We'll be packing them for picnics, sipping them at the beach, and more all year long.
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pouring canned cocktail into rocks glass
Credit: Courtesy of Tip Top Cocktails / Luke Beard

How did we manage without cocktails in cans—or wine in cans for that matter—for so long? The category really appeared in 2018 and has grown at rapid pace since. Why are canned cocktails so popular? They're the most convenient option for those times when you're outside and away from home and the idea of schlepping a cocktail shaker, booze, mixers, and glasses is crazy. With these handy canned cocktails, there's no need to bring ice along—just keep them chilled in your cooler bag until you're ready to enjoy. If you're toting a picnic, you'll appreciate that canned cocktails aren't as heavy as a bottle of wine, and if your companion prefers a classic Manhattan but you're strictly a spritz type, you can each bring along a single can of exactly what you like.

As our resident cocktail aficionado and deputy editor of food and entertaining, Greg Lofts notes that quality canned cocktails are just that. Greg never thought he'd be recommending canned takes on classic mixed drinks, but he's impressed by their quality and flavor. Greg's picks are "lighter tasting and more refreshing than their cocktail antecedents." The canned cocktails he prefers have an alcohol by volume (ABV) similar to that of beer and wine, which is anywhere from six to 12 percent. Canned cocktails thought aren't all light and refreshing, though. Assistant food editor Riley Wofford's favorites are stiffer; she opts for a Negroni or Manhattan, which would have an ABV of more than 25 percent. 

canned negroni cocktail
Credit: Courtesy of Tip Top

Negroni from Tip Top Proper Cocktails

Riley likes to make her picnics swanky, so she  totes cans of sips from Atlanta-based Tip Top Proper Cocktails; her favorite is the Negroni, which, as Tip Tops motto suggests, is "balanced and not too sweet." It is boozy as you'd expect, with an ABV of 26 percent. (Riley isn't so fancy as to bring glasses, on her picnics Negronis are enjoyed from the can.)

Shop Now: Tip Top Negroni, $39.99 for eight 100ml cans, tiptoppropercocktails.com.

gin and tonic canned cocktail
Credit: CopperCraft Distillery

Gin & Tonic from Coppercraft Distillery

The G&T might seem like a simple drink, but it's rather complex and hard to get right—luckily, Coppercraft Distillery does. Their canned gin and tonic is 12 percent ABV and "tastes like a perfect classic gin and tonic in the convenience of a can," says Greg. "You could bring cups and garnishes but you don't need to, it's great straight from the can." 

Shop Now: Coppercraft Distillery Gin & Tonic, $12.49 for four 12-ounce cans, totalwine.com.

dogfish head brewery lemon lime gin crush canned coktail
Credit: Courtesy of Dogfish Head

Gin Crush Lemon & Lime Cocktail from Dogfish Head Distilling Co.

"It feels like something I'd sip at the beach," says Riley. She's really looking forward to quaffing this refreshing cocktail that's made with Dogfish Head Distilling's own citrus-forward gin plus lemon and lime juices when the weather is warmer. It has an ABV of 7 percent.

Shop Now: Dogfish Head Distilling Co. Gin Crush Lemon & Lime Cocktail, $15.99 for four 12-ounce cans, drizly.com.

Social Hour Cocktails Strawberry-Rhubarb Spritzz
Credit: Courtesy of Social Hour Cocktails

Strawberry-Rhubarb Spritz From Social Hour Cocktails

Here's a canned cocktail for everyone who can't wait for spring. It's not too sweet but fruity at first with a delightfully bitter finish and an ABV of 8.7 percent.

Shop Now: Social Hour Cocktails Strawberry-Rhubarb Spritz, $19.95 for four 250ml cans, socialhourcocktails.com.

lime margarita canned cocktail
Credit: Cutwater Spirits

Lime Margarita from Cutwater Spirits

"We tried other canned margaritas and didn't like them, but this one, made with silver tequila, lime, and triple sec, is a 'gulpable' version of the classic," explains Greg of this option from Cutwater Spirits. It has a hint of peppery bite from the tequila, plus subtle aroma and flavor of orange from triple sec and comes in at 12.5 percent ABV. "Maybe one of the reasons we favored this one is that it's still and most of the others were carbonated, which didn't work for us in a margarita." 

Shop Now: Cutwater Spirits Lime Margarita, $13.99 for four 12-ounce cans, totalwine.com.

whiskey mule canned cocktail
Credit: Slalom Fox

Whiskey Mule from Slalom Fox

The whiskey mule is a favorite cocktail for Greg; "I love whiskey and ginger together." In this version from Colorado-based canned cocktail company Slalom Fox, "there's a little bit of spice (read: heat) from the ginger and a bright finish from lime juice." While the whiskey offers depth, a hint of caramel, and a robust, earthy flavor, this cocktail has a relatively light ABV of 8.6 percent.

Shop Now: Slalom Fox Whiskey Mule, $19.49 for four 355ml cans, totalwine.com.

tip top canned manhattan cocktail
Credit: Courtesy of Tip Top

Manhattan from Tip Top Proper Cocktails

As someone who doesn't bother to mix herself a Manhattan at home but who is partial to the classic whiskey cocktail, Riley has found this canned version well made and very convenient. It packs a punch at 31 percent ABV.

Shop Now: Tip Top Manhattan, $39.99 for eight 100ml cans, tiptoppropercocktails.com.

Bully Boy Distillers Amaro Spritz
Credit: Courtesy of Bully Boy Distillers

Bully Boy Distillers Grapefruit Spritz

For grapefruit fans and anyone seeking a refreshing yet bracing spritz, there's this amaro combo from Boston's Bully Boy Distillers with a 7 percent ABV. It's a summer refresher for sure but also has a complexity that recommends it for drinking outside of August.

Shop Now: Bully Boy Distillers Grapefruit Spritz, $13.99 for four 12-ounce cans, drizly.com.

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