Life

Light And Bright Canned Cocktails For Summertime Sipping

Mixology is truly an art. Understanding the subtleties of how to balance flavors with spirits, sugars, and water to create something that’s greater than the sum of its parts requires a deep knowledge of the tools and ingredients at hand. That’s dope. But let’s face it, when you’re throwing your post-vaccine backyard parties, relaxing by the pool, or grilling up something this weekend, nobody has the time or patience to be standing in the sun, juicing limes, and endlessly mixing up cocktails.

When you’re just chilling, you need something easy to grab (and drink). And while hard seltzers are great, they don’t really compare to a legit cocktail. So for those occasions, nothing is more convenient than a quality canned or bottled cocktail (or an RTD, ready-to-drink — if you want to get all technical about it).

Since we’re talking about one of the biggest party weekends of the summer, we’ve decided to focus on the canned cocktails you need to stock in the cooler at your next summer party. Our drinks writers picked a few of their favorites for a list of bright and fruity beverages that’ll leave you refreshed and get you sufficiently buzzed!

Roseade (Gabrielle Pharms)

Roseade

ABV: 8%

Average Price: $15 (four-pack)

The Cocktail:

Launched in 2018 in Australia, Roseade is exactly what you think it is, an effervescent blend of rosé wine and fresh-squeezed lemonade. Founder Lee Smallman’s family’s winery produced too much rosé and he needed a creative way to sell the excess wine.

So he came up with the idea of a wine cooler made with fresh juice and added spritz. Then, ta-da! You have Roseade.

Tasting Notes:

The semi-sweet aroma is riddled with the blend of fresh lemonade and rosé preparing your tastebuds for a crisp sip. The palate is every bit of delicious as the scent with the taste of both the rosé and lemonade, finishing on a tart, citrusy note.

Bottom Line:

This is the peanut butter and jelly of libations. Rosé and lemonade just work together. This is my go-to for keeping cool this summer.

DRNYXMYTH’s Eastside (Gabrielle Pharms)

DRNXMYTH

ABV: 16%

Average Price: $11 (one, two-serving bottle)

The Cocktail:

The team of the SoCal-based startup, DRNYXMYTH, are geniuses alongside the bartenders they’ve enlisted to craft the cocktail recipes. Unlike canned cocktails, DRNYXMYTH is in a twist-to-mix bottle where the spirit is at the top and the fresh ingredients are at the bottom. Once you twist and pour (over ice), you have a ready-made cocktail. I’ve tried just about every cocktail in their lineup and the gin-based Eastside was the one that caught my attention.

Tasting Notes:

Catching a whiff of the Eastside, you’ll immediately feel like you’re in a spa thanks to the fresh cucumber notes and mint. The drink itself is a bit of everything you love about summer, refreshing mint juxtaposed to the just-right measure of sweet notes (thanks to cane sugar). The bright beverage has a bittersweet finish that makes you regret only buying one bottle.

Bottom Line:

I typically hate gin because it reminds me of mouthwash. However, the mixologist behind the Eastside, Saeed “Hawk” House, has made me out to be a fraud. I love this product.

Siponey Royale (Gabrielle Pharms)

Siponey

ABV: 7.25%

Average Price: $40 (four-pack)

The Cocktail:

As a small family-owned and operated business, Siponey is all about two things: New York and quality. Overseen and founded by spirits expert Amanda Victoria and horticulturist Joseph Mintz, Siponey Royale is comprised of ingredients in both of their wheelhouse: Local wildflower honey, four-year-old rye whiskey, fresh lemon juice, and sparkling water.

Tasting Notes:

This sunny yellow cocktail smells like honey and bliss. Unlike many whiskey-based ready-to-drink cocktails, the Royale isn’t syrupy sweet, which is a welcome surprise. Notes of slightly, sweet honey and citrusy lemon shine through despite the inclusion of the spicy rye whiskey. The fizziness reminds me of sipping champagne. The finish is akin to the aftertaste you got as a child (or maybe as an adult for some of us) of eating rock candy.

Bottom Line:

Whiskey lovers, give this bubbly sipper a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Cutwater Three Sheets Rum & Ginger (Dane Rivera)

Cutwater Spirits

ABV: 7%

Average Price: $14 (four-pack)

The Cocktail:

Cutwater has over 22 different canned cocktails, offering everything from Spicy Bloody Marys to Horchata Cold Brews to Tiki Rum Mai Tais. For the most part, they’re all pretty solid. I probably could’ve made a list that consists entirely of this brand, but I love the Three Sheets Rum & Ginger above the rest.

A while back, these canned cocktails were under the Ballast Point banner before the San Diego brewery spun its distillery business into Cutwater, which has since been bought up by Anheuser-Busch. To my memory, they’ve always tasted essentially the same, which is delicious.

Tasting Notes:

Made with Cutwater’s Three Sheets White Rum, which is made using cane sugar rather than molasses, Rum & Ginger is light and refreshing with a nice fizzy ginger beer that provides a lingering spiced finish. The ginger flavoring is a bit on the strong side. So if you’re not a fan of ginger, this won’t be for you. But if you’re looking for a ginger beer that offers a little something extra, this will earn its spot in your summer cooler.

Bottom Line:

With just two ingredients, it’s simple, sure. But when it comes to these canned cocktails, simple is often better. Lighter and more refreshing than rum and cola, Cutwater’s Rum & Ginger is crisp, spicy, and perfect for poolside sipping.

Dogfish Head Blueberry Shrub Vodka Soda (Dane Rivera)

Dogfish Head

ABV: 7%

Average Price: $12 (four-pack)

The Cocktail:

Delaware brewing company Dogfish Head went very old-timey with a shrub base (an old-school vinegar-fruit cocktail base) for their canned cocktail. Which makes a certain sort of sense since pre-made (or ready-to-drink) cocktails have been around since the 1800s. The Blueberry Shrub Vodka soda is the pannacle of their line.

Tasting Notes:

Sweet balsamic and red wine vinegar mingle with blueberry-infused distilled vodka and soda water for a light and fruity drink with a slight sour bite and a rich purple color. With the way the flavors take you on a journey from bright and juicy to sweet to sour and back to a refreshing fruity finish, this really exceeds all expectations of what a canned cocktail can be.

Bottom Line:

If you think that canned cocktails will never compare to the real thing, give this a try. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that you’re not just wrong, you’re so wrong that it’s embarrassing. This is leagues better than most amateur, homemade cocktails.

R6 West Coast Mule (Dane Rivera)

R6

ABV: 10.1%

Average Price: $16 (four-pack)

The Cocktail:

Supremely smooth and packing a powerful punch, R6s West Coast Mule is a great summer sipper for fans of a good Moscow Mule.

Tasting Notes:

Batched straight out of R6’s El Segundo California distillery and featuring the brand’s award-winning 20-times distilled vodka, this canned mule has a ginger forward flavor with bursts of sweet lime and a nice fizzy body that is great straight from the can or tempered with some ice in a glass. If you’re going to go the extra mile and pour it over ice, you might as well smash a nice sprig of mint in there to liven up the flavors a bit and give it some refreshing aromatic qualities.

Bottom Line:

Crack open a can of West Coast Mule on the beach and revel in the fact that ginger works so well in canned cocktails. If you’re enjoying this at home, definitely pour it over ice and level it up with some fresh lime, mint, or fresh ginger garnish.

Tip Top Negroni (Christopher Osburn)

Tip Top

ABV: 26%

Average Price: $5 (100ml can)

The Cocktail:

Is there a better summery drink than a Negroni? [editor’s note: Um, no. There’s not.] The combination of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth is exceptionally refreshing on a hot, humid day. Tip Top makes a version worthy of a day at the beach, by a pool, or sitting in a broken gravity chair with your feet in a kiddie pool.

Tasting Notes:

Tip Top’s version is made with dry gin, red bitters (but not Campari), and sweet vermouth. This is filled with bittersweet flavors next to orange zest, and juniper.

Bottom Line:

While it tastes just like the Negroni you know and love, you only need to crack open a can and pour out this red-colored goodness over ice and enjoy. No mixing is needed. That’s what we call summer relaxation.

The Finnish Long Drink (Christopher Osburn)

Long Drink

ABV: 5.5%

Average Price: $15 (six-pack)

The Cocktail:

It might be new in the U.S., but “Long Drink” is hugely popular in Finland. The traditional long drink is made using gin and grapefruit soda. It’s simple, bright, crisp, and refreshing. It’s the kind of drink that people in Finland drink all summer long. Sure, we can make our own by simply pouring gin and grapefruit juice into an ice-filled glass. But … where’s the fun in that?

Tasting Notes:

This version is an easy-to-swallow 5.5 percent ABV and is made with premium gin and thirst-quenching citrus flavor. There’s also one with cranberry flavor, but we prefer to stick with the original.

Bottom Line:

If you’re more health-conscious, Long Drink comes in a sugar-free, carb-free version guaranteed to quench your thirst while still keeping you safely on your summer diet. Whichever version you choose, this zesty gin and citrus-filled drink will be your new summer accessory.

Campari Soda (Zach Johnston)

Campari Group

ABV: 10%

Average Price: $12 (five-pack)

The Cocktail:

Campari Soda is an OG ready-to-drink cocktail dating all the way back to 1932. It’s also like a transporter that’ll take you straight to a shady street in Milan or Venice on a sunny summer day. The juice in the bottle is a mix of Campari Bitters and fizzy Italian mineral water. It’s easily drunk straight from the bottle or served over ice with a twist of orange. Either way, it’s one of the most refreshing and flavorful bottled cocktails you’ll ever drink.

Tasting Notes:

The harder bitter notes of Campari are dialed back with a softer, almost creamier body of lemon bitters, woody botanicals, and a sweet hard red candy vibe. The fizz is amped up thanks to the minerally water. There’s a hint of robust chinotto bitter orange/lemon that really pops with the carbonation on the end.

Bottom Line:

Again, this is great on its own or over ice. But it really pops if you pour it over ice with an orange twist and then top it up with a little sharp prosecco. But even if you don’t do all of that, knocking one of these back will bring about a moment of pure refreshment that’ll also open up your palate.

Jim Beam Ginger Highball (Zach Johnston)

Beam Suntory

ABV: 5%

Average Price: $12 (six-pack)

The Cocktail:

Jim Beam makes a lot of canned cocktails. But most of them are on international shelves. Jim Beam Long Black (a mix of Beam Black and an old-school cola recipe) is probably the best one if you’re curious. Finally, Beam is starting to get into the RTD game in the U.S. thanks to the return of the category’s popularity yet again. Their big entry dropped just in time for summer 2021 and is a simple yet refined Beam and ginger highball.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a real sense of a dive bar pour of Beam with bar-gun-poured ginger ale top-up. The sip has real depth while staying very light (think of the mid-point between a very icy highball and hard seltzer) thanks to the addition of fizzy soda water with the Beam White Label and ginger ale. It’s crisp, light, and still feels like a dive bar highball.

Bottom Line:

A dive bar Beam and ginger is pretty much a four-ounce pour of Beam over ice with a shot off the bar gun of ginger for color and a touch of sweetness. This is that poured into a pint glass and topped with sharp soda water, making it a bit less ass-kicking with the ABVs. You still have all the elements of a good Beam and ginger drink without the hefty alcohol burn and more lightness. That’s a win.

Onda Sparkling Tequila Grapefruit (Steve Bramucci)

Onda

ABV: 5%

Average Price: $65 (24-pack)

The Cocktail:

Casa Maestri — a well-known, female-owned tequila brand — supplied the booze for this canned cocktail. The rest is just grapefruit and fizz. But while so many fizzy booze brands seem to have no “there” there, this has distinct notes of grapefruit (juice, pulp, and oil), vegetal tequila, and bubbles.

From TV star and mega-influencer Shay Mitchell, this is a canned highball that refreshes wihout falling into the biggest pre-mix trap: over sugaring.

Tasting Notes:

Lots of grapefruit on the nose but the midpalate is really driven forward by tequila and soda. The grapefruit returns on the finish to take the taste home and mellow the agave green pepper notes.

Bottom Line:

This is cool in every way — refreshing and tasting with an attention grabbing can inspired by ’90s surf culture.


As a Drizly affiliate, Uproxx may receive a commission pursuant to certain items on this list.

×