg, a blend of gin, mint, lemon, and lime flavors. So like, kind of a gin fizz, maybe? Find them at a local retailer.
Speaking of super cute packaging, Two Chicks is a female-founded company that makes a number of equally tasty and pretty canned cocktails, and they’re all sparkling, because obviously. What I love about this brand (aside from what I already said) is that they have cocktails you’re not really going to find anywhere else, like a sparkling apple gimlet and vodka CuTea (vodka with peach, cucumber tea, and thyme). They also have your classics like a citrus margarita and paloma, though. I’ll take one of everything. Buy locally or through services like Drizly.
Started by Shay Mitchell, Noah Gray, Max Dworin, and Kelli Adams, this sh*t looks and tastes like summer in a can. Their canned tequila soda has 5% ABV and 100 calories, and it’s made with blanco tequila from a woman-owned distillery in Mexico and uses real lime and grapefruit juice. You really can’t go wrong with either of the two classic flavors, lime and grapefruit.
McBride Sisters Collection SHE CAN Wines
McBride Sisters was started by (you guessed it) sisters Robin and Andréa McBride, who had no idea the other existed until 1999. I’m going to need a movie about their life ASAP, and it will be the new Parent Trap. While they have a bigger bottle collection, they offer canned sauvignon blanc and rosé. The sauv b is a New Zealand wine and the rosé is a California wine, a nod to how one sister grew up in New Zealand and the other in California. I’m telling you, they need a movie!! You can bu the cans directly through their site, and stay on the lookout for SHE CAN spritzers.
Cupcake Canned Wines
If you’re more of a wine drinker, Cupcake wines have three types that come in a can: the sauvignon blanc, rosé, and sparkling rosé. All are perfect for summer and can be purchased at your local liquor store or, again, online. As an extra bonus that literally seems too good to be true, the cans are 375mL which means there is half a bottle in every can. Let me repeat that: HALF A BOTTLE IN EVERY CAN.
14 Hands Unicorn Rosé Bubbles
Speaking of wine, 14 Hands Unicorn Rosé Bubbles is pretty much the cutest canned drink ever, and that’s all there is to it. I am told the flavor is “light, fruity and crisp,” but I’m going to level with you guys: all wine tastes the same to me unless that wine is Chardonnay, which I categorically hate. This wine has scents of cranberry, pomegranate, and Bing cherry, but again, I went to a wine tasting once and was literally Michael Scott being like “this tastes like a red.” Regardless, this rosé is cute and it tastes good, and you can get your hands on some online or through Drizly.
Bud Light Seltzer
We have now reached everyone’s favorite portion of the article: seltzers. And I’m not going to cover the obvious ones, but I do feel the need to include Bud Light on here. The thing is that these are actually good!! And they’re one of the only companies that has a strawberry flavor, which is a personal favorite. You can pretty much get it wherever you can find Bud Light—I trust that you don’t need my advice on this one.
Volley Spiked Seltzer
Tequila drinkers (hi), this one’s for you. Volley is the first clean spiked seltzer since it’s made with only three ingredients: 100% blue agave tequila, sparkling water and organic juice (as if I care, I’m putting alcohol in my body). It’s made with 100% blue agave tequila, so to me it tastes like a tequila soda, which happens to be my go-to bar order. They’re basically like if you want the taste of tequila without all the commitment, and there are four flavors: zesty lime (tastes like your standard tequila soda with lime and it is, in fact, zesty), sharp grapefruit (like your skinny girl paloma), tropical mango (which is surprisingly really good and kind of tastes like soda), and spicy ginger (like a tequila mule). Check out their website where they will direct you to a third party retailer that ships to your state.
Another hard seltzer that is kinder on the body (well, as kind to your body as an alcoholic beverage can be) is Vizzy, which contains Vitamin C. This is bad news for me because I am known to drink when I am getting sick, because I subscribe to the “alcohol kills the germs” mentality. So now that we have alcohol that contains vitamin C, it’s game over. In any case, Vizzy has more ~elevated~ flavors like pineapple mango, black cherry lime, blueberry pomegranate (it’s getting wild over here), and strawberry kiwi. You can order through Drizly, Instacart, or at a retailer near you.
Crook & Marker
From spiked lemonade to tea to soda to coconut (water, I guess?) Crook & Marker has basically every type of hard fizzy drink you could ever want. I can always get down with a hard lemonade, and their classic, blueberry, raspberry, and watermelon flavors are a definite step up from the hard lemonade you stole from your parents in high school (not naming any brand names, but I think you know the one). You can find them at a local grocery store or similar retailer.
Images: Maria Oswalt / Unsplash; sipwhiskey.com; cutwaterspirits.com; prairieorganicspirits.com; twochickscocktails.com; drinkonda.com; mcbridesisters.com; cupcakevineyards.com; 14hands.com; budlight.com; jensensliquors.com; vizzyhardseltzer.com; crookandmarker.com