The canned cocktail is a vastly underrated drink. Requiring zero effort or fancy bar gear, canned drinks can taste just as delicious as their freshly made counterparts—plus, they’re inconspicuous, making them ideal for beach drinking. While we’ve begun to embrace the can for craft beer and even wine, people still think of artificially flavored booze-water like Bud Light Lime-A-Ritas as the main genre of canned cocktail. But thanks to a new generation of craft distilleries that are starting to put their own spin on cocktails using artisan ingredients and small-batch booze, canned cocktails are perfect for your summer drinking needs. Pick up one (or six) of these aluminum beauties and make your warm-weather drinking plans easier and tastier.
If you want to enjoy the simple pleasures of a cold, spiked lemonade, there’s never a need to subject yourself to Mike’s Hard. Fishers Island Lemonade, a can of whisky- and vodka-spiked lemonade sweetened with honey, is the “crème de la crème” of this premixed summertime standard. Besides coming in a beautifully retro-looking can, this cocktail is straight-up classic—the recipe comes from Fishers Island’s sole bar at the Pequot Inn, where they’ve been serving this lemonade for 100 years.
Started by the beer wizards behind San Diego brewery Ballast Point, Cutwater Spirits makes high-quality, craft spirits for simple canned cocktails. Their line of cans range from a spicy ginger-beer and rum to a gin and tonic infused with crisp cucumber and grapefruit. Looking for something for the perfect brunch sip? Their Bloody Mary made with Fugu vodka will have you cursing all the times you settled for a watery, tomato sodium-bomb instead.
In terms of small-batch, it doesn’t get much smaller than Can Can. This canned cocktail startup out of Sacramento, California came to life via Kickstarter and only produces about 3000 cans per batch. Can Can’s latest batch, the White Linen, is made by vodka with fresh cucumbers, elderflower, lemon and gin botanics for the perfectly light summer cocktail. If that’s not your jam, the boozy Boar’s Bourbon spiked root beer is enough to make anyone’s inner kid squeal with glee.
Delicate French wines are the base of these super chic-looking (and delicious) canned cocktails by Pampelonne. While the Rosé lime with passion fruit, kaffir lime and ruby-red grapefruit notes is a best-seller, we’re partial to their French 75. With bergamot, Meyer lemon and aromatic juniper, the cocktail will have you feeling all sorts of fancy. Even better? They’re low-calorie, low-carb and gluten-free—so they’re basically good for you.
Hochstadter’s Slow and Low Rock & Rye
Hochstadter’s gift to the world of canned cocktails comes in the form of a high-proof cocktail in a 100ml can for the optimum clandestine boozing experience. For the classic dry Rock & Rye, aged straight rye whiskey gets mixed with honey, rock candy, a citrusy blast of air-dried navel oranges and a dash of angostura bitters. If they’re smaller, that means you just have to bring more, right? Right.
The Radler is a cocktail named after the German word for “cyclist”—aka those who needed a lighter drink so they could still bike home after imbibing. Austrian brewery Steigl takes theirs up a notch by mixing their famous goldenbraü with fresh grapefruit juice for a low-alcohol cocktail that you could happily drink all day long without worrying about getting too tipsy.
Novo Fogo Caipirinha
In Brazil, Caipirinhas are what makes summer, summer. Even if you’re stuck in your apartment, channel some South American beach vibes with this sparkling version by Novo Fogo. Made with little else but high-quality cachaça, lime and sugar, this effervescent drink is the perfect sip to get you in the summertime spirit.
Interboro Gin & Tonic
NYC’s first brewery and distillery, Interboro just took the title of the first craft canned cocktail out of the state. Mixing house-made, Dutch-style gin infused with angelica root, black pepper and lemon peel with a bright citrusy tonic, Interboro Spirits and Ales' take on the G&T is the classic cocktail lover’s summer dream.
Sangria is arguably the ultimate summer drink. But from cutting up the fruit to letting all the flavors marinate, it’s not necessarily the easiest to make or transport. Thankfully, Portland Sangria has found a way to fit all that deliciousness into one can. Made entirely from wines grown in Oregon’s Willamette valley, Portland Sangria makes sangria as accessible as they do interesting by incorporating flavors like loganberry, ginger and blueberry.
This article originally appeared in Foodandwine.com