Drinks

13 Delicious Canned Wines And Cocktails

Portable? Check. Tasty? Check. A drinks expert's picnic-ready picks.

Four canned Strait & Narrow cocktails on a black and white illustrated camping/forest-themed background

‘We tried every one in the sampler pack and each one of these natural-tasting, low-sugar cocktails has something going for it,’ Christine Sismondo writes.

We’re old enough to remember when canned wine was more of a punchline than something you’d have for dinner, and most canned cocktails were supersized, artificial-tasting sugar bombs.

How things have changed. The new generation of canned drinks are lean, dry, fresh and juicy, which is great news for anyone who likes tasty drinks in convenient packaging. (Which is everyone, right?)

Here’s the goods on 13 great canned wines and cocktails.

A can of Bee's Knees craft gin cocktail on a white background

Bee’s Knees (5%)

Made with just the right amount of Ontario honey, this fizzy homage to a prohibition-era classic cocktail is a great example of the new style of ready-to-drink beverages—it’s dry and refreshing, with none of that tinny alt-sugar business at the end. This company also makes an excellent canned version of a French 75.

LCBO 16225; $2.95 (355 mL) or at beeskneescocktail.com.

Tidal Bay by Benjamin Bridge (10%)

Several different Nova Scotia wineries make wines called “Tidal Bay”—the name simply refers to still whites made from 100 percent homegrown grapes. Unsurprisingly, Benjamin Bridge’s contribution to this category is stellar—crisp, with a little ripe peach, honey and citrus. It just might be the perfect beach wine.

NSLC 1038799; $7.49 (200mL); also available directly from benjaminbridge.com.

A can of Strait & Narrow Pacific Coast Cocktails peach elderflower gin cocktail on a white background

Peach Elderflower Gin Pacific Coast Cocktail by Strait & Narrow (5%)

There’s a lot to love about the cocktails from Vancouver Island’s Strait & Narrow, a line of dry, light and fresh cocktails that appear to be inspired by the ongoing highball craze. We tried every one in the sampler pack and each one of these natural-tasting, low-sugar cocktails has something going for it. Since we had to pick one, though, the Peach Elderflower Gin slightly edged out the competition.

BCLiquor 455769; $14.99 (6 X 355 mL)

A can of Taylor Fladgate Chip Dry and Tonic in front of a pool beside a glass with the drink and a black and white striped straw and a lime slice

Taylor Fladgate Chip Dry and Tonic (5.5%)

Anyone looking to switch things up this summer should try Taylor Fladgate’s Chip Dry and Tonic instead of the usual G&T. White port and tonic is a wildly popular drink in Portugal, for good reason—it’s dry, refreshing and considerably lighter in alcohol than a standard mixed drink.

Manitoba Liquor Mart 43209; $15.99 (4 x 250 mL); also available at the LCBO

Four stacked cans of Rosewood White Rabbit wine on a white background

White Rabbit by Rosewood Winery and Meadery (11.5%)

Even though drinking wine right from the can is a singular pleasure, we recommend pouring this into a glass at least once so that you’ll get to see this Ontario blend’s pretty golden colour and fully appreciate the fresh bread aroma. It’s wild fermented, low-ish in alcohol (11.5%) and full of crunchy juice flavour, with maybe a dab of butter. Rosewood also makes a canned sangria called No Bad Days and “Blau,” (short for Blaufränkisch, the trendy grape from which it’s made) which is too popular for its own good (as in it’s often sold out).

Rosewood Winery; $28 (4 x 250 mL). Also sold at bottle shops all over Ontario.

Three cans of Dillon's Gin cocktails in three flavours against a variety box of the canned drinks

Dillon’s Black Cherry Gin Cocktail (5%)

The slogan for Dillon’s new line of gin cocktails is “Made the Right Way” and, well, we can confirm that they absolutely taste like they were made with care and good quality ingredients. Especially the Black Cherry Cranberry, which is bright, fizzy and full of intense fruit. Also comes in Tangerine Lemon Mint and Blackberry Lemon Elderflower.

Dillons.ca; $30.95 Variety Pack (12 x 473mL); some flavours are also available at the LCBO

a can of Frico Lambrusco on a white background

Frico Lambrusco (9.5%)

Lambrusco is having a moment right now, largely because Italian red fizz is fun, fresh, unpretentious and generally a little lower in alcohol than other sparkling wines. Plus, the new generation of ‘brusco isn’t as sweet as the expressions that used to be popular back in the 1980s. Frico is a great example of this, since the sugar is offset by a slightly bitter finish, making it the right choice to drink with charcuterie. Picnics will never be the same again.

Zyn.ca 815815; $21.00 (4 x 250 mL); also available at other private retailers in Alberta.

A four-can pack of Eau CLaire Distillery's Dill pickle caesar cocktail in cans

Eau Claire Dill Pickle Caesar (6%)

Since so many Canadians take pride in their claim that they make the world’s best Bloody Caesar, canned, pre-mixed versions can be a tough sell. This delicious one from Alberta’s Eau Claire distillery threatens to change that. It’s rich and savoury and wildly drinkable and our fave of their canned cocktails (although the Prickly Pear Pink Lemonade is great, too). Did we mention the entire distilling team at Eau Claire is made up of women?

Eau Claire Distillery, $14.99 (4 x 355mL), also available at many private retailers in Alberta, including Sobey’s and Safeway.

A can of Casal Garcia Vinho Verde

Casal Garcia Vinho Verde (9.5%)

There are several good reasons why Vinho Verde is so popular these days, namely, because this lower-alcohol Portuguese wine is generally attractively priced, gently fizzy and unmistakably youthful. Fresh and bouncy, Casal Garcia is a textbook expression of this style of wine that was practically born to be sold in cans and enjoyed in the great outdoors.

BC Liquor 488880; $6.99; Available in most other provinces in bottle form.

A can of Aloette espresso martini fizz cocktail on a white background

Espresso Martini Fizz by Aloette (5.5%)

The second you pop the tab, an intense fresh coffee and caramel aroma comes wafting out of this bright pink can. Best served on the rocks with a splash of lemon, this bittersweet vodka cocktail is more cola than espresso, but pretty tasty, as you’d expect from Aloette (a Toronto restaurant known for its tasty cocktails).

LCBO 25274, $3.25

Bubbly Pink 2021 by Lightfoot & Wolfville (12%)

Given that L&W’s sparkling rosé is so damn good, it’s hardly surprising that their single serving canned version is also excellent. An excellent choice for brunch, lunch or a late-night snack, this dry and food-friendly wine has got our number and is ideal for those (admittedly rare) times when you don’t want to open a whole bottle.

NSLC 1036556; $9.33; also available direct from the winery.

A can of Darling Mimosa Grapefruit

Darling Mimosa Sparkling Grapefruit (5%)

The worst thing about brunch is that you always have to find the perfect OJ-to-bubbles ratio, so that you don’t wind up with a half bottle of leftover fizz or a litre of juice in the back of the fridge. This bubbly, off-dry, canned Mimosa may solve the problem forever. Comes in both orange and grapefruit.

LCBO 25487, $3.25

Loop Mission Gin Fizz (4.5%)

The Loop mission is to rescue Montreal’s food waste and turn it into tasty things, such as this zesty lime and ginger gin fizz. Distilled from potato scraps at Distillerie Mariana (a facility near Trois Rivières), you can feel good about being a part of the solution with every tasty sip.

SAQ 14960133; $16.20 (4 x355mL)

A bottle of campari's bottled negroni cocktail

Bonus bottles: Campari Negroni (26%) and Aperol Spritz Ready to Serve (9%)

We know, we know, these are bottled cocktails, not cans, but, given that they’re two of the best bottled cocktails out there, it seemed unfair to leave out these new offerings just because they don’t come in a can. The Campari Negroni is perfect for days when you don’t really feel like mixing anything and the Aperol Spritz (SAQ 14960230; $16.50, 3x200mL) is spot-on perfect—better than a lot of bars make.

Both are also available at the LCBO.

A three pack of bottled aperol spritz cocktails

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