SpiritsHandpicked by IWSC

8 award-winning canned cocktails

From a bartender-standard Espresso Martini to a Negroni that totally hits the mark, discover the best canned cocktails according to judges at the IWSC

Words by IWSC judges

Handpicked by IWSC

Everyone loves a cocktail, but canned cocktails used to have a bit of a bad rep. Happily, innovative producers have turned their attention to ready-to-drink and pre-batched options, creating drinks that are a world away from a pre-mixed can of whisky and coke or a bog-standard G&T.

It’s not surprising that producers are getting in on the action when it comes to ready-to-drink options (known as RTDs in the industry). Interest in canned cocktails is on the rise – their popularity was likely boosted by demand during the pandemic and various lockdowns, when bars around the world were closed, but the trend shows no signs of slowing down. In 2022, entries into the IWSC’s RTD and pre-mixed categories grew by almost 200%, compared to the previous year.

pocket negroni canned cocktail
Whitebox Drinks’ Pocket Negroni has become a bit of a cult favourite thanks to its cute packaging - but tasting the liquid blind, judges were just as impressed

These days, the ready-to-drink cocktail offering is hugely varied, with everything from Piña Coladas to Old Fashioneds available in canned cocktail form. At the IWSC, The Archie Rose Espresso Martini by Curatif scored 96/100 and was praised for its flavour notes of ‘deep-roasted freshly brewed coffee, chocolate, cherry, nuts, toffee, cocoa and vanilla’.

Another high scorer was Whitebox Drinks’ Pocket Negroni, which has become a bit of a cult favourite thanks to its cute packaging. It’s not about the looks, though. Judges tasted it blind as with all other pre-mixed drinks, and it still scored 95/100, praised for ‘a lovely bittersweet character and a good amount of gin’.

It might sound like an unlikely contender for a canned cocktail, but Cutwater’s White Russian was also a hit, thanks to its complex and comforting aromas and flavours, as well as ‘a great kick of alcohol at the end’.

Read on to discover the best canned cocktails on the market right now, as rated by the IWSC’s panel of experts.

archie rose espresso martini
The top-scoring canned cocktail was an Espresso Martini from Australia's Curatif, in partnership with Archie Rose Distilling Co

How do we judge these drinks?

We run a tightly structured, rigorous tasting process. That means that each drink sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC low and no judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the drinks industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.

How do we score these drinks?

Only the best drinks sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, spirits have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver winners range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.

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