The Margarita is an elusive beast. The cocktail is refreshing when made à la minute with fresh lime juice, but beverage makers have yet to replicate that crisp citrus flavor in a prepackaged drink, something that would finally match the laid-back attitude of the easy summer sipper. Science just can’t seem to replicate real lime flavor, and many packaged Margaritas of old just taste like fake citrus. But with the recent surge in canned cocktails, we had hoped refreshing, quaffable canned Margaritas would finally become a reality.
And they did—to an extent. Our favorite new canned Margs are delicious, sweet without too much faux lime, and totally crushable. They just don’t really taste like Margaritas, per se. Still, they make wonderful grab and go beverages, and an utter relief when squeezing a ton of limes just seems like too much work. Here are the ones to try.
If you judge all canned cocktails on smell alone, Cutwater Lime Margarita is the clearest expression of a real Margarita, as it’s the only one that actually smells like tequila. That tequila comes through when you sip it as well, with luscious and grassy notes coming through beneath the sweet lime flavor. Several tasters identified a clear taste of pea shoots—we chalk it up to an especially vegetal tequila—along with a salty bite, all of which is way better than it sounds. With a finish that lasts eons, the Cutwater Marg is worth your full attention.