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The Absolute Best Canned Cocktails Right Now

At the end of a long day — or even a short day, let’s be honest — nothing sounds better than a well-made cocktail. But sometimes, our social batteries are simply too drained to handle a night out, and the thought of stirring up a concoction at home sounds equally daunting. Enter: the canned cocktail. Perfect for evenings when you feel unequipped to make a drink fresh from scratch, these RTDs bring the bar right to you and often require little to no effort to enjoy.

But with the category exploding in recent years, there’s now a sea of options to choose from, which makes it challenging to separate the excellent from the, well, not so excellent. So, we tasked ourselves with tasting through dozens of cans on the market right now so you don’t have to.

To narrow down our options, VinePair only considered canned, ready-to-drink, or ready-to-pour cocktails for this roundup. As such, larger-format, ready-to-serve libations were not included in the tasting (though there are several worth checking out, from bottled Martinis to Old Fashioneds). And while some of the cocktails on this list feature carbonation, more basic cocktails like Vodka Sodas, Tequila Sodas, and Gin & Tonics were not included, nor were hard seltzers.

With that in mind, there are dozens of fantastic canned cocktails below highlighting ingredients like mint, passion fruit, and even lychee. From soju-based concoctions to split-base winners, here are the absolute best canned cocktails to try right now, organized by brand.

Post Meridiem Southside

Based in Atlanta, Post Meridiem produces an eight-drink lineup of classic cocktails in canned form. This 26 percent ABV interpretation of the crushable gin cocktail delivers a wonderful mint aroma, which is balanced on the palate by lemon juice. The resulting drink is bright and refreshing, yet it avoids knocking the taste buds out with acidity.

Post Meridiem Vodka Gimlet

While the Southside is ideal for gin lovers, the 25 percent ABV Vodka Gimlet is great for those who prefer a more neutral spirit with an herbaceous kick. Opening with lemongrass aromas that border on ginger-y, the Gimlet is tangy on the plate, providing robust lime juice notes and subtle floral notes. Be sure to shake each can vigorously before pouring the contents over ice for optimal enjoyment.

JUMO Cucumber/Asian Pear/Perilla Leaf

Founded in 2022, JUMO is one of the first canned soju cocktail brands on the market — and boy, are its offerings delicious. Currently available in three flavors, JUMO’s 8 percent ABV cocktails range from herbal and refreshing to juicy and tropical. The botanical-packed green strikes a perfect balance of ripe pear, garden-fresh herbs, and an almost savory anise-like quality from the perilla leaf.

JUMO Peach/Lychee/Rose

For those who prefer their drinks a little sweeter, reach for the brand’s pink can. Rather than the artificial, Peach-Ring flavor one might expect from an RTD, this cocktail offers notes of fresh-squeezed peach juice tempered by acidic, slightly floral lychee. Further ushering us into the garden are rose water notes, which uplift the drink’s more potent ingredients.

JUMO Mango/Yuja/Citrus Mint

While both of the aforementioned expressions are tasty, our favorite of the line by far comes packaged in the orange can. Completely lacking any artificial funk, the drink boasts potent mango juice with a lovely weight that allows the flavors to really stick to the palate. Yuja (Korean for yuzu) offers a brightening citrus element while mint brings an herbaceous backbone to the cocktail.

Epic Western Boat Drink

Best known for its Ranch Water, Epic Western produces a number of canned cocktails, all of which feature tequila at their base. Boat Drink, the new Piña Colada-inspired addition to the lineup, successfully delivers the taste of the frozen cocktail without its signature weight. Instead, the drink remains light and refreshing with its slight carbonation and 5.9 percent ABV. Coconut dominates the palate while pineapple brings tropical notes and a touch of acidity.

Epic Western Brush Fire

This sparkling Spicy Margarita, canned at 8 percent ABV, punches the palate with potent jalapeño that complements the vegetal, agave-based spirit fueling the concoction. The lime is relatively subtle but brings welcome refreshment from the hot green peppers’ heat.

Straightaway Cocktails Margarita

Packaged in miniature or slim cans with tongue-in-cheek serving instructions, Straightaway Cocktails come in expressions ranging from classic spirit-forward libations to coffee-spiked builds. One of the biggest standouts was the brand’s Margarita, which features a split base of tequila and mezcal — the latter of which is rarely seen in canned RTDs. The smoke is elevated by the addition of a mango habanero syrup, which brings a touch of spice and juicy, tropical fruit to the vegetal and grassy reposado.

Straightaway Cocktails Nitro Espresso Martini

Also appealing to our panel was the Nitro Espresso Martini, which the brand says should be shaken and poured into a glass with vigor to achieve the luxurious layer of foam the popular cocktail is known for. Made in collaboration with Stumptown, this interpretation lacks any artificial notes, instead offering velvety notes of bitter coffee and honey.

Straightaway Cocktails Nitro Gin Fizz

The brand’s Gin Fizz, which should also be shaken before serving, impressively nails the signature fluff the Ramos is known for. This 10 percent ABV drink is wildly refreshing thanks to the tame acidity from lemon juice playing in perfect harmony with the herbaceous, botanical bouquet of the gin.

Tip Top Proper Cocktails Gin Martini

When Tip Top launched in 2018, it quickly garnered favor for its lineup, which now includes 11 cans.This Martini is among the best of the bunch, and ideal for those who prefer their spec on the drier side as gin is the definite star here. Its vermouth notes are subtle, allowing the juniper-forward London Dry spirit to wash the palate with botanical flavors. Canned at 33 percent ABV, there’s no need to dilute this over ice — simply store in your freezer and pour into a glass when the moment strikes.

Tip Top Proper Cocktails Jungle Bird

If Martinis aren’t your jam, consider the Jungle Bird, which tastes as if it was plucked straight from a beach-side bar. This one boasts strong baking spice notes from its rum base, along with bright pineapple and lime juices and a welcome bitterness on the finish.

Tip Top Proper Cocktails Mai Tai

The sweeter sister to the line’s Jungle Bird, this Mai Tai washes the palate with succulent vanilla and spices. Despite its vibrant color, this drink isn’t overly juicy, instead highlighting orange blossom notes undercut with a nice nutty sweetness from orgeat.

Austin Cocktails Fred’s Ruby Red Sparkling Cocktail

Founded in 2012, Austin Cocktails’ trio of cocktails are light, vivacious, and ideal for unwinding after a long day in the heat. Fred’s Ruby Red Sparkling Cocktail, which is spiked with vodka, meets at the crossroads of a Paloma and a Mojito. Mint tangoes with zippy grapefruit and lime juices on the palate for a delightful citrus sipper.

Austin Cocktails Cucumber Vodka Sparkling Mojito

The Cucumber Vodka Sparkling Mojito also rides the refreshment wave with a profile akin to the cucumber water served as luxurious spas. Mint is also present, though not nearly as strong as the build’s cucumber, with agave syrup adding an undercurrent of sweetness.

Austin Cocktails Bergamot Orange Margarita

As the only tequila-based cocktail in the Austin lineup, the Bergamot Orange Margarita caught our attention with its florality, zingy citrus, and aromatic bergamot. Lime and orange, two of tequila’s classic pairings, elevate the spirit’s grassy agave notes.

Slow & Low Rock and Rye

Hochstadter’s produces four canned cocktails under the Slow & Low label, including Rock and Rye, America’s first bottled cocktail. Now offered in canned form as well, the drink combines rye whiskey and rock candy — but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s a sugar bomb. The Old Fashioned interpretation offers caramel and classic rye spice along with subtle orange blossom notes. The rock candy adds a sweet twist and weight to the palate, fusing all the flavors together and ensuring they linger.

Slow & Low Whiskey Sunshine

For those looking for something a little less spirituous, the Whiskey Sunshine is a great option. The carbonated cocktail delivers on its promise of sunshine, featuring a whopping four types of citrus: yuzu, lemon, orange, and oroblanco grapefruit. All the juices are in perfect harmony with one another, creating a complex bouquet that doesn’t mask the rye’s cereal notes.

The Original Southside

While mint in canned cocktails can taste overly artificial, that’s not the case for the Original Southside, which launched with a single namesake SKU just last year. Here, the cocktail’s starring herb tastes fresh and tamps down the lemon juice’s acidity. At just 10 percent ABV, the gin-based drink remains quaffable.

Dogfish Head Cocktails Vodka Mule

Dogfish Head is obviously known for its craft beers, but the Delaware-based brewery broke onto the canned cocktail scene in 2021. With its lively passion fruit and ginger profile, the Vodka Mule was the overwhelming hit for our tasting panel. The ginger beer is lifting without being overly spicy, and acts as the perfect counterpart for the palate’s tropical fruit. A hint of lime juice further brightens up the cocktail.

The article The Absolute Best Canned Cocktails Right Now appeared first on VinePair.

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