I’ll be the first to advocate for making your own cocktails from scratch. Not only does it build a better understanding of what makes a good cocktail, but you start to learn what tastes you prefer and how to make a cocktail perfect for you. BUT, there are special occasions where it simply doesn’t make sense to bring a whole cocktail bar with you just so you can enjoy a cocktail at the beach, or camping, or on the lake. For those cases, there are a number of premade cocktails in stores; granted many of them are just sugar juice with alcohol (like Palm Bay <— Kill me) but there are some stand outs on the shelves that are more than worth your money.
From simple to complex, here are the premade cocktails that should be in your cooler this summer:
Georgian Bay Vodka/Gin Smash
Ontario based Georgian Bay release these cans last summer in Ontario, and they’ve just started to hit the shelves in BC as well. They are surprisingly well balanced, and blended with natural ingredients so you aren’t getting that awful sugary taste. The Gin Smash is a blend of lemon, lime, tangerine and mint; while the Vodka Smash includes lemon, lime, grapefruit and mint. Think vodka-soda and gin-tonics with a bit more going on. Very, very easy to drink and at only $3 a can, a good value.
Queensborough Gin Twist
From Central Cit comes two different premade gin cocktails, the Cucumber Lime Mint and Blood Orange Elderflower. In a double-blind tasting by the World Beverage Competition, judges selected the cucumber version as the Best In Show for the ready to drink category and was given the Platinum Award for 2018.
Cabana Coast Moscow Mule/ Vodka Greyhound
For an authentic take on a Moscow Mule, I’d look no further than Cabana Coast. The cocktail faithfully reproduces a mule made with ultra-premium vodka, spicy ginger beer and a dash of lime. Meanwhile the Vodka Greyhound is a nice blend of vodka, citrus and grapefruit juice. Both are refreshing on a summer day.
London Road Cocktails
Coming out of the UK, London Road has a full lineup of cocktails that are in cute little jam jars. No matter the type of cocktail you choose from the Mojito, Singapore Sling, Espresso Martini or Cosmo all you have to do is add ice, shake, garnish and serve. It’s a create way of serving cocktails on the go.
Crafty Elk Hard Juice
Crafty Elk is a little different than the rest. The three cocktails/juices are developed by a Canadian pharmaceutical scientist and are organic, non-GMO, naturally flavoured and preservative free. They come in Mango & Honey, Tri Berry and Kiwi & Apple and the best way to describe them is quite literally as adult juice. They’re all around 4.5% alcohol so don’t mix these up with the kids juice boxes!