Canned Cocktail Day: What Is a Canned Cocktail & How to Elevate Canned Cocktails

In an era where convenience reigns supreme, the world of mixology has evolved to meet the demands of our fast-paced lives. Enter the humble yet innovative canned cocktail. Today, we’re going to celebrate Canned Cocktail Day by imparting a little bit of knowledge to you. In this blog, we’ll answer a few questions about canned cocktails, including “what are canned cocktails,” “what are the best canned cocktails,” and “how can I elevate canned cocktails to make them better?” Let’s dive right in and get to the basics,

What Are Canned Cocktails?

Canned cocktails, in essence, are pre-mixed alcoholic beverages that come in a convenient, ready-to-drink format. These portable drinks are a testament to the evolution of cocktail culture, offering a hassle-free alternative to the traditional mixology experience. 

Inside the can or pouch, you’ll usually find a well-balanced blend of spirits, mixers, and flavors. The beauty of canned cocktails lies in their simplicity and consistency, allowing you to savor your favorite mixed drinks without the need for a bartending class. Whether it’s a classic like a Moscow Mule or an innovative fusion like a watermelon margarita, canned cocktails bring the bar to you, wherever you may be.

Canned Cocktail Day: When Is It?

International Canned Cocktail Day, also referred to as just Canned Cocktail Day, falls on September 10th every year. It’s the perfect day to pick up some canned cocktails and give them a try – especially if you’ve never tried them before. But be careful, you might fall in love with the convenience of simply cracking one open and sipping!

Is There Alcohol in Canned Cocktails?

Yes, canned cocktails typically contain alcohol. These ready-to-drink beverages are pre-mixed with alcoholic spirits, providing consumers with a convenient way to enjoy cocktails without the need for additional ingredients or mixing. The alcohol content in canned cocktails varies depending on the specific cocktail and brand, but they are explicitly labeled with their alcohol by volume (ABV) percentage, allowing consumers to make informed choices about their alcohol consumption.

It’s essential to check the label of any canned cocktail to determine its alcohol content, especially if you have specific preferences or limitations regarding alcohol consumption. Additionally, some brands offer low-alcohol or non-alcoholic versions of canned cocktails for those who prefer milder or alcohol-free options.

What Types of Canned Cocktails Are There?

Canned cocktails have surged in popularity, offering a diverse range of options to cater to various tastes and preferences. These convenient drinks cover a wide spectrum of flavors and spirits, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Here’s a brief rundown of the common types:

  • Classic Cocktails: Canned versions of timeless favorites like Margaritas, Mojitos, and Old Fashioneds provide a taste of tradition in a portable package.
  • Fruit-Infused Cocktails: Many canned cocktails incorporate fruit flavors such as watermelon, peach, or pineapple to create refreshing and vibrant drinks.
  • Hard Seltzers: These low-calorie, lightly flavored beverages have gained immense popularity, with options ranging from simple sparkling water with a hint of fruit to more complex flavors.
  • Craft Cocktails: Some brands offer artisanal, small-batch canned cocktails that mimic the quality and creativity found in craft cocktail bars.
  • Whiskey and Bourbon Cocktails: For those who prefer the rich, robust taste of whiskey or bourbon, there are canned versions of classics like the Whiskey Sour or the Kentucky Mule.
  • Vodka-Based Cocktails: Vodka serves as the base for various canned cocktails, including cosmopolitans, Moscow mules, and vodka sodas.
  • Tequila and Rum Cocktails: Canned options for tequila lovers include Palomas and Tequila Sunrises, while rum enthusiasts can enjoy piña coladas and daiquiris.
  • Canned Wine Cocktails: For wine aficionados, canned wine cocktails with combinations like rosé and elderflower or red wine and cola have gained traction.

It’s worth noting that the variety of canned cocktails continues to expand, driven by consumer demand for convenient, ready-to-drink options. As a result, the market offers an ever-increasing array of flavors and innovative combinations to explore. Check out your local supermarket or package store to see what they carry that you might like!

What Are the Best Canned Cocktails?

While the answer to this question is, of course, entirely subjective, there are certainly some brands that stand out from others. For example, you could expect a local brewery or distillery to make some of the best canned cocktails in your area. They will be fresher and most likely use local ingredients. However, if you don’t have a local distillery that produces canned cocktails, here are some great options:

Have a look at what’s in your local area with our by-state distillery directory. You might just find some of your new favorites in the canned cocktail scene!

What Are Canned Cocktails Packaged In?

Canned cocktails come in a variety of packaging materials, each offering its own set of advantages. Here’s an overview of the common packaging options:

Aluminum Cans

The most prevalent packaging for canned cocktails is aluminum cans. These cans are lightweight, durable, and provide an excellent barrier to light and oxygen, preserving the freshness and quality of the beverage. They are also easily recyclable, making them an eco-friendly choice.

Glass Bottles

Some premium canned cocktails are packaged in glass bottles. Glass offers a premium look and feel and does not impart any metallic taste to the beverage. However, glass bottles are heavier and more fragile than aluminum cans, making them less convenient for outdoor or on-the-go consumption.

Plastic Bottles

Less common but still used for some canned cocktails are plastic bottles. Plastic bottles are lightweight and shatterproof, making them suitable for outdoor events or situations where glass is prohibited. However, they may not preserve the beverage’s quality as effectively as aluminum cans.


A newer trend in canned cocktails is the use of pouches, often made of flexible plastic or foil. Pouches are lightweight and easy to transport, just like aluminum cans. They are also more environmentally friendly than some other packaging options, as they can reduce packaging waste.

Boxed Cocktails

Boxed cocktails consist of a box or carton containing multiple servings of the beverage, often with a built-in tap for easy pouring. This format is popular for larger gatherings or parties and can be more sustainable due to reduced packaging waste per serving.

Tetra Paks

Tetra Pak cartons are sometimes used for canned cocktails, particularly for those with lower alcohol content or non-alcoholic options. Tetra Paks are lightweight, recyclable, and provide good protection against light and oxygen.

Choosing a Packaging Material

It’s important to note that the choice of packaging material often reflects the brand’s marketing strategy, target audience, and the specific characteristics of the beverage. Consumers may select their preferred canned cocktail based on factors such as convenience, taste, and environmental concerns, all of which can be influenced by the packaging choice.

Canned Cocktails vs Mixed Drinks

The taste of canned cocktails compared to freshly mixed drinks is an important consideration for consumers seeking convenience without compromising flavor. Canned cocktails aim to replicate the flavors of traditionally mixed drinks to provide a convenient and consistent drinking experience. However, there are some key factors to keep in mind:

  • Consistency: Canned cocktails are designed to offer a consistent taste every time you crack open a can. This can be a significant advantage, especially when you want to enjoy your favorite cocktail without worrying about variations in bartender skills or ingredient quality.
  • Freshness: While canned cocktails are formulated to maintain their flavor and quality, they may not always capture the freshness of ingredients used in freshly mixed drinks. Freshly squeezed juices and garnishes, for example, can enhance the taste of a cocktail that might be challenging to replicate in a canned format.
  • Complexity: Some cocktails rely on intricate layering, muddling, or precise ratios of ingredients that can be difficult to reproduce in canned form. As a result, canned cocktails may simplify certain recipes to ensure a consistent taste, potentially leading to a less complex flavor profile compared to handcrafted versions.
  • Variety: Canned cocktails come in a wide range of flavors and styles, but there aren’t endless options like you’ll find at a traditional bar.
  • Alcohol Content: The alcohol content in canned cocktails is typically standardized and labeled, ensuring that consumers are aware of the exact strength of the drink. In contrast, bartender-made cocktails can vary in alcohol content, depending on factors like pour size and spirit selection.
  • Packaging: The packaging, particularly the material of the can or bottle, can influence the taste of a canned cocktail. Some materials may impart a subtle metallic taste to the beverage, although modern packaging methods aim to minimize this effect.

How to Elevate Canned Cocktails for a Mixed Drink Experience

Elevating canned cocktails for a mixed drink experience involves enhancing their taste and presentation without compromising their convenience. Here are several different considerations you can employ if you’d like to take your canned cocktail to the next level without having a full at-home bar selection

#1: Chill Properly

Just like any other cocktail, canned cocktails benefit from being served cold. Ensure they are well-chilled before consumption. You can even keep them in the refrigerator or a cooler for a refreshing experience.

#2: Garnish Creatively

Elevate the visual and flavor appeal of your canned cocktail by adding garnishes. Citrus slices, fresh herbs, or even a cocktail umbrella can make a canned drink feel more like a crafted cocktail.

#3: Use the Right Glassware

Pour your canned cocktail into an appropriate glass. Using the right glass can enhance the drinking experience. For example, serve a Moscow Mule in a copper mug or a margarita in a salt-rimmed glass.

#4: Add Fresh Ingredients and Customize to Taste

If you have access to fresh ingredients, consider adding them to your canned cocktail. A squeeze of fresh lime or a sprig of mint can elevate the taste and aroma. Adjust the canned cocktail to your preferred taste. You can add ice if you like your drinks extra cold, or a touch of simple syrup to sweeten them to your liking.

#5: Get Creative

Remember, the goal is to enhance the canned cocktail experience to match your preferences. While canned cocktails offer convenience, creative touches can make them feel more like handcrafted mixed drinks, ensuring a great drinking experience.

Where Can I Find Canned Cocktails?

Aside from checking your local grocery store and liquor store, you might be able to find a distillery near you that crafts their own canned cocktails. To see what’s in your local area, check out our by-state distillery directory. Through each distillery’s page, you can check out the hours, products, and more. So, what are you waiting for? See what distilleries are near you – today!

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