Our resident drinks expert explains.
whiskey mule canned cocktail
Credit: Slalom Fox

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Canned cocktails: "They're the new wine in a can for summer 2019," says deputy food editor Greg Lofts. He should know: Along with his fellow food editors in the test kitchen, he tasted two dozen canned cocktails in a comprehensive test (what a job!). Here's what he learned. This category of drinks didn't really exist before a little over a year ago but has since come on fast. As a cocktail aficionado, Greg never thought he'd be recommending canned takes on classic mixed drinks but he's impressed by their quality and flavor.

When would you drink a cocktail from a can? We think they're 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, just keep them chilled in your cooler bag. If you're toting a picnic, you'll appreciate that canned cocktails aren't as heavy as bottle(s) of wine.

Greg also says that they're "lighter tasting and more refreshing than their cocktail antecedents." Cocktails in cans have an Alcohol By Volume (ABV) similar to that of beer and wine, six to 12 percent, compared to a stiff cocktail, like a Negroni or Manhattan, which would have an ABV of more than 20 percent. When the team tasted a variety of canned cocktails, their favorites come from craft distilleries and small canned cocktail companies. Greg is sure we're going to see a lot more canned cocktails very soon from big names in the booze world but for now he suggests trying one of his favorite four, look out for them at your local liquor store.

white linen canned cocktail
Credit: Can Can Cocktails

White Linen from CanCan, California

This version of the vodka cocktail with cucumber, elderflower, and lemon is from bartender Ryan Seng's canned cockail company, CanCan Cocktails, and "is a light and refreshing carbonated sip with floral notes and a fresh and clean finish. It's more fruity and feminine than our other picks," says Greg.

whiskey mule canned cocktail
Credit: Slalom Fox

Whiskey Mule from Slalom Fox, Colorado

The whiskey mule is a favorite cocktail for Greg; "I love whiskey and ginger together." In this version from canned cocktail company Slalom Fox, "there's a little bit of spice (read heat) from the ginger and a bright finish from lime juice. Whiskey offers depth, a hint of caramel, and a more robust, earthy flavor compared to the other canned cocktails."

gin and tonic canned cocktail
Credit: CopperCraft Distillery

Gin & Tonic from Coppercraft Distillery, Michigan

The G&T is so simple a drink but also complex and hard to get right-Coppercraft Distillery does, though. "This 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."

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 classic from Cutwater Spirits. It has a hint of peppery bite from the tequila, plus subtle aroma and flavor of orange from triple sec. "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."


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