Summer is here, and as you pack bags and coolers for hikes, camping and socially distant barbecues, try a little something different than beer or hard seltzer: a canned cocktail. While this trend started a few years ago, canned cocktails are bigger than ever, with distilleries, restaurants and independent producers creating tasty mixed drinks for your portable pleasure. The range runs from simple gin and tonics to complex recipes showing the mastery of professional cocktail slingers. These seven brands are crafting tasty drinks for your summer drinking needs, whether you're on the go or grabbing one from the fridge.
Abbott & Wallace Distilling350 Terry Street, Longmont
Abbott & Wallace Distilling (formerly Longtucky Spirits) started canning cocktails last year and now offers four drinks with gorgeous, gold-lined labels. The booze comes right from the distillery, with Lusca Spiced Rum in the powerful Caribbean Queen along with elderflower, ginger and lemon; Alpine Dry Gin in the floral-tinged Gina Tonic, a take on the gin and tonic with added spruce tips; bourbon in the Longtucky Julep, which has a prominent mint backbone and sweetness from maple syrup; and the Steamboat Spritz, a sweet, easy-to-drink blend of the distillery's Amaro Arancia (a bitter orange liqueur) and sauvignon blanc grape juice. All are carbonated and run $6 for a single and $20 for a four-pack. Pick some up directly from the Longmont distillery or order from its website. Each 12-ounce can is the equivalent of two cocktails, making it a happy summer sipper, indeed.
Denver-based Candid Cocktails was one of the first to market canned cocktails in the city, and the four flavors offered still hold up. Choose from gin with mint, grapefruit and lime juice; vodka with black tea, lemonade and thyme; bourbon with lemon, Colorado-made apple cider, honey and ginger; and vodka with elderflower, cucumber, mint and lime juice. They're light and refreshing, with soft, herbal nuances and no strong booze taste. Drink them very cold — on ice or straight out of a river-chilled can. Buy a four-pack of 12-ounce cans for $17.99 at liquor stores in the metro area or order delivery from Candid's website.
Grab a cold 12-ounce can of Cocktail Squad's gin and tonic, vodka soda, whiskey sour, bourbon smash, margarita or Greyhound, and sip one of these simple and balanced cocktails wherever you wish. Created by Lauren and John Maggio in Boulder in 2018, this brand is all about providing a quick and easy way to get a good drink in customers' hands. Buy it at liquor stores all over the Front Range for around $20 per four-pack. A single can easily quenches the thirst of two drinkers. Pour over ice and garnish with lemon or lime for extra flair, or enjoy straight from the container if you don't feel like sharing.
Il Posto2601 Larimer Street
When Denver went into shutdown mode, RiNo restaurant Il Posto started offering takeout — of both its food and fan-favorite cocktails. Rather than sending you home with plastic cups, the restaurant purchased a canner to make things easier for drinking later. The first was the Boulevardier, but Il Posto now offers a Paloma, a lavender lemon (vodka) soda, an Aperol spritz and more. The mixes change once a batch sells out, so it's best to check on Il Posto's social media for an updated menu. Sometimes there's also a poll on which cocktails to can, so you can vote for your favorite. Each 11-ounce container runs $9 and can be purchased at the eatery.
The Infinite Monkey Theorem3200 Larimer Street
The Infinite Monkey Theorem winery is known for canning well-made wines, but it also has the ultimate brunch option: a bellini. The winery makes this carbonated drink with riesling blended with Palisade peach juice and a dash of sugar. This sparkling peach cocktail proves perfect for easy morning crushing, or any time you want something fruity, bubbly and fresh. The bellinis come in four-packs of 250-milliliter cans for $14.99. Find them in liquor stores around town, as well as at the RiNo winery.
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Lee Spirits303 CO-105, Palmer Lake
Colorado Springs distiller Lee Spirits has been expanding its lineup, which now includes seasonal cocktails in cans. Currently the distillery is dishing out lavender lemonade and strawberry lemonade, both made with lemonade and its own flavored gins, lavender and strawberry, respectively. They taste great right from the can or poured over ice; just remember that each 12-ounce can equals two cocktails. The distillery is also adding whiskey lemonade and a spicy Gin Fuego lemonade, so look for those soon. Each four-pack runs about $12 and can be found at Lee Spirits and at retail shops in Colorado Springs and Denver, or at the distillery's speakeasy, Brooklyn's on Boulder Street, at 110 East Boulder Street in Colorado Springs.
Slalom Fox Cocktails
Made in Longmont, Slalom Fox Cocktails pack a lot of tasty booze into 12-ounce cans. There are four carbonated cocktails to choose from: Bourbon Revival, with bourbon, lemon juice and black current; Vodka Collins, with lemon juice and a hint of thyme; Whiskey Mule, made with ginger and lime juice; and the refreshing Gin Spritz, with grapefruit, lime and rosemary. They're straightforward and well balanced, so be careful, because it's easy to down a whole can. Find four-packs of each flavor in local liquor stores for around $19.