Whiskey bar

The 10 best canned whiskey cocktails to enjoy this summer

I touted the virtues of the canned cocktail of tequila a while back – there are very few of these agave-based ready-to-drink (RTD) cans that aren’t refreshing or sessionable. And while the quality varies, canned gin and vodka drinks are usually harmless, at worst.

But whisk(e)y drinks from a can? Besides being all over the map on ABV and ingredients, they often land too much on the sweet side and sometimes taste rather metallic. And “refreshing” is not a common descriptor with these drinks.

One problem: the mind itself. “Most canned whiskey cocktails use lightly aged whiskey that wouldn’t even be considered for a freshly made cocktail,” says Brian Treacy, co-founder of Sagamore Spirit and president of operations for the distillery. (Sagamore Spirit, pictured with three cans below, uses aged straight rye whiskey from the same stocks that come in their bottles.)

Also, whiskey isn’t the first thing people think of when considering RTDs, which are best known for their lighter flavors. The influence of whiskey on the ground is therefore modest.

“The ready-to-drink category has seen massive growth in recent years and is extremely dynamic,” says Kate Pomeroy, chief innovation officer at Pernod Ricard North America, which is represented on our list by Jameson Ginger & Lime. the first RTD based on Irish whiskey in the United States “We view whiskey-based ready-to-drink cocktails as one of the drivers for the expansion and growth of the category, although we recognize that the majority of the category is still made up of malt and other spirits.”

Another problem specific to whiskey: Well-known whiskey cocktails (Old Fashioned, Manhattan, etc.) rarely fit in a portable format. “It’s especially hard to hide bad whiskey in a classic recipe that only has three ingredients,” says Treacy, though he notes that his brand limits its canned drinks to a modest 3-5 ingredients. “We’re looking at more innovative flavor pairings – our pure rye whiskey paired with Meyer lemon juice, green tea and natural yuzu flavor, for example.”

“I don’t think it’s necessarily about avoiding classic whiskey-based cocktails, but more about meeting consumer preferences and needs for every occasion,” adds Pomeroy. “In particular, we find that citrus and berry flavor profiles have strong appeal among spirits drinkers as a whole. And the RTD format is naturally well-suited to lighter, more refreshing flavors to sip outdoors or on the go – it makes sense that whiskey-based RTDs build on these preferences.

So below you’ll see a lot of whiskey drinks that aren’t necessarily suitable for the traditional whiskey drinker. For this roundup, we’ve decided to stick only to “canned” cocktails, leaving out bottles, sachets, boxes, or other ready-to-drink containers. The selections here are more about reviewing an RTD whiskey the same way you would a hard seltzer or beer – preferably sitting in a cooler full of ice, with no separate glass necessary (but not awkward).

Sagamore Spirit Canned Cocktails

Sagamore Spirit

This Baltimore distillery has just launched a nationwide line of canned drinks, including Pineapple Ryegarita, Honey Paloma and a Lemon Tea Fizz, all made with Sagamore Spirit’s straight rye whiskey and co-created by Baltimore mixologist minds. CANE Collective, Unfortunately, our favorite flavor, Black-Eyed Rye, had to take a short break. “Because we use organic juices and no artificial flavors, our canned cocktail flavors are all subject to harvest and other supply chain effects,” says Treacy of Sagamore Spirit. “This year there was a shortage of blackberries which meant we had a limited supply of blackberry juice

Canned drinks from Jack Daniel's

Canned drinks from Jack Daniel’s

jack daniels

I was expecting the first canned offerings from this Tennessee whiskey giant – Jack & Cola; Jack, Honey & Lemonade and Jack Apple Fizz — for being too sweet. But even at a modest 7% ABV, these RTDs are surprisingly thirst-quenching and less cloying than, say, a dive bar making you a Jack and Coke. Definitely a crowd pleaser.

Jameson ginger and lime

Jameson ginger and lime

jameson

You can finally get a good canned cocktail for St. Patrick’s Day and summer. Irish whiskey leader Jameson recently launched a range of easy-sipping whiskey/lime/ginger cocktails. Part of the appeal here is that it’s very much in the realm of a highball whiskey or a whiskey and ginger, but that keeps the ABV modest (6%). If your friends love canned drinks but are unsure about whiskey, this is the one to try.

Cardinal Spirits Bourbon Cream Soda

Cardinal Spirits Bourbon Cream Soda

Cardinal spirits

New from Indiana-based Cardinal Spirits, this canned cocktail is essentially a grown-up cream soda (with real vanilla beans from Madagascar) made with bourbon.

Thomas Ashbourne Craft Spirits

Thomas Ashbourne Old Fashioned Craft Spirits

Thomas Ashbourne Craft Spirits

The idea behind this new ready-to-drink brand is that each canned cocktail is linked to a celebrity (Sarah Jessica Parker, Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson, Playboi Carti, etc.). So yeah, Parker’s drink is a Cosmo, while John Cena’s is a pretty decent Old Fashioned – not much of a bite, but it’s a smooth sip (and each can give you the equivalent of two cocktails ).

Slow and low from Hochstadter

Slow and low from Hochstadter

BookBar

Let’s be clear – this is an 84-proof Rock & Rye cocktail in a small box that could definitely use a glass and an ice cube (although that’s not necessary or even encouraged). But it’s also the rare whiskey drink that does a good job of replicating a classic – basically, it’s an Old Fashioned that actually tastes like an Old Fashioned.

Social Hour Whiskey Mule

Social Hour Whiskey Mule

Social Hour

Created by Julie Reiner and Tom Macy of the Clover Club, only two of these six bartender-made cocktails in a can are whiskey-based. But they definitely leave their mark: the Straight Rye Whiskey Mule nicely showcases the beer notes of ginger and citrus alongside the peppery note of rye, while the Prizefighter pairs New York Distilling Company’s Ragtime Rye with flavors of peach (Massenez Crème de Pêche) and even a mint. bitterness (Faccia Brutto’s Fernet Pianta).

WhistlePig PiggyBack

WhistlePig PiggyBack Blackberry Lemon Fizz

WhistlePig

One of the first canned drinks made with rye, these cocktails play to the strengths of any good RTD whiskey – it’s hard to go wrong with Blackberry Lemon Fizz, Session Citrus Mint or Fresh Ginger Lime. All of these products are made with 100% estate rye and barrel-aged fruit.

Spiritual Beehive Rosemary + Lemon

Spiritual Beehive Rosemary + Lemon

fiery hive

While also offering tequila and vodka drinks, SH’s selling point is the use of certified organic wildflower honey sourced from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This gives Rosemary, Lemon, and Honey Infused Spirited Hive Bourbon Whiskey (which uses real bourbon sourced from Green River Distilling Co. in Owensboro, KY) a sweet smoothness

Crown Royal Canned Drinks

Crown Royal Canned Drinks

royal crown

Always smooth, Crown Royal lends itself well to a few flavors you won’t find anywhere else on the RTD whiskey market, most notably Washington Apple (featuring Crown Royal Whiskey, Sparkling Apple and Cranberry flavors) and Tea peach with (Crown Royal whiskey, peach flavoring and infused tea).