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12 best cocktail cans for summer sipping

From gin in a tin to canned cosmopolitans – these are the tipples to know

Daisy Lester
Wednesday 26 July 2023 17:29 BST
<p>They’re all about convenience</p>

They’re all about convenience

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Cocktail cans have experienced somewhat of a renaissance in recent years. From negronis to margaritas, all the best bar drinks have been bottled up for our enjoyment, wherever we are.

Increasing glamorisation (thank you, Fleabag), far more choice and exciting new brands breathing fresh life into the industry explain increasing consumer demand for these tasty tinnies. 

We’ve come a long way from supermarket G&Ts; now, distilleries, ex-bartenders and restaurants are all getting in on the action. From unique takes on sangria or margaritas to classic cosmopolitans or espresso martinis, brands such as Moth, Vacay and Whitebox are all making cocktail cans a decadent affair.

While they’re just as enjoyable poured over ice with a slice at home, much of the appeal lies in their portability – whether you’re packing for a festival, heading to a picnic in the park or down to the beach. Elevating your drinking experience without the need for four different mixers, simply pick your poison, chuck in your bag and you’re good to go.

How we tested

Considering flavour, quality, value, ingredients and the originality of the mix, we tasted offerings from leading brands, supermarkets and start-ups during festivals, evenings at home and day drinking occasions. From pocket-sized spicy margs to a bar-worthy Bloody Mary, these are the canned cocktails to stock up on (and cool down with) this summer.

The best canned cocktails for 2023 are:

  • Best cocktail can overall – Pimentae Tommy’s spicy margarita, case of 8: £32, Pimentaedrinks.com
  • Best paloma cocktail can – M&S marksologist pink grapefruit paloma: £3.50, Ocado.com
  • Best margarita cocktail can – Moth margarita: £3.99, Waitrose.com
  • Best negroni cocktail can – Whitebox pocket negroni: £5, Shopcuvee.com 
  • Best gin and tonic cocktail can – Bombay Sapphire gin and tonic: £2.50, Tesco.com

Pimentae Tommy’s spicy margarita, case of 8

pimentae .jpg
  • Best: Cocktail can overall
  • ABV: 15%

Female-founded Pimentae has built an A-lister following, thanks to its pre-mixed cocktails that bottle up the feeling of summer. The mini serves are perfectly pocket-sized and blend Mexico’s finest flavours – tequila, lime, chili and agave – for a sweet and spicy kick.

Fans of Soho House’s picante will love Pimentae’s similarly zingy twist on the classic margarita. Whether starting or ending a party, the Tommy cocktail is as delicious as it is strong (be warned). Plus, it even comes in a 50cl bottle size (£29.99, Amazon.co.uk) that has you covered for hosting.

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Vacay Tom Collins canned cocktail, case of 12

vacay .jpg
  • Best: Refreshing cocktail can
  • ABV: 6.1%

Vacay’s cocktail cans taste just as good as they look. The range (£21.99 for a mixed pack, Haveavacay.com) includes margarita, palomas, vodka mules, mojitos, vodka orange soda and a Tom Collins (our favourite). All of Vacay’s cocktails are packaged in vibrant cans with playful illustrations – plus, the 330ml serving trumps most other offerings on the market.

A staple of beach clubs, country clubs and yacht clubs, the Tom Collins cocktail has its roots in 19th-century Manhattan – and Vacay has put a contemporary twist on the classic, with London dry gin, tangy Sicilian lemon juice, soda water and natural cane sugar. Refreshing, light and with a fairly high ABV, it’s the perfect chilled cocktail to sip during hot summer days.

  1. £35 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
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M&S marksologist pink grapefruit paloma

m&s .jpg
  • Best: Sweet cocktail can
  • ABV: 14%

The cans in M&S’s latest cocktail collection boast a high enough ABV for you to only need one or two to feel suitably merry. From the negroni to the espresso martini, it’s safe to say these little tins are strong. For something a little less heavy, opt for the paloma. Delivering a kick despite its small size, the 14 per cent cocktail is crafted from tequila, pink grapefruit liqueur, pink grapefruit juice and agave syrup with a lightly sparkling taste.

The sweetness of the grapefruit is balanced perfectly with the potent strength of the tequila. Perfect for packing into your bag for beach days or drinks in the park, M&S’s paloma is a holiday in a can.

  1. £3 from Ocado.com
Prices may vary
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Moth margarita

moth .jpg
  • Best: Margarita cocktail can
  • ABV: 14.9%

Moth (Mix Of Total Happiness) lives up to its name with its range of small but mighty cocktail cans. Our favourite has to be the margarita. Smooth tequila is mixed with triple sec and lime in this fresh and sharp tipple.

Just as good over ice at home as it is straight out of the can in a park, Moth’s take on the Mexican classic is premium tasting yet helpfully practical for summer socialising. At £3.99 a pop, it’s on the pricey end of the spectrum but still a fraction of the cost of a bar drink (and just as nice).

  1. £3 from Waitrose.com
Prices may vary
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Whitebox pocket negroni

pocket negroni .jpg
  • Best: Negroni cocktail can
  • ABV: 12.8%

Don’t be fooled by the cute packaging of Whitebox’s pocket negroni, as the 21.8 per cent ABV cocktail packs a mighty punch. Crafted from one part Porter’s gin, one part bitter aperitif and one part sweet vermouth, it’s throwing it back to the Italian cocktail’s no-frills roots.

As its name suggests, it’s ideal for popping in your pocket for summer occasions – tasting just as nice on the rocks with an orange peel garnish as it does straight out of the can. Delivering a strong kick despite the teeny size, its premium price is matched by the premium quality.

  1. £5 from Shopcuvee.com
Prices may vary
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Bloody Drinks classic Bloody Mary

bloody .jpg
  • Best: Bloody Mary cocktail can
  • ABV: 6.3%

Originally referred to in early-20th-century Paris as a “bucket of blood”, Bloody Marys have a marmite reputation – you either love them or are somewhat disgusted by them. Fortunately, we’re in the former camp – and Bloody Drink’s cocktail can is just as tasty as versions quaffed at a bar.

Blended with tomato juice and 58 Distillery’s triple-distilled vodka, it’s balanced with amontillado sherry, fresh lemon juice, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce and a dash of Kikkoman soy sauce, with Tabasco’s pepper sauce serving up the perfect amount of spice. Pouring a foolproof Bloody Mary every time, the cocktail is seasoned to perfection.

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M&S mojito

m&s mojito.jpg
  • Best: Supermarket cocktail can
  • ABV: 8%

Much-loved for good reason, M&S’s cocktail cans are a staple of pre-drinks, festivals and train journeys. Costing less than £3, with a fairly high eight per cent ABV, the mojito is a standout in the pocket-friendly range. Crafted with white rum and lime juice, it’s zesty with a subtle mint flavouring.

Best served over ice with a fresh slice, the punchy rum perfectly complements the sweet lime taste. If you’re not jetting away to a beach cabana this summer, M&S’s cheap-and-cheerful mojito is your next best thing.

  1. £2 from Ocado.com
Prices may vary
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Bombay Sapphire gin and tonic

bombay .jpg
  • Best: Gin and tonic can
  • ABV: 6.5%

If you’re keeping it classic, you can’t go wrong with Bombay Sapphire’s gin-and-tonic can. The bar-quality drink served combines the brand’s signature vapour-infused London dry gin with botanicals for a subtle citrus flavour, mixed with tonic water for the perfect pour every time.

Light, refreshing and simple, Bombay Sapphire’s tinnie has a slight kick, thanks its six per cent ABV, and is best served over ice with lime or cucumber.

  1. £2 from Tesco.com
Prices may vary
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Whitebox cosmopolitan cocktail can

cosmo .jpg
  • Best: Classic cocktail can
  • ABV: 16.8%

Another resounding success from Whitebox, the classic cosmo is everything you’d want Carrie Bradshaw’s go-to cocktail to be. The vodka-based tipple is balanced with cranberry, lime and orange triple sec notes for a fruity and sharp flavour. Best served chilled with an orange or lime garnish, it’s still delicious if devoured straight out of the can.

The 100ml mix makes up for its small size with its 16.8 per cent strength. A stellar choice for elevating your barbecue or party drink of choice, cosmo consumers will find this canned cocktail to be well worth the wonga.

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Moth espresso martini

moth espresso .jpg
  • Best: Espresso martini cocktail can
  • ABV: 14.9%

Canned espresso martinis are tricky to get right but Moth has come through with its vodka cold brew. Packaged into pleasingly portable cans, the smooth tipple blends Wood Brothers vodka with cold brew and coffee liqueur for a rich, chocolatey taste and creamy texture.

Shaking the can serves up a bar-worthy layer of foam and it’s best served over ice in a martini glass – but it’s equally drinkable straight out of the can for a boozy, caffeine-fuelled kick.

  1. £3 from Tesco.com
Prices may vary
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Ace+Freak watermelon and cucumber sangria, case of six

ace freak .jpg
  • Best: Sangria cocktail can
  • ABV: 4%

Teaming cool packaging with unique takes on classic cocktails, the all-vegan brand Ace+Freak is a breath of fresh air. Its pre-mixed cocktail ranges span spritzers, mules, Americanos and more – but a standout for us is the watermelon and cucumber sangria that had us wistful for our next holiday.

The blend of Spanish dry white wine, soft sweet watermelon, cloudy apple and fresh lemon juice is balanced with a hint of cucumber for a fruity and dry finish. At four per cent, the natural mix is light and refreshing.

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East London Liquor Co grapefruit gin and tonic

east london liquor .jpg
  • Best: G&T with a twist
  • ABV: 5%

Founded in 2014, East London Liquor is one of the original boutique gin companies, and its distillery bar in E3 is a hotspot for cocktail lovers. Highlights from the range include a pomegranate and vodka seltzer and a vodka and rhubarb can but the grapefruit gin and tonic is our new go-to for summer.

Putting a fruity spin on the classic, it’s mixed with the distillery’s in-house grapefruit-infused tonic and East London gin. Vegan-friendly with a five per cent ABV, the tinnie is flavourful and refreshing.

  1. £3 from Amazon.co.uk
Prices may vary
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The verdict: Cocktail cans

Pimentae’s spicy twist on the classic margarita helps recreate the cocktail experience at home or on the go. The pocket-sized tins are delightfully portable and the taste rivals drinks at a bar.

If you’re hosting, look no further than Vacay’s brightly coloured and varied selection of cocktail cans, while Whitebox’s Insta-worthy tiny tinnies pack a serious punch.

Enjoy red, white and sparkling with our pick of the best wines for summer

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