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If you aren’t big on beer, you’ve probably found yourself in the awkward situation of not being able to imbibe in places where only canned drinks seem to be what’s available—picnics, beaches, and other classic summer scenarios. Lucky for you, the canned cocktail game is going strong in 2019, and it’s now possible to buy pretty much any cocktail pre-made and ready to pack in a cooler. I’m not talking about boring spiked seltzer, either. Walk into a liquor store or supermarket (this varies by state), and you’ll likely find a few canned cocktail options stocked in the cooler.
The problem is, not all of them are created equal. And, is there anything worse than spending $10+ on a four-pack that nobody is going to like? So, to make sure you only end up drinking the best stuff this summer, we’ve put together a list of vetted canned cocktails that are sure to please. Because of distribution laws, not all of these cocktails are available nationwide, but you’re bound to find a few available near you. The next time you’re headed out to the beach with a cooler, or want to sneak a little something into your local park, give one of these summer-perfect canned cocktails a try.
1. Cutwater Spirits Spicy Bloody Mary
If you’d rather sit by the pool than head to brunch on a summer weekend, know that you don’t have to forgo a brunch cocktail. This spicy Bloody Mary is tangy and not too thick, and far easier than whipping one up yourself.
2. Cutwater Spirits Rum and Ginger
Forget bulky Moscow Mule cups, this summer you’ll want to sip your ginger cocktail from a can. This rum and ginger mixture has a lower ABV than most canned cocktails (it clocks in at seven percent alcohol), and its sweetness is cut by the spice of the ginger beer. In other words, you’ll probably end up sipping a few.
3. Durham Distillery Gin and Tonic
If you’ve ever tried Durham Distillery’s Conniption Gin, I shouldn’t need to sell you on this sweet, slightly sour G&T. If not, here’s what you need to know: The gin is crisp (no weird medicinal taste that some cheaper brands have), and there’s a hint of Meyer lemon in the mixture that makes it better than anything you’d mix up yourself.
4. Durham Distillery Vodka and Soda
If you’re making vodka sodas with plain old seltzer and a squeeze of lime—stop. This vodka and soda canned cocktail is made with cucumber vodka, and is essentially a more elegant, less-sweet version of all the flavored spiked seltzers on the market.
5. Novo Fogo Passionfruit and Lime Sparkling Caipirinha
Have you even tried a caipirinha? It’s a Brazilian cocktail of cachaca (a liquor made by fermenting sugarcane juice), sugar, and lime—in other words, it’s sweet, strong, and perfect for summer. This passionfruit caipirinha is kicked up an extra notch with tropical fruit, and tastes great straight from the can.
6. Boulevard Brewing Co. Fling Mai Tai
This Mai Tai isn’t for everyone—if you’d rather not feel like you’re on vacation as you sip a strong, fruity drink, then by all means, give it a miss. If you do want to be transported to the beach, though, drink up.
7. Boulevard Brewing Co. Fling Margarita
For some reason, tequila-based canned cocktails are the hardest to get right—trust me, I’ve tried several. But, this margarita nails the sweet-sour combo, even if it does err a little on the sweet side. When you don’t feel like breaking out your lime juicer, break out one of these babies instead.
8. Ramona Ruby Grapefruit Wine Spritz
Do you think of wine spritzers as something only your grandma would drink? Fair enough, but that really isn’t the case these days. Ramona’s grapefruit spritz is geared towards millennials, and the packaging alone will make you want to take a four-pack to your next party. And yes, it tastes good, too.
9. Southern Tier Distilling Co. Bourbon Smash
Think of this fizzy bourbon smash as a cross between a whiskey-ginger and a mint julep. Then, go out and get enough of them to last you all summer.
10. Virtue Cider Mezzo Spritz
If you’re looking for a truly low-ABV day drink, this cider-based spritz is it—at three-and-a-half percent alcohol, it’s light enough to sip all afternoon. Also, it’s probably unlike anything you’ve ever tried before, with its fun mix of mellow cider, bubbles, and slightly sour botanicals.
11. Cocktail Squad Margarita
Another win in the tequila category is this margarita from Cocktail Squad. Pro tip: Dip the rim of the can in a little bit of salt, and squeeze in a little extra fresh lime juice.
12. Cocktail Squad Whiskey Sour
Shake this “nitro” cocktail before you crack open the can, and it’ll pour like a fresh-made, creamy whiskey sour. It makes for a great happy hour drink, but there’s no wrong time to have one.
13. Cardinal Spirits Bramble Mule
Do you even drink a Moscow Mule and think, “I wish there was a little more to this?” If so, the bramble mule is your answer. As well as classic ginger, its got tart raspberry juice and a floral hibiscus finish.
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