10 Best Canned Cocktails to Keep in Your Fridge at All Times

The best canned cocktails come in a variety of flavors, strengths, and styles. So how to distill the whole of the ever-growing beverage category into one measly little list? Can you even compare a canned Old Fashioned to a canned Margarita? I did my best. And, as a seasoned canned cocktail drinker and lover, you can trust me.

But first, what is a canned cocktail? The category is much broader than other canned alcoholic beverages. According to a few different state liquor boards, a canned cocktail is simply a canned, pre-mixed drink that is over 0.5% ABV but less than 15% ABV. Beyond that, it’s the Wild West, baby. 

So, to prep for this taste test, I pored over other lists of the best canned cocktails. I browsed liquor stores. And I ended up with 21 different types to try. I sipped each one, judging them on what the cocktail was trying to do—is this canned Margarita a quality Margarita? Does this canned Gin & Tonic taste like a G&T I might make at home? And I found ten canned mixed drinks that stood out amongst the rest. Here are the best canned cocktails.

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best canned cocktail: Cazadores Spicy Margarita

Best of the Best

Cazadores Spicy Margarita

A bartender once told me if they wanted a drink to sell, they’d just muddle some jalapeno into it. There’s just something about a cocktail with a touch of heat that keeps people coming back for more. And the spicy Margarita in particular is having a real moment. This canned Margarita has great spice—it has that grassy jalapeno pepper flavor and a level of heat that lets you know the pepper is there but won’t burn your lips. It is fizzy—something a Margarita rarely is—but that keeps it tasting fresh and crisp in the can. This is simply the best canned cocktail I tasted this year. Managing editor Gwynedd Stuart even said, “If I got this at a bar, I would be so happy.”

Credit: Liv Averett / Target

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

best canned cocktail: Long Drink

Best Citrusy

The Finnish Long Drink

If you want to drink like actor Miles Teller, this is the best canned cocktail for you. Teller, you see, is a huge fan of the Long Drink and one of the people responsible for spreading the word of the Finnish canned mixed drink amongst Americans. Who can blame him for wanting to get involved? This canned cocktail is delicious. Made with citrus soda, gin, and a hint of juniper berry, it’s essentially a spiked Fresca. It’s also a better take on a Gin & Tonic than most canned Gin & Tonics currently on the market. I’m all in on the original, but the company also offers a festive cranberry flavor along with Long Drink Zero, which has zero sugar and just 99 calories, and Long Drink Strong, which comes in at 8.5% ABV (3% higher than Long Drink Traditional).

Credit: Liv Averett / Walmart

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

best canned paloma: Cazadores Paloma

Best Paloma

Cazadores Paloma

If you poured this into a highball glass and added some ice and a grapefruit garnish, I would absolutely think a bartender made this Paloma. If you’re one of the many Paloma heads out here, you need to buy a pack of these canned cocktails ASAP. It’s zesty, it’s not too sweet, and it actually tastes like there’s tequila in there—good tequila. If you like both Margs and Palomas, I highly recommend getting the Cazadores Fiesta Pack, which includes the Paloma and the Spicy Margarita along with the standard Margarita, which didn’t make this list but is still quite good.

Credit: Liv Averett / Target

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

best canned bloody mary: Cutwater Spicy Bloody Mary

Best Bloody Mary

Cutwater Spicy Bloody Mary

It’s not difficult to make a Bloody Mary at home—simply Bloody Mary Mix (opt for one of the best Bloody Mary Mixes from our list) with some vodka. But these cans are the best canned cocktail for brunch on the go. Cutwater’s Bloody Mary cans are always at the top of my camping packing list and they’re also great for the beach. Or a hike. Or a fishing trip. Or a couple of steps out your front door. It’s rich and zesty and packed with umami flavors. It’s also the perfect level of thickness—somewhere between tomato juice and tomato soup. It’s the best canned Bloody Mary you can buy.

Credit: Liv Averett / Drizly

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best canned cocktail: Hochstadter's Slow & Low Rock and Rye

Best Nightcap

Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock and Rye

Back in the 1800s, this mix of rock candy and rye whiskey was sold as a cure-all. Unfortunately, all it really cured was bad whiskey, which bartenders made more palatable by mixing with sugar and occasionally fruit. This modernized, ready-to-drink version, on the other hand, is made with quality rye (so it tastes even better than its predecessors), along with rock candy, raw honey, navel oranges, and Angostura bitters. It’s a lot like an Old Fashioned, but with a more honey and fruit-forward flavor. I try to keep a few of these extremely adorable canned cocktails in my fridge at all times for easy nightcaps.

Credit: Liv Averett / Total Wine

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best canned cocktails: Jameson Ginger & Lime

Best Whiskey Cocktail

Jameson Ginger & Lime

This canned cocktail smells like a Whiskey Ginger. It tastes like a Whiskey Ginger. It is, in fact, a Whiskey Ginger. So many canned cocktails are advertised as one thing but taste like another. Jameson has kept things simple, creating a canned version of one of the most popular drinks made with the distillery’s Irish whiskey. But the thing that took it over the top and made it one of the best canned cocktails is the ginger—it’s spicy. This isn’t a Whiskey Ginger Ale, it’s a Whiskey Ginger Beer. Yum.

Credit: Liv Averett / Target

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best canned cocktails: Five Drinks Variety Pack

Best Craft Cocktail

Five Drinks Variety Pack

Five Drinks Co.’s goal: Make the best canned cocktails with just five ingredients. Each cocktail in this mixed pack tastes like a craft drink. Each one also has a twist. The Daiquiri, for instance, is made with pineapple and a spiced syrup. The Margarita includes hibiscus and habanero. The Moscow Mule contains tamarind and coconut water. And the Mojito is a passion fruit Mojito. These cans are smaller but they pack more of a punch than most of the drinks on this list, coming in a 9% ABV.

Credit: Liv Averett / Total Wine

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best canned cocktail: Golden Rule Old Fashioned

Best Strong

Golden Rule Old Fashioned

Golden Rule mixed bourbon, aromatic bitters, orange, and cane sugar in a teeny can, and I’m so glad they did. It seems simple. It seems like a no-brainer. But a ready-to-drink Old Fashioned is a great idea. And Golden Rule executed the cocktail perfectly—it’s strong (39.5% ABV), it’s sweet, it’s nuanced. And the best part? I don’t have to make simple syrup or muddle bitters with sugar. “Who wants to make an Old Fashioned?” Gwynedd commented. “This is great.”

Credit: Liv Averett / Total Wine

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

best canned cocktail: Dogfish Head Vodka Crush Blood Orange and Mango

Best Tropical

Dogfish Head Vodka Crush Blood Orange and Mango

Dogfish Head is primarily known for their somewhat experimental beers (they also make one of the best pumpkin beers). But the Delaware brewery also owns a distillery where they make out-of-the-box spirits like Roasted Peanut Vodka, Palo Santo Whiskey, and Punkin Liqu\eur, as well as standard gin, vodka, and whiskey. Their lineup of “Culinary-Crafted Cocktails” are just the latest addition to their boozy lineup. And while we liked some of the other ones, this vodka-spiked blood orange and mango drink was our favorite. There’s tons of fruity mango on the nose, and the drik itself is very tangy with lots of fresh citrusy zest. It’s the best canned cocktail for a beach trip—not too sweet, not too boozy (7%), and appropriately tropical.

Credit: Liv Averett / Drizly

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

best canned margarita: Cutwater Pineapple Margarita

Best Pool Drink

Cutwater Pineapple Margarita

Cutwater was one of the first widely available canned cocktail brands on the market. And while I will forever be sad that my favorite of their offerings (the wonderfully cucumbery Gin & Tonic) is nearly impossible to find, I appreciate how much they’ve grown and how many cocktails they have canned (Long Island Iced Tea? White Russian? Cosmo??). Within that lineup is a selection of Margarita flavors that are impressive in their own right. And out of those Margarita flavors, the pineapple is the best. Unlike Cazadores, Cutwater does not carbonate their Margaritas. So this tastes more like a traditional take on the cocktail, albeit with less of a distinct tequila flavor. “Like pineapple upside down cake,” Gwynedd noted. I like to add a splash of lime to this can. With that little addition, it’s one of the best canned mixed drinks to sip poolside.

Credit: Liv Averett / Total Wine

Rating:

7/10

Sporks

Other canned cocktails we tried: Cazadores Margarita, Cutwater Strawberry Margarita, Cutwater Peach Margarita, Bombay Sapphire Gin & Tonic, Tanqueray Classic Gin & Tonic, Dogfish Head Gin Crush Lemon & Lime, Dogfish Head Vodka Lemonade Strawberry & Honeyberry, Dogfish Head Vodka Soda Blueberry Shrub, Cutwater Long Island Iced Tea, Cutwater White Russian, Cutwater Cosmopolitan

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About the Author

Justine Sterling

Justine Sterling is the editor-in-chief of Sporked. She has been writing about food and beverages for well over a decade and is an avid at-home cook and snacker. Don’t worry, she’s not a food snob. Sure, she loves a fresh-shucked oyster. But she also will leap at whatever new product Reese’s releases and loves a Tostitos Hint of Lime, even if there is no actual lime in the ingredients.

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  • Post Meridiem cocktails, they’re not quite as good as what you could mix on your own, but they’re better than you can get at a bar that water downs their drinks. The major downside is limited selection and theyre on the pricier side compared to similar products, but the abv is pretty close to what they should be when mixed instead of much lower like most cans additionally they’re transparent as to what products they’re using in the cocktail. All things considered they’re an easy choice for premixed cocktails.

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