By Oset Babür
April 02, 2021
After tasting more than 45 canned cocktails, F&W Executive Wine Editor Ray Isle and I learned the following: First, it's important to check out the alcohol content before taking a big swig, as some have merely 8% ABV, while others clock in at a cool 42%. Second, hip branding does not a good product make. And third, if you're really serious about discovering gems in an oft-maligned corner of the liquor store, leave your judgment at the door and give the cans a chance.
With many of us drinking on our couches or in our backyards instead of at the bar over the past few months, it's gratifying to find that the canned cocktail—or at least, several of them—has risen to the occasion. Whether you simply want to enjoy a classic Manhattan without having to make it yourself or you're missing your favorite craft cocktail bar's ability to serve the truly unexpected, there's finally something for everyone.
Play the Hits
For when you just want a good old-fashioned drink (or a good old-fashioned).
Proof Cocktail Co. Moscow Mule
If you love ginger with a side of ginger, this is for you. The hint of lime on the finish tastes good enough to pass for freshly squeezed. $6 at proofcocktail.com
Tip Top Old Fashioned
This old-fashioned is a faithful rendition sure to impress traditionalists craving a punch of orange bitters and bourbon. $32 for 8 at tiptopcocktails.com
At 38% ABV, Dashfire does this underdog justice by swapping vermouth for elder- flower liqueur and angostura for grape- fruit bitters. $6 at dashfire.us
Deloce Espresso Martini
A drink to aid those rare, critical moments when you need to feel both tipsy and caffeinated—say, dinner with extended family. $19 at drinkdeloce.com
New Spritz Standbys
For when you need something classier than White Claw.
Bully Boy Amaro Spritz
Boston-based distillery Bully Boy's spritz is like a chilled hot toddy. Citrusy and easy to throw back, it's training wheels for the amaro-curious. $14 for 4 at drizly.com
Social Hour Pacific Spritz
By jazzing up Finger Lakes Riesling and Cabernet Franc with tropical fruits, this bittersweet spritzer is an easy sipper. $20 for 4 at socialhourcocktails.com
With pronounced notes of rhubarb, vanilla, and Champagne vinegar, this is a spritz that will appeal to adventurous drinkers. $6 at drizly.com
Straightaway Fiore Spritz
In canning aromas inspired by irises grow- ing on an Italian hillside, the magicians at Straightaway have done it again. $72 for 12, straightawaycocktails.com
For when you wish you could ask someone behind the bar to whip up a drink that's totally out of left field
Hochstadter's Slow & Low
A pinch of rock candy gives the classic citrus-forward old-fashioned an edgy 84-proof makeover. $24 for 4 at drinkslowandlow.com
Straightaway Last Word Spritz
With notes of dried mint and herbs, there's almost an absinthe-like quality here we'd never expect at first glance. $72 for 12 at straightawaycocktails.com
You & Yours Tangerine Vodka Soda
Citrus fanatics will love You & Yours' vodka infused with tangerine, clementine, and mandarin. $15 for 4 at drizly.com
Dashfire Fig & Cascara Manhattan
Bold, syrupy fig notes mixed with cascara make this a spicy, soothing drink with year-round appeal. $6 at drizly.com