Once upon a time, drinking a well-made cocktail outside of a bar or restaurant required multiple bottles, mixers, and a shaker. Now, thanks to the prevalence of canned cocktails on liquor store shelves, all you need are opposable thumbs. They’re a COVID-friendly trend best enjoyed at home or outdoors, and often, what’s inside after popping the top is just as good as what you’d get at a top-notch distillery. Why? Because it’s those distilleries that are making the best concoctions.
Besides being portable, recyclable, and super-convenient, modern canned cocktails are made with fresh ingredients, making them a heck of a lot more sippable than their cloying, artificial-tasting predecessors. Here, three brand-new Colorado-based cocktails that are ready to be crushed— literally and figuratively.
The prettiest cans you’ll find are by Colorado Springs-based Lee Spirits Co., which launched Lavender Lemonade and Strawberry Gin Lemonade canned cocktails in February and Fuego Lemonade and Whiskey Lemonade varieties in mid-September. Colorado Springs designer Jeremy Worley designs the labels for the gin, whiskey, and liqueur distillery. “He always does an incredible job,” distillery co-founder Nick Lee says. “We constantly receive compliments regarding the quality and uniqueness of the design.” The nine-percent ABV drinks come non-carbonated, but if you like your cocktails sparkling, add a soda water or Champagne float on top for some bubbles.
Longmont’s Abbott & Wallace Distilling (formerly called Longtucky Spirits) released a Colorado-sourced Amaro Spritz this summer, blending their own handcrafted Amaro Arancia, a bitter orange liqueur, with sauvignon blanc. The carbonated five-percent ABV Steamboat Spritz joined the already-stellar canned line-up, which includes the Longtucky Julep, Gina Tonic, and Caribbean Queen rum cocktail. And because this crew really likes cocktails in cans, they also recently introduced four others that are only available at the distillery: Royal Hawaiian (rum, pineapple, lime, orgeat, and herbs), Thinkin’ Pink (whiskey, strawberry, vanilla, and lemon), La Chupacabra (bourbon, apple, lime, and ginger), and Alpine Gardens (gin, tomato, peach, carrot, and lemon).
You may already be familiar with Boulder-based Cocktail Squad’s line of 10-percent ABV ready-to-drink creations. The canned cocktail company launched favorites like the Margarita, Bourbon Smash, and Whiskey Sour in late 2018, and it added two sugar-free, five-percent-ABV flavors—Whiskey Ginger Soda and Vodka Lemon Soda—to the lineup this month.