Updated: May 3, 2021
Crack open a can (or two) for all those outdoor hangs you have planned this season.
By Morgan Olsen Posted: Tuesday April 27 2021
Welcome to the In Between Times, the limbo we find ourselves in until we can return to some semblance of the Before Times. There's plenty to do here, including meeting up with vaccinated friends, traveling and getting back to our favorite bars and restaurants. No matter what you've got planned this summer, we're willing to bet that a lot of it is happening outdoors—from backyard hangs and picnic reunions to rooftop romps and leisurely hikes.
Another guarantee? Booze—and plenty of it. If you're planning to cheers your way through the summer, you're going to want to stock up on the best canned cocktails out there. These editor-tested portable tipples are crafted with quality ingredients so that you can replicate the bar experience wherever you are—no cocktail shaker required. So clear some space in the fridge, dust off your picnic blanket and prepare to sip the best canned cocktails this summer.
1. Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock and Rye
What's in it? Rye whiskey, rock candy, raw honey, angostura bitters and orange peel Tasting notes: Still trying to master the perfect Old Fashioned at home? Give it a rest. Hochstadter's has done the legwork with this impeccably balanced, extra-dry batched cocktail that's available in a bottle or single-serve can. Rock candy and raw honey imbue a touch of earthy sweetness, and the subtle orange flavor means you don't have to add a garnish if you're far from home. Perfect for: A long-overdue camping trip with friends.
2. Dante x Five Drinks Co. Summer Spritz
What's in it? Gin, elderflower cordial, cucumber bitters, cucumber, lemon and grape juices Tasting notes: Cocktail aficionados know Dante as one of the world's best bars, but you don't have to book a flight to NYC to get your fix thanks to this boozy collab with Five Drinks Co. Perhaps the most complex offering on the list, this idyllic Summer Spritz tastes like it was just picked from the garden, with hints of cucumber, blossoms and citrus to boot. Stick a straw in it or pour it over ice and garnish it with a ribbon of cucumber. Voila! Perfect for: Grownup Sunday Funday.
3. You & Yours Distilling Co. Meyer Lemon Vodka Soda
What's in it? Vodka and natural lemon flavor Tasting notes: To quote Beyoncé, if your go-to bar order is a vodka soda, "Let me upgrade you." Okay, that's probably not what B meant, but this canned cocktail is a major improvement. Infused with meyer lemon—which is slightly sweeter and more herbaceous than a regular lemon—this vodka soda is bursting with juicy flavors and just the right amount of carbonation. The only downside? At 7.5 percent ABV, these cans are wildly crushable, so stock up accordingly. Perfect for: That scorching hot, 100-plus-degree day in July.
4. Social Hour Whiskey Mule
What's in it? Rye whiskey and ginger beer Tasting notes: Crafted by Brooklyn bar vets Julie Reiner and Tom Macy, Social Hour's ready-to-sip Whiskey Mule is beautifully balanced. The zingy, citrus-forward ginger beer will hit your nose before doing a happy dance on your palate. Then comes a smooth, chest-warming wave of rye whiskey, which is sourced from New York Distilling Company. Sip it straight from the can or serve it over ice with a wedge of lime. Perfect for: A blissful backyard barbecue.
5. Tip Top Manhattan
What's in it? Rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters Tasting notes: This small but mighty contender packs a serious punch thanks to Atlanta bartender Miles Macquarrie's prowess behind the bar. The just-right Manhattan is boozy and balanced, delivering notes of caramel and baking spices. Though no one will judge you for sipping it straight from the can, this bevvy begs to be served in a coupe with a cherry or two. Perfect for: A no-fuss nightcap on your back porch.
6. Dashfire Lemon & Lavender Martini
What's in it? Vodka, sherry, lemon bitters and lavender bitters Tasting notes: Hellbent on putting their own unique spin on the classics, the cocktail experts at Dashfire upgrade their vodka Martini with a dash of lemon-lavender bitters and a splash of nutty sherry. The result is complex yet easy to love—the kind of thing you could easily whip out to wow your guests at an intimate dinner party. Perfect for: Impressing your cocktail-obsessed friend after a year apart.
7. CanBee Cocktails Bee’s Knees
What's in it? Gin, lemon and honey Tasting notes: There are few cocktails better suited for summer than the classic Bee's Knees, a sweet, citrus-tinged gin number that's highly crushable. What makes this canned option even sweeter is the fact that it's crafted by real-life beekeepers and a portion of their sales goes to pollinator conservation around the globe. And no, the bees won't mind if you drink this one straight from the can. Perfect for: A pre-show tipple before catching a movie in the park.
8. Straightaway Negroni Spritz
What's in it? Sparkling pinot gris, amaro and sweet vermouth Tasting notes: Come summer, the classic Negroni goes into hibernation and its party-loving, heat-seeking cousin comes out to play. This light and refreshing spritz ditches the gin in favor of sparkling pinot gris, making it much less potent and much more sessionable. But it's Straightaway's house-made amaro that throws a bittersweet curveball in this delectable apéritif. Perfect for: Cloud-gazing at the park.
9. Mayne & Co. Modern Mimosa
What's in it? Sparkling wine and orange juice Tasting notes: Forget about carting a bottle of bubbly and OJ to the park and reach for the canned version instead. Ideal for those who prefer their mimosas with just a splash of juice, Mayne & Co. lets their sustainably sourced Italian vino do the talking. The result is an effervescent, citrusy showstopper that demands brunch bites. Psst! Each can includes about a flute and a half, so sip slowly. Perfect for: An impromptu boozy brunch on your stoop.
10. Onda Sparkling Tequila Grapefruit
What's in it? Blanco tequila and grapefruit juice Tasting notes: Akin to a juicy Paloma, Onda's tequila-grapefruit cocktail has a way of making you feel like the coolest version of yourself. One minute you're cracking open a can on your couch, the next you're bouncing around in a rooftop pool (if only in your mind). The easy-to-read ingredient list translates to a carb- and sugar-free treat that rings up at 100 calories. Keep it on ice and sip it straight from the can. Perfect for: Your first beach hang of the year. Scratch that—every beach hang this year.