Life

These Canned Cocktails Will Make Holiday Entertaining Merry And Bright

It’s party season. Sure, the holidays are about giving thanks and love and all of that warm and gooey stuff. But they’re mostly about the parties. ‘Tis the season for social engagements. Whether it’s an office party, a neighborhood pot luck, or a family dinner, your schedule will be so full of parties from now until New Years that you won’t even have 3.5 hours (!) to work your way through The Irishman.

Of course, if you want to be invited back to these parties, you can’t show up empty-handed. Bring whiskey. Or bourbon (a type of whiskey). Or — hear us out — bring a sixer of canned cocktails. It’s a booming industry and the fact that they’re pre-made and mixed makes life feel easy, something we all need more of this time of year. Are they as high impact as a bottle of Pappy? No. But they aren’t as high in cost either!

Below you’ll find a few of our favorite canned cocktails, perfect for holiday imbibing.

BOULEVARD FLING RYE WHISKEY MULE

STORY:

If you’re a fan of craft beer, you’ve probably heard about Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing. Well-known for its Space Camper Cosmic IPA and Tank 7 American Saison. But you might be surprised to hear that (like many other breweries) Boulevard has decided to get in on the canned cocktail bandwagon with its Fling Craft Cocktails. Flavors include Blood Orange Vodka Soda, Cucumber Lime Gin & Tonic, and Mai Tai. One of the best new flavors, perfect for the holidays is its Rye Whiskey Mule.

TASTING NOTES:

When we think of mules, it’s usually the vodka-based Moscow mule version. But Boulevard decided to turn the cocktail on its head and completely lean into the spice. Usually, the drink gets all of its kick from the ginger beer. In this version, the mixed cocktail, made with ginger, lime, and rye whiskey is sweet, full of citrus freshness as well as a double kick of peppery spice from the whiskey and ginger.

HOCHSTADTER’S SLOW & LOW ROCK & RYE

STORY:

Many canned cocktails are just wine coolers in disguise. That’s because, while a cocktail from a bar could be around 80 proof (or above), a good majority of canned cocktails are overly sweet, low-alcohol (less than 9 percent ABV) fizzy drinks that more resemble spiked soda than your favorite classic cocktail. Hochstadter’s is truly the answer for this long list of sugar bombs. Crack open a can of this prohibition-era cocktail and you’ll be pouring an 84 proof drink that actually tastes like a proper cocktail.

TASTING NOTES:

Until Hochstadter’s decided to can its own version, the only way to drink this iconic drink was at a bar or speakeasy. Made from all-natural ingredients like raw honey, dried oranges, Angostura bitters, rock candy, and rye whiskey, this flavor bomb is full of Christmas spices, pepper, and spiced citrus with a subtle sweet backbone.

PLAIN SPOKE BRANDY OLD FASHIONED

STORY:

Madison, Wisconsin is known as the home of the University of Wisconsin and the rowdy fans of the Badgers football team. Now we know what gets them rowdy. Plain Spoke makes its canned cocktails using only real citrus juices and midwestern spirits, with no added preservatives or extra ingredients. Some of its cocktails include Moscow Mule, Bourbon Smash, and Mojito. But it’s the Brandy Old Fashioned that you’ll really want to drink throughout the holiday season.

TASTING NOTES:

While this canned cocktail only clocks in at 10 percent ABV (higher than a beer and lower than a regular cocktail), it’s the perfect sipper for holiday entertainment. That’s because this warming, complex cocktail is made with aged Brandy, lemon-lime sparkling seltzer, Bittercube Trinity bitters, pure cane sugar, and, as they state, “A Touch of Nostalgia.” The result is a rich, well-rounded canned cocktail with hints of butterscotch, caramel sweetness, bitter citrus, spice from bitters, and subtle sweetness to wrap everything together like a nice mid-winter hug.

CUTWATER BLACK SKIMMER WHISKEY HIGHBALL

STORY:

In the last few years, as the canned cocktail marketplace has continued to grow, Cutwater as remained as one of the biggest, most popular names because of a vast array of high-quality, delicious, well-made canned cocktails. Some of its most popular include Tequila Margarita, Spicy Bloody Mary, and Old Grove Gin & Tonic. But we’re most stoked about one of its newest offerings when it comes to holiday sippers.

TASTING NOTES:

One of the things that sets Cutwater apart from many of its rivals is the simplicity of its mixes. Black Skimmer Whiskey Highball is simply bourbon, soda water, and mint. The ingredients are similar to what you might use to make a highball at home. Instead of mixing your own, you can crack open a can and enjoy flavors like sweet vanilla, caramel, honey, effervescent water, and a pleasing hint of mint.

YOU & YOURS GIN & TONIC

STORY:

San Diego’s You & Yours Distilling Company makes artisanal spirits like Sunday gin, vodka, London dry gin, and Provisional Sunday gin. Founded in 2017, You & Yours was created with an idea to create spirits on-site using only the freshest ingredients possible with no preservatives or adjuncts. On top of its spirits, the distillery also makes canned cocktails, including Vodka Cranberry Soda, Vodka Mule, and Gin & Tonic.

TASTING NOTES:

It might not seem like the holiday season is the appropriate time for gin & tonics. But, if you ask us, there’s no wrong time for a G & T and who wouldn’t want a change of pace for the usually whiskey-based wintery cocktails. That’s why we love this gin & tonic with its flavors of tart and subtle sour tonic along with herbaceous (and subtly Juniper-based) gin, all rounded out with background of sweet, tropical citrus throughout.

NEW HOLLAND BOURBON & COLA

STORY:

We love the perfect simplicity of low ingredient-count cocktails. We can enjoy gin & tonics and Moscow mules all day, every day. That’s why we were so excited to hear that New Holland, a company much more well known as an acclaimed brewery, is now producing its own canned cocktails. Specifically, we were happy to hear that the brand was trying its hand at a simple bourbon and cola.

TASTING NOTES:

This 9 percent ABV canned cocktail is as simple as it is delicious. Made with beer barrel bourbon, cola, and real cane sugar, this canned offering is everything fans of the classic cocktail will embrace. It’s crisp and sweet from the cola. But it’s the caramel, oak, and corn sweetness of the bourbon that stand out before everything is rounded out with kick of pure cane sugar.

Even with all the sweet ingredients, this remains complex, rich, and easy to drink without feeling too cloying.

EDITOR’S PICK: 10 BARREL BREWING GREY HOUND

STORY:

I don’t know what season you’re supposed to serve Greyhounds, but in Oregon — where I’m from and this renowned brewery was launched — the cocktail always seems to be the crisp, bright option and Christmas parties. It’s an achingly simple drink, too. Just seltzer, vodka, grapefruit. But with an 11.8% ABV and the sugars on the lower end, you can tip a few of these and feel neither bloated nor sugared half to death.

TASTING NOTES:

It’s not too sweet — that’s huge. Butter still, those nice, bright grapefruit flavors feel authentic and not overly-preserved (or faked). The fizz is there and so is a nice little bit of vodka flavor. If you want a sipper while leaving space for figgy pudding and sugar cookies, this is the right play.

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