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.
Tanqueray Gin in a Can
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.
Fling Craft Cocktails
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.
Miami Cocktail Company
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.
Belle Isle Canned Cocktails
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.
Devils Backbone Distilling Co.
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.
MOVO Wine Spritzers
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
Just as my colleague Alise Morales is the undisputed Doll Correspondent here at Betches, I am too dubbing myself the Senior Hard Seltzer Correspondent (though I fully admit that my articles are no American Girl Dolls Ranked By Betchiness, but I do my best). I’ve already broken down what your favorite White Claw flavor says about you, but why stop there? What if you’re not a White Claw Outlaw? What if you’re *gasp* a Truly Thot? A Bon & Viv kid? (I clearly made all these terms up.) Never fear, I’m here to tell you, like a drunk Buzzfeed but probably still more logical, what your favorite hard seltzer brand says about you.
People who drink White Claw go one of two ways: they either embrace the frat bro branding and are therefore wanted in several states for their petty crimes, or they are “old people” (read: over 30) who think they’re winding down but are in actuality blacking out on Tuesdays after chugging four of these in an hour. So basically, the same person just plus or minus a side of self-awareness. I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but I will: drinking these is not a valid defense in court. I will also let you in on a secret: everyone wants you to shut the f*ck up about these.
Unlike some of its bougier counterparts, Trulies are upfront about what they bring to the table, which they communicate through bold packaging and the fact that you can find them next to the checkout counter at your local Walgreen’s. The people who drink these are always yelling without intending to, and true (pun not intended) to the name, their main personality trait is that they consider themselves “brutally honest”, which we all know means “lacking tact”.
Let me guess: your name is Kaylee or Hayleigh or Mickayyleaighgh, you live in Buckhead, Atlanta or somewhere similarly preppy, and you have a designer Frankenstein of a dog. Yes, I know the outdoorsy design on the cans would lead one to believe I would go the “you actually enjoy hiking” route, but I’m not that literal. You see, these flavors are so bougie (“lemon agave hibiscus”? It’s lemonade, call it what it is) that the people who drink this are the people who barrel curl their hair for fun. I see your melon basil and while yes, you sound delicious, I’m not sure I can hang with your crowd considering I don’t have a trust fund. Also what the f*ck is a “yumberry”?
I’ve heard the strawberry flavor is actually good, but I have yet to try these considering I am over the age of 23. When it comes to Bud Light Seltzer, we can go one of a few ways. First, there’s the obvious: you just graduated college, are living in FiDi with six roommates and three fake walls (“The closet is a flex!”), and are biding your time until Jake’s Dilemma reopens. Then, there’s the other slightly obvious: you’re stuck in a miserable 9-to-5 working like, insurance or some sh*t, and just long for your college days (you probably also have a rack of Bud Light beer in your fridge and a lonely beer bong collecting dust in the corner). Or, finally: you’re just a regular guy/gal who isn’t into all these high-falutin trends like “adaptogens” and “açai” that you see on Instagram, and prefer the simple things in life.
The thing is that High Noon drinkers are better than everyone else, but they aren’t showy about it. In fact, some say they, like their go-to seltzer, are overly sweet. When High Noon drinkers discover a new trend, they won’t say anything when you hop on that bandwagon two years later and act like you invented it. You want to hate this person, but you can’t find a reason, and anyone you express your jealousy to will just think you’re the asshole.
Bon Viv is that girl nobody paid any respect to in high school, but once she got away from her small town, she was the f*cking Queen Bee in college. She left all those haters in the dust and had an instant come-up. The thing is, though, she still keeps it real. Yes she did get invited by a well-known fashion brand to a trip to Paris, yes she’ll still be at your 10-year reunion, no she is not interested in trying one of your “weird wrap things”.
These things pack 12% ABV per can (for reference, most of these other brands clock in around 5%). I mean this from the bottom of my heart: If you drink Four Loko seltzers, I am afraid of you. You have nothing to lose. You probably use your iPhone without a case, just out here raw dogging it. You may likely have a death wish. Just stay away from me.
Images: djile / Shutterstock
Spiked seltzers are the drink of summer, whether we are having a summer or not. Ever since they burst onto the scene, people have been obsessed with them. And for good reason: they taste amazing, are not super high in calories, and are easy to chug in rapid succession. While I know what your favorite flavor actually says about you is that you bought the variety pack and the can you’re drinking was the first one you reached for in the box, I think it can go a little deeper. Just like your horoscope, your preferred White Claw flavor could reveal some latent personality traits that you never wanted to admit to yourself. Or this could be a totally made-up thought exercise I did for fun. I guess only you can decide, based on whether you agree with what I wrote about your flavor of choice!
All the 70 Calorie Ones
I haven’t tried any of these, and I’m looping them all in together because the idea is the same. If you are seriously the type of person who is so preoccupied with counting calories that you’re going out of your way to shave 30 of them off of your alcohol, I’m going to also venture that you’re the person posting their at-home workouts on Instagram. Even worse, you’re not even improvising by using wine bottles as free weights. No, you already had a full rack of free weights on deck and enough resistance bands to supply a gym. Chill the f*ck out—drinking 100-calorie hard seltzers isn’t going to sabotage your physique. You might want to turn your attention to the pizza you drunkenly inhaled after chugging six of these bad boys.
I’m sorry, if you’re drinking plain White Claw, you are a serial killer. The whole point of these is that they kind of taste like fun, flavored seltzer, but they also get you drunk. You just took the fun out of it, and not even in a way that makes sense. If you want to get drunk off plain seltzer, they already have that, and it’s called a vodka soda. Only someone who literally enjoys murder would want to sip a semi-flat soda that only just gets you buzzed.
Black Cherry is the elite of White Claw flavors, simply because it tastes good, and speaking from experience (last week), I could drink an entire case without getting sick of it. What makes Black Cherry so good is that unlike some of the other flavors (lookin’ at you, “Natural” Lime), it doesn’t taste like I’m being smacked in the face with artificial cherries created in a lab. Like, I don’t pick up a can of boozy seltzer expecting to drink freshly squeezed cherry juice, but I expect some resemblance to the real thing. So, the Black Cherry drinker is also real af, because real recognize real. Black Cherry doesn’t mince words, she calls people out if they’re acting foolish (she’s been known to be called an asshole at times for her bluntness). She doesn’t Facetune, not even to make her teeth whiter. When she skips a workout to eat pasta on her couch, you’ll know about it. When she posts a thirst trap, she captions it, “look how good my boobs look.”
The mango-drinking bitch is always on a vacation, if not literally, then in her mind. She’s the one who’s posting thirst traps from her parents’ backyard. When she emerges from quarantine, the only skill she will have mastered is her camera’s self-timer and which angles she can sit in that still show off her butt. She’s the only person you know who will have worn a bathing suit this entire summer.
It’s not enough to just be lime—no, this has to be Natural Lime. But there’s nothing natural about drinking a malt beverage disguised as water with fruit. If you swear by Natural Lime, you are definitely someone who eats a plant-based diet because you don’t trust the “chemicals” in processed foods… but then gets bi-monthly lip injections.
Grapefruit drinkers are not to be trusted. The thing with Grapefruit White Claw is it sounds good, and it is for the few sips, until you realize this sh*t is extremely f*cking abrasive. Even the name is abrasive—we all know what a grapefruit is, you don’t need to specify that it’s a ruby grapefruit.
The person who enjoys this sh*t seems great at first. She always seems to have fun plans going on and invites you out to brunch reservations at the most lit spots where the mimosas flow freely without a time limit. And even better, she sometimes pays! It’s everything you could ever want, until you realize that nothing in life is truly free. If you don’t respond to her texts immediately, she starts subtweeting you. If you can’t make one of her club reservations, you better not geotag yourself anywhere other than your bed, because you’ll get an eyeful in the DMs the second you hit post. And god forbid you post a photo she took without giving her photo credit—she may send a hit squad after you.
Raspberry wishes it could be black cherry, but frankly, it’s just a little too fake. Raspberry is the type of person who posts #nofilter, when you can tell they played with the brightness, contrast, and highlights, and also applied a full face contour. Raspberry would never get plastic surgery, but regularly gets facials, highlights, and lash extensions. If Raspberry were a castmember on Vanderpump Rules, it would be Scheana, and that should tell you everything you need to know.
Okay, so you want a vodka soda but you promised yourself to stop blacking out on weeknights? We understand and we empathize. Will a Lemon White Claw transport you to the beaches of Ibiza? No, absolutely not, but it will give you the delicious citrusy alcohol taste of cheap vodka that’s reminiscent of all the bars we wish we could visit right now. Anyone chugging this flavor just really misses sweaty dance floors where finance guys try to hit on you when their girlfriends are in the bathroom. Tbh, same.
Watermelon White Claw tastes sort of like nothing, with a hint of watermelon and a hint of alcohol. Drinking this is like drinking a club soda with a splash of vodka in it while watching someone eat a watermelon on IGTV. That said, this beverage will provide you with the closest approximation to summer that we will experience this year. Watermelon White Claw is the official drink of everyone mourning their vacations. Drinking this will take you to a different place—no, not the beach you’d had planned, but more like, your Aunt’s house in New Jersey where you constantly get yelled at for forgetting the recipe to potato salad. (Hint: the secret ingredient is mayonnaise.)
Let’s call a spade a f*cking spade: this is orange. It’s orange who went to a fancy private school and came back to their hometown with a rebrand and a new vocab. But the thing about Tangerine is that while you want to hate it for insulting your intelligence by literally being orange and claiming otherwise, you can’t because just like Black Cherry, it tastes pretty damn close to the real thing. Sure, Tangerine is a little extra, but she still gets the job done, and let’s be real! Who among us is not a little extra sometimes? Tangerine is the one who peer pressures everyone into going all-out in theme for a Zoom video chat, but it ends up being really fun. She plans a minute-by-minute itinerary on your group trip, which leaves you all exhausted, but you know if you’d left it up to anyone else you would have all been hungover to even visit one site. She does dance challenges on TikTok, but she’s actually like, really coordinated. You want to hate, but you just can’t.
Images: rblfmr / Shutterstock.com; White Claw