Convenience is king. And contrary to what you’ve seen with the likes of frozen dinners and cake mixes, it doesn’t always have to come at the expense of quality. The bottled cocktail is one of the best products to come out of the obsession with making everything as quick and easy as it is delicious. It may not as groundbreaking as a microwavable meal, but golly if it doesn’t save thirsty cocktailians just as much time as a prepackaged meal, and taste just as good as any other drink. Here are five stellar bottled cocktails that require you to do two things to enjoy: Pour over ice, and drink.
Made by Utah-based distillery High West, this barrel-aged and bottled Manhattan is as good as any cocktail you’d whip up at home. Made from rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters that have all rested in an oak barrel for a month and a half, it’s named for Utah’s role as the 36th deciding vote to end Prohibition in 1933. It might be a bit pricey, but you’ll get more than six four-ounce cocktails out of it, which you’d easily pay upwards of $80 for at a bar (not including tip). Keep it in the fridge or freezer, and serve it neat or over a big cube of ice—all you have to do is decide between orange zest or brandied cherry for garnish.
Summertime is tequila time as far as we’re concerned, but we don’t always want to take the time to make a pitcher of Margaritas. That’s where this easy Paloma comes in handy. Created by talented bartender and entrepreneur Charles Joly, this cocktail is one in a line of expertly made, pre-bottled drinks that marries convenience with craft. Rim a glass with salt, fill it with ice, and pour your fill of tequila, grapefruit and lime cocktail over top. Whether you want a big helping or a just a nip, you’ll find a palate-pleasing answer with this Paloma.
Making Martinis at home is often challenging for a number of reasons—spoiled vermouth chief among them. Instead, enjoy a Martini created by one of the world’s top bartenders. Ryan Chetiyawardana, the brains behind London cocktail bars White Lyan and Dandelyan (which recently won the title of World’s Best Cocktail Bar), has his own line of bottled cocktails. You could sip a glass filled with his Manhattan, Spritz or Old Fashioned creations, but we recommend reaching for the Spotless Martini, made with a base of gin. Keep it in the freezer for an ultra crisp pour, and then garnish with an olive, lemon twist or cocktail onion—whatever strikes your fancy.
There’s no denying that a Negroni is one of the easier cocktails to make a home. The equal blend of Campari, sweet vermouth and gin only requires a jigger, a glass and some ice. But once a Negroni has had some time to sit in a bottle, its flavors blend in a surprising—and delicious—way. Part of that is The Handmade Cocktail Company’s decision to use a blend of vermouths rather than a single one, which contributes to the final bottled product’s fruity, spiced qualities. Plus, this bottle of Negroni is essentially five cocktails for the price of two—not a bad deal for the Negroni-loving crowd.
If you’re not a self-proclaimed cocktail nerd, you might not be familiar with rock and rye’s long history. Essentially, “rock and rye” refers to a blend of rock candy syrup and rye whiskey that was popular during the 1800s as a way to cover up the unpleasant flavor of harsh, poorly made hooch. But fortunately, those days are long past. Hochstadter’s take on the century old drink goes down easy and isn’t trying to cover anything up. Instead, it’s more like a bottled Old Fashioned that’s sweetened with honey, flavored with a little orange and aromatic bitters, and sweetened with a bit of rock candy. As the brand says, it “don’t need no fixin’.” Just pour it over ice and enjoy to the last delightfully boozy drop. Better yet? It even comes in a can for the times a bottle just won’t do.