Advertisement
Drinks

21 Extremely Tasty, Very Portable Canned Cocktails

Okay, *some* are in bottles. But all are pre-made—and picnic worthy.
21 Extremely Tasty, Very Portable Canned Cocktails

Historically speaking, truly great cocktails, be they made in a friend’s kitchen or at an excellent cocktail bar, have lacked in one quality—portability. Some smart producers across Canada (and elsewhere) have been working on the problem lately and we’re happy to say that, this summer, the dream of bar-quality cocktails on-the-go is a lot closer to being realized. Best of all, some of the best ones are actually non-alcoholic.

Have cans, will travel. Here are 21 innovative and/or popular brands available in Canada.

The Gin Is In!

A bottle of duchess French 75 bottled premixed cocktail, yellow, sitting next to a champagne flute filled with the drink and topped with a lemon twist on a tray beside a napkin reading duchess (Photo: Laura Orrego)

Named after the founder’s cocker spaniel, this woman-owned cocktail company has really managed to raise the bar when it comes to ready-to-drink options. Simply put, the French 75 tastes like a real cocktail made with actual gin, lemon and sparkling wine, which is a very good thing. We also tasted the brand's cosmo, lemon drop, cucumber spritz and gin fizz and all were dry, refreshing and clearly made with integrity.

Available at BC Liquor, some private retailers and direct from Duchess; $24 for four 280-mL bottles.

A green can with a tennis-themed illustration reading Southside Fizz by Aloette lying on its side beside another can surrounded by limes, some of them cut
Advertisement

A few years ago, it was exceedingly difficult to find a canned cocktail that could pass for something made at a bar with fresh ingredients. This zesty and dry gin-lime-mint-cucumber fizz is more proof that the ready-to-drink category has finally arrived.

Available at the LCBO; $2.95 for 355 mL.

Three cans of violette pamplemousse canned cocktail next to a coupe filled with the purply cocktail on a wood table next to a sprig of blue flowers

Given that Distillerie Mariana’s Violette gin is an exceptionally floral number, it’s hardly surprising that the canned cocktail based on it is also delicious. The gin manages to shine through this light and refreshing seven percent mix, which finishes up on a candied ruby red grapefruit note. Mariana also makes an amaretto fizz, which is a bit sweet and probably best saved for after dinner.

Available at the SAQ; $15.20 for four 350-mL cans.

Cans of strawberry rhubarb with lime gin cocktails from Dillon's in a metal bucket of ice
Advertisement

Whether it’s bottled Negronis or its cans of fruity soda, Dillon’s has been putting out some delicious pre-made cocktails over the past few years. Its new Strawberry Rhubarb, popping with sweet flavour but still managing to stay on the dry side is destined to be yet another hit in the line-up.

Available from Dillon’s, $3.25 for 473 mL.

A can of Reid's gin and tonic, blue, lying on its side on a table next to a bottle of gin and a slice of orange

No surprise that family-owned Reid’s Distillery, a local favourite in Toronto, makes a first-rate canned G&T that tastes just like it should—peppery and fresh, with plenty of juniper. Incidentally, the good folks at Reid’s have mixed their classic London Dry with a premium tonic made by 1642, a Canadian company that’s poised to give imported fancy tonics a serious run for their money.

Advertisement

Available at the LCBO: $3.25 for 355 mL.

A bottle of highball pink gin and tonic next to a squeezed lime and a fruit-filled glass of pink drink

Highball Alcohol-Free Pink G&T

There are very few non-alcoholic drinks that truly make me think I could give up cocktails altogether but Highball’s offerings are every bit as good as a “real” mixed drink. My favourite is the Pink Gin and Tonic, but the Classic G&T is also superb. The company also makes an Italian spritz, a cosmo, a mojito and a Ginger Dram that might just replace Moscow Mules in my life.

Available at various retailers, well.ca and Gourmet Trading Company; four 250-mL bottles for $21.99.

Four cans of fin soda aperitivo on a white background

Fin Soda Aperitivo

Advertisement

Mel Aumais, one of the founders of this Montreal company, is a talented former bartender with a killer palate, evidenced by Fin Soda Aperitivo, a non-alcoholic cocktail that is seriously every bit as good as a full-strength fizzy aperitivo you might order in a proper cocktail bar. Fin Soda also makes two other alcohol-free cocktails: A dry and herbaceous Lemon Verbena and a Haskap cocktail that’s full of rich ripe berry goodness.

Available online at Fin Soda; 12 250-mL cans for $55.

A stack of Opus peach bellini canned cocktails next to the pink drink in champagne glasses

Light pink and sparkly, this non-alcoholic, gluten-free drink is fresh and bright and sweetened with stevia. This Alberta company also makes an Aperitif Spritz and a G&T and, any day now, it will be releasing some fresh new flavours for summer.

Available at retailers across the country and can also be ordered directly; four 356-mL cans for $17.49.

The Vodka Soda Reinvention Tour

A four-pack of Gradient canned cocktails
Advertisement

Gradient Bright Night Vodka Soda Pack

Although our favourite drink from Calgary’s Gradient is definitely Transfusion, a bright and fresh grape and ginger ale cocktail, we’d be remiss not to mention that the company’s Bright Night four-pack is pretty brilliant. Each of the vodka sodas has a different alcohol level—seven, six, four and, finally, three percent alcohol, so you can gradually reduce your alcohol consumption (all the while sampling new flavours, from cucumber mint to blood orange), so that you can stay in the sweet spot.

Available in Alberta and British Columbia (at varying prices) or from Gradient; four 355-mL cans for $12.99.

A can of vice smash cocktail on a white background

Vice Smash

Made in Toronto, where they know something about punishingly humid summers, this gluten-free, low-sugar five percent vodka cocktail is exactly what you want to drink on a hot, sticky day. It’s dry, with a light fizz flavoured with pomegranate, ginger and cranberry.

Advertisement

Available at the LCBO; 355 mL for $2.95.

A case of Vizzy hard seltzer

Vizzy Hard Seltzer Mimosa Pomegranate Orange, 5%

Super tart, intensely fruity and sweetened with stevia, Vizzy is not subtle. Nor is it likely to pass for a proper mimosa. Made by Molson Coors, this line of fruit-forward hard seltzers is available in most markets in Canada and comes in a range of flavours, the best of which is probably pomegranate orange.

Available at stores in most provinces, including the Manitoba Liquor Mart; 12 355-mL cans for $29.98.

Benefitting Furry Friends (BFF) Peach Vodka Soda

Advertisement

If you’re into sugar-free vodka sodas, you might as well be drinking this one, which has a touch of that sweet Del Monte fruit cup flavour, five percent alcohol and sees a cut of sales sent to Ontario animal shelters. Also comes in Blackberry.

Available at the LCBO; 355 mL for $2.80.

Wine, Sake and Beer Cocktails

Two bottles of Nova 7 cocktail, purple, next to pink drinks with an orange slice

Wine cocktails? From Nova Scotia’s acclaimed Benjamin Bridge winery? This might be the good news story we’ve desperately needed. The Super Nova 7 Cocktail is made with wine, grape juice and bubbles, so it’s sort of a juicy spritzer that clocks in at 15 percent. Those looking for something a little lighter should order up the Wild Piquette, a dry and delicious five percent alcohol snack with a hit of salinity that would pair well with lunch.

Available at the NSLC; 200 mL for $9.99 or direct from the winery.

Billion Trillion sake fizz cocktails
Advertisement

In a world full of hard seltzers and vodka sodas, Billion Trillion’s Sake Fizz offerings are a totally welcome change. The six percent package promises a voyage into a “good time galaxy” and the tangy, light and dry fizz inside truly delivers. Also comes in Mandarin Yuzu and Mango Yuzu, the latter of which is our top choice, especially if you shake it gently before serving.

Available at private retailers in B.C. and Alberta; 355 mL for $4.

two cans of Guiness cold brew coffee on a wood table

This Guinness Cold Brew is the mash-up we didn’t know we needed. With only a touch of bitterness and all the creaminess that we associate with both Guinness beer and cold brew, this is a smart, relatively low in alcohol (four percent), late-afternoon compromise between iced coffee and a beer. Bring it on.

Advertisement

Available in most provincial liquor stores, including the ANBL; four 440-mL cans for $17.29.

Tequila (and Tequila-esque)

A case of long river ranch water

We’re calling it: Ranch Water is the official canned drink of summer. This one hails from Texas and absolutely has a certain charm, thanks to its light salinity, agave syrup and citrus twang, which mostly makes up for the fact that it’s tequila-free.

Available in several markets, including Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario; prices vary.

a can of Wyatt rose ranch water on top of a cowboy hat

Georgian Bay Mango Tequila Smash and Wyatt Rose Ranch Water

This Ontario company deserves a lot of credit for being way ahead of the curve with a natural-tasting gin RTD cocktail, the Gin Smash, some seven summers ago. Now it's breaking new ground with a five percent mango-tequila concoction that’s pretty great, as well as its new Wyatt Rose Ranch Water Mexican Lime, a best-selling tequila soda made with actual tequila.

Advertisement

Both available at the LCBO; six 355-mL cans Mango Tequila Smash; $14.20; one 355-mL can Ranch Water; $2.85.

Cutwater tequila can

There’s a lot of buzz around Cutwater, a California company that promises bar-quality canned cocktails. We tried three—the margarita, the paloma and the mojito—and there’s no question they’re all tasty, largely owing to the fact that they’re not too sweet and are made with real ingredients, such as cane sugar and actual tequila, as opposed to agave flavour and neutral grain spirits. Gentle warning: The paloma and the mojito go down a little too easily, which, at seven percent, could quickly become an issue on a hot summer afternoon.

Available at the LCBO; 355 mL for $3.80.

Cazadpores canned palomas
Advertisement

No complaints whatsoever about this delicious and straightforward paloma, made with real blanco tequila. It’s a solid buy, widely available, not too sweet and, if you’re looking to mix it up, we can vouch for Cazadores’ canned margarita as well.

Available at most provincial monopolies, including Manitoba Liquor Mart, four 355-mL cans for $12.99.

a can of rosemont mojito

Although it’s a little light on the mint, this canned, seven percent mojito from Montreal is dry, clear and has plenty of lime zest and citrus oil on the palate.

Available at the SAQ; four 355-mL cans for $18.20.

GET CHATELAINE IN YOUR INBOX!

Subscribe to our newsletters for our very best stories, recipes, style and shopping tips, horoscopes and special offers.

By signing up, you agree to our terms of use and privacy policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Advertisement
Advertisement