Ready-to-Drink/Premixed Cocktails

Ready-to-drink or RTD cocktails got their start as so-called “alcopop” beverages, such as Smirnoff Ice, which are malt liquor-based beverages that approximated a cocktail experience through the addition of different flavorings, generally sugar- and fruit-heavy, plus a healthy amount of carbonation. As with most alcoholic beverages, RTD products have moved upscale in recent years, with numerous craft distillers producing genuine cocktails ready to drink out of the can or bottle. These are often made with the identical ingredients you’d get if you made the cocktail from scratch, though quality tends to vary considerably.

Top Ready-to-Drink Cocktail Posts:

Zima
Cutwater Spirits Whiskey Highball and Whiskey Lemon Tea
Truly Spiked & Sparkling Water

Review: Hard Frescos

By Christopher Null | June 14, 2016 |

Mexican sodas (aka frescas) are one of life’s little pleasures. Naturally someone had to try and improve on them by adding alcohol. Hard Frescos are, as is common in this category, not really sodas but rather malt beverages with flavoring added. However, while it says malt beverage on the label, Hard Frescos are actually made primarily from…

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Review: Bully Boy Distillers The Old Fashioned

By Christopher Null | April 1, 2016 |

This is the second bottled cocktail we’ve seen from Boston-based Bully Boy, after its Hub Punch release from last year. (See also Bully Boy’s straight spirits, reviewed in 2012.) The company promises this is a mix of Bully Boy American Straight Whiskey (akin to a young bourbon), Angostura Bitters, and sugar. For the fruit component of…

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Review: Not Your Father’s Ginger Ale

By Christopher Null | February 23, 2016 |

Like Not Your Father’s Root Beer before it, this creation of Small Town Brewery is an alcohol-infused rendition of ginger beer. This is now a surprisingly large category, and standing out is becoming difficult. Not Your Father’s Ginger Ale isn’t really able to do that — a flavored beer product that manages to work some spicy…

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Review: Wild Root Original Alcoholic Root Beer

By Christopher Null | February 15, 2016 |

Our first foray into alcoholic root beers met with mixed results — but now we have a third option to add to the mix. The company behind Wild Root makes an alcoholic ginger beer that we’ve previously reviewed. This is their foray into a more soda-like concoction. The flavor of this beverage is heavy on…

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Review: Manhattan Margarita

By Christopher Null | December 15, 2015 |

First, let’s clear up the confusion. Yes, it’s a pre-mixed margarita, not a Manhattan. The color is from citrus juices added to “perfect” the recipe. No, it’s not from Manhattan. It’s from California. “Manhattan” refers to Manhattan Beach. No, it’s not made in Manhattan Beach, which is in Los Angeles. It’s made in Graton, in…

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Review: Wild Ginger Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer

By Christopher Null | October 27, 2015 |

Nashville-brewed Wild Ginger isn’t the first alcoholic ginger beer on the market, but it’s a solid selection nonetheless if you’re looking for a Dark & Stormy with a bigger kick — or simply (and more likely) a pre-mixed ginger cocktail of sorts straight from the can. Wild Ginger is on the sweet side from the…

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Review: Sandra Lee Cocktail Time Margarita – Key Lime and Strawberry

By Christopher Null | October 10, 2015 |

Sandra Lee is a celebrity chef (my wife knew who she was anyway) who’s branching out of cookbooks and into… margies! These ready-to-drink margarita cocktails are targeted at the higher shelf consumer, as they’re made with real fruit, cane sugar, and “premium blue agave tequila and triple sec liqueur”? I’m not entirely sure if that…

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Head to Head: Alcoholic Root Beer! Not Your Father’s vs. Rowdy

By Christopher Null | October 7, 2015 |

Two makes a trend for us today, with a duo of alcoholic root beers hitting the market at the same time, one from La Crosse, Wisconsin-based Small Town Brewery, the other from Stevens Point, Wisconsin-based Berghoff. Both are not root beer soda with alcohol added but rather flavored beers/malt liquors with the spices integrated into the…

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Review: VOCO Vodka Coconut Water

By Christopher Null | August 23, 2015 |

The VO is for vodka. The CO is for coconut. Together they’re VOCO, the world’s first luxury beverage to blend pure coconut water with premium vodka, or so the label tells us. Sold in single-serve 12 oz. aluminum bottles, it’s an alternative to Smirnoff Ice or Mike’s Hard Lemonade, I suppose. The overall impact is…

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Review: Old Forester Mint Julep

By Christopher Null | June 22, 2015 |

No, there’s no substitute for the real thing, but one often finds the afternoon hot and the mint absent, so what’s a julep lover to do? Old Forester has been bottling pre-made, ready-to-drink mint juleps for years, and should this summer find you wanting, it’s a fine way to get your minted bourbon on in…

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