Canned Mixed Drinks: The Tasty, the Okay, and the Kinda Gross


Mercury Staff

Canned rosé on the river? SoooOOOOooo 2018. Fall 2019 is all about cans of pre-mixed, locally made cocktails.

See, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission finally did something right! Those bureaucratic fun-smotherers at the OLCC changed a regulation in a way that benefits us degenerates: canned cocktails—like actual liquor-spiked drinks inside aluminum—are now legallllll (airhorn)!! Oregon was previously shut out of the unique pleasure of a mobile Moscow mule because liquor and mixer had to be sold in separate containers. Until now.

Already, several Portland-area distillers have rushed cans to market, meaning you still have time for a late summer sipper to-go. Here’s a rundown of what’s good, what’s okay, and what you should avoid consuming at all costs. (Tip! Use the OLCC liquor search website to make sure your local store has ’em! oregonliquorsearch.com)


Tasty!

Freeland Spirits Gin & Rose Tonic—I don’t like gin and tonics, but, boy howdy, do I like this gin and tonic. Made with Freeland’s super tasty gin and a special rose tonic blended for the occasion by Portland Syrups, this little blue can of cute is balanced without too much quinine and drinks like a bartender mixed it and poured it right before the tab-top was sealed. Four pack of 8.5-oz. cans, $16.95. Available at Freeland Spirits, 2671 NW Vaughn, and liquor stores.

Rogue Spirits Ginger Lime Vodka Mule and Cucumber Lime Gin Fizz—Rogue hit the market with three canned cocktails, and two of them are among my top picks for “A+ would drink again” status. Both are crisp and refreshing without any weird chemical flavors. I especially liked that cucumber business. Four pack of 12-oz. cans, $14.95. Available at Rogue locations and liquor stores.

10 Barrel Bloody Mary—Canning a Bloody Mary was such a good idea. 10 Barrel joined up with Oregon Spirit Distillers to put together a not-too-thick and just-the-right-amount-of-spicy tomato and vodka concoction. Four pack of 12-oz. cans $13.95. Available at liquor stores.

Eastside Distilling Portland Mule—It’s everything you’re looking for: a nice ginger kick without trying too hard. I won’t gush because the cocktail stands for itself. Four pack of 8.4-oz. cans for $13.95. Available at Eastside Distilling, 1512 SE 7th, and liquor stores.

503 Distilling La Vida MochaWith rum infused with orange peel, Mexican chocolate, and Riff cold brew, this was the most inventive canned cocktail I tried. And one hell of a wake-up buzz. It’s made with nitro, and at 12 percent alcohol, it’ll sneak up on your Sunday morning. Loved it. 12-oz. cans are $5.95. Available at liquor stores.

The Bitter Housewife Bitters and Soda (Non-Alcoholic!)—Here’s one for the non-drinkers! These small-batch bitters makers reformulated their classic Old Fashioned bitters to be completely non-alcoholic and without sugar, then mixed it with soda water to enjoy on-the-go. $2.99 for a 12-oz. can. Available at New Seasons, other grocers, and thebitterhousewife.com.


Just Okay!

10 Barrel Greyhound—Made with grapefruit juice, soda water, and vodka, this 10 Barrel blend is exactly what you’d expect. I’d put it into the tasty category were it not for its off-putting aftertaste. Four-pack of 12-oz. cans $13.95

503 Distilling Blood Orange Greyhound—Apparently I think greyhounds in a can are just okay. If someone handed me this on a river, I wouldn’t kick it out of my tube. 12-oz. cans are $5.95


Kinda Gross!

Straightaway’s Negroni Spritz, Fiore Spritz, & Apertivo Spritz—I didn’t know a canned cocktail could get me in my feels, but here we are. I LOVE a bitter Aperol spritz, and I was like totally into negronis before they were cool. But these super expensive concoctions from the Straightaway in Southeast are repellent. First of all, they don’t actually have liquor in them, instead using fortified wine. Second, they all are so beyond weird and unpleasant that I found myself giving away the whole batch. Straightaway advises you serve them over ice, which only kind of helped, and also breaks the very spirit of a portable canned format. (Straightaway also makes blended cocktails with real booze in them in glass bottles—they’re lovely. Just not cans.) 8.4-oz. cans are $6.99 each ($27.96 for four). Available at Straightaway, 901 SE Hawthorne, and New Seasons.

Eastside Distilling Marionberry Mule—If you like a sweet drink, this is your mule to ride. I personally had to mix it with soda water before it got palatable. Stick with the OG mule. Four pack of 8.4-oz. cans for $14.95

503 Distilling The Wicked Mule—I know there’s vodka in there, but this mule really tastes like it’s made with malt liquor. 12-oz. cans are $4.95

Rogue Spirits Cranberry Elderflower Vodka Soda—I drank one and forgot all about it. Four pack of 12-oz. cans, $14.95


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