The Best Canned Cocktails to Drink This Summer

From bloody marys to mules, these cocktails require no bartender.

canned cocktails
Cole Saladino/Thrillist
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Nothing says summer like lazy days camped out in the sun with an ice cold drink in one hand and a book in the other. But the process of taking out a cocktail shaker, blender, or even all the right glasses to make a drink really hinders the vision of a (literally) effortless day. Bitters, herbs, and fruit peels take time to prepare, and the fresh citrus juice needed for good margaritas can turn a fun day outside into a second degree burn.

This is why the invention of ready-to-drink cocktails is so appealing: you get the booze you want with the crack of a can, no additional steps necessary. Not only that, but drinks are portable: perfect for picnics, beach days, and concerts in the park or sheltering in place at home on your couch. To help you further enjoy your summer plans, we found the some of the best canned cocktails you need to stock your fridge or cooler with ASAP.

Cardinal Spirits’ Bramble Mule

The bramble mule from Cardinal Spirits is a fruity and refreshing twist on a classic mule, made with vodka and enhanced with fresh raspberries, hibiscus, and spicy ginger. It’s sweet but tart, and the ginger isn't subtle -- but that is a good thing. If something is marketed as a mule, I definitely want that excessive ginger bite, and this can has it. Pour this purple cocktail over ice or drink it straight from the can, no copper mug required. And if you’re looking for a mule that has a bit more of a tropical flair, a close runner up is Cardinal Spirits’ Maui mule, which contains passionfruit and is surprisingly tart and fragrant.

Virtue Cider’s Mezzo Spritz

Virtue Cider’s Mezzo Spritz is the ideal daytime cocktail and a welcomed alternative to wine spritzers. It’s low in ABV (3.5% to be exact) but still refreshing and mild enough to have alongside a light lunch. The Mezzo Spritz is made from a blend of hard cider, sparkling water, and natural botanicals. The cocktail isn’t very sweet or tart; it has a hint of blood orange and a sourness from the fermented apples, but it mostly feels like drinking a delicate, bubbly beverage.

Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock & Rye

If you like whiskey, this canned cocktail is perfect for you. Made from a rye whiskey paired with raw honey, rock candy, and navel oranges, it’s undoubtedly sweet -- but also boozy. The tiny can boasts a super high ABV at 42% (for context, that’s more than Grey Goose vodka, which stands at 40%), so it’s definitely something to sip on slowly, or mix with some bitters. An added bonus: it comes in the cutest, tiniest can, making it portable and easy to throw in a day bag!

Cutwater Spirits’ Spicy Bloody Mary

Mimosas should just move aside because bloody marys are the true ruler of brunch drinks. Cutwater Spirits does it right -- their bloody mary blend is genuinely spicy, savory, and full of that bright tomato flavor that is expected of this cocktail. If you’re someone who craves intense heat when it comes to cocktails advertised as spicy, just know that this canned concoction delivers on that promise -- and doesn’t need mini sliders, strips of bacon, or fried chicken wings sticking out of it to be a successful bloody mary.

The caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail, ideal for those with a sweet tooth and prefer a more sugary drink. After all, it’s made with Brazil’s national spirit, cachaça, which is distilled from fermented sugar cane juice, and includes lime juice and sugar. The passion fruit and lime in this canned version add a little bit of tartness to balance out all the sweet, and the bubbles make for a crisp beverage. If passion fruit isn’t your thing, there’s also a mango flavor, as well as original, which features notes of lime.

Pampelonne’s Watermelon Americano

If real life worked like fantasies, it would be mandatory to sip this sparkling wine cocktail on a yacht somewhere while being hand fed berries or something luxurious like that. Unfortunately, for most people access to a yacht is limited, however, access to this delightful tasting spritzer is not. Unlike traditional americanos, which are composed of bitters, vermouth, and club soda, this watermelon americano contains watermelon (duh), meyer lemon, and Thai basil married in a sparkling wine base. The watermelon flavor isn’t too exaggerated, so if you’re worried about the drink being too sweet or candy-like, don’t be. The sweet-and-sour flavor of meyer lemon really comes through and pairs nicely with the herbaceous note of basil, making for a balanced and airy summer beverage.

Cocktail Squad’s Margarita

Summer is not complete without margaritas and Cocktail Squad’s version is the best canned one we’ve come across. It finds that sweet spot of infusing tequila with the bright flavor of lime and a punch of salt -- not too sweet, not too acidic, and not too boozy. If you’re thirsting for a margarita but don’t want to bust out the shaker or the blender, this version tastes like its fresh from a bartender, but requires no tipping.

Loverboy's spritz is pure fun. The flavors of peach and mango are abundant, but not cloyingly so. This canned cocktail is effervescent, fruity, and possesses the tiniest bit of spice on the nose (in fact, as a michelada enthusiast, I almost wish it packed a little more heat). Whether you're picnicking in the park or spending a sunny afternoon on a porch, this is what I would ideally reach for.

10 Barrel Brewing Co.'s Pineapple Serrano Margarita

This is for those of you who want to change up your margarita routine. Sometimes, classic lime isn't cutting it anymore. Enter 10 Barrel's Pineapple Serrano Margarita, a revamped version of a margarita that is equal parts sweet and spicy. You get the tropical notes from the pineapple, tongue-tingling spice from the Serrano, and plenty of booziness from tequila. 

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Kat Thompson is a staff food writer at Thrillist. She’s on Twitter @katthompsonn.