Best Canned Cocktails 2019 Summer
By Kirk Miller / July 18, 2019 4:23 pm

A summer drink needs to be two things: potable and portable.

Beer and wine were made to move about. Spirits, too, if you like ‘em neat.

But cocktails? Thanks to excessive regulations and taxation, distillers have been loath to seal up a potent mixed drink in an on-the-go container.

Until now.

Herein, the seven best canned cocktails for summer, including a whiskey/vodka lemonade that doubles as a mixer, an 84-proof rye tipple, and a couple of wine spritzes you might actually grab over a beer.

For power: Slow & Low Rock and Rye

A decidedly high-proof, straight rye cocktail in a 100 ml can with hints of orange, rock candy and honey. Big wallop in a small package, so tread carefully.  (42% ABV, $3.99 per can)

For timeless boozy refreshment: Punching Mule

Out of Denver, CO, Punching Mule bills itself as “America’s first can-crafted Moscow Mule.” The basic conceit being that their house-distilled vodka and beet sugar-sweetened ginger beer recipe was designed with the can in mind from the ground up — right down to the precision of their CO2 mix.

Best Canned Cocktails

For classic variety: Cutwater Spirits

From the people behind the forward-thinking Ballast Point brewery in San Diego — crafters of Red Velvet oatmeal stout, peppermint imperial porters and an entire line of pepper-infused brews — comes this equally adventurous spirits brand, which has transformed its proprietary line of booze into a series of Bloody Marys, rum and gingers, rum and colas, and gin and tonics. (6.2 – 10% ABV, $14.99 for a four-pack)

For low-key cocktail snobbery: Can Can Cocktails

Out in Sacramento, bartender/artist Ryan Seng is diving even further down the craft cocktail rabbit hole, using top-shelf booze and local produce to deliver everything from an artisanal bourbon-meets-root-beer concoction to a canned version of Sacramento’s famous “White Linen” cocktail — an artful mix of cucumber-infused vodka, gin botanicals, elderflower and lemon.

For (relative) nutrition: COCO Cocktails

Various flavors of “spiked” coconut-water loaded with vitamins A, C, D, E, B1 and B6, along with 177mg of potassium and superfruits Garcinia Cambogia and Mangosteen. (5.6% ABV, $14.99 for a four-pack)

Honorable mention: popular throughout Australia and soon-to-be-available stateside, Coco (yes, the name similarity is confusing) is a mix of pure coconut water and either rum or triple-distilled vodka.

For mixing: Fishers Island Lemonade

A mix of whiskey, vodka, lemon and honey that originated as a boozy lemonade (or, as they call it, “giggle water”) at Long Island’s The Pequot Inn, FIL can be enjoyed on its own, but works well as a part of toddy, mojito or a sweet tea vodka known as the “Shirtless John Daly.” (9% ABV, $5.95 per can)

For (anti-)wine cooler-ing: Hoxie Spritzer

“Good wine, in a can, from Missouri, it’s true.” That’s Hoxie’s pitch — and guess what? It is true.  These spritzers, as our Editor-in-Chief notes, “taste more like a San Pellegrino than rosé … and that’s a good thing. They go down quick and easy, which makes them perfect for sneaking into concerts, discreet public-park drinking or slugging on the subway.” (5% ABV, $28 for two four-packs)

Honorable mention: Francophiles out there might want to check out Pampelonne, who are doing something very similar, albeit with “fine French wine” standing in for the American stuff.

Additional reporting by Danny Agnew