“Can the can” once sang rocker Suzi Quatro, way back in the 1970’s. Back then canned alcoholic beverages consisted of beer and the awful “Club” canned cocktails, which might have done more to set back mixology than perhaps any other thing. It wasn’t the enclosure that was the problem it was the product put in them. Those cocktails were awful.
It was several decades before craft beer resurrected the can, which as an anaerobic environment unreachable by light might be the absolute perfect environment for beer (beer kegs anyone?). Good for beer, even better for wine. A change in consumer habits led to many wines (especially American ones) to ditch the strategy of aging wine after you buy it, to releasing wine that is already at peak drinkability upon release. So, wine which is also susceptible to light damage (like beer) and oxidation, which isn’t helped much by a permeable cork, also finds an ideal storage environment in a hermetically sealed can.
A two year quarantine and another change in drinking habits (portability and transport being especially important) and we now find ourselves not only in the realm of canned wine but also back in the realm of canned cocktails. Only this time the product going into those cans is infinitely better, as are the cans themselves. Proving that one generations pariah, can be the next generations pioneer. It certainly aint the 70’s anymore.
We’ve taken the liberty of gathering four of these pioneers (two cocktail makers, one wine maker and a wine cocktail maker) to help pop the tab on this subject, all localized of course, for your consumption:
Salt Point Canned Cocktails, Mill Valley, Gin Highball, 10%ABV, $17.99 (4 12 oz. cans)
The Mill Valley based Salt Point canned cocktail company has been leading the canned cocktail charge since 2013. And while a traditionalist might question the addition of seltzer to either a “margarita” or a “greyhound” or a “cape cod,” when one is considering canned cocktails, traditionalists might not be the target demographic. Which, ironically, makes Salt Point’s “gin highball” all the more intriguing. It is, in fact, a gin highball (a combination of liquor and carbonated mixer), but not the one most people are familiar with (the gin and tonic). Refreshing, brightly citric and bubbly but without that tonic bite. The literature says, “a gin drink that doesn’t taste like a gin drink” and while the traditionalists might howl, the rest of us say that isn’t at all bad. Their four pack of 12 ounce cans is a real bargain because at 10% ABV (twice what a craft beer is), one can can easily be two drinks. For more info or for ordering go here:
Suntide Mimosas, San Anselmo, Peach Mimosa, 5.5% ABV, $9.99 (4 12 oz. cans)
Founded by Sir Francis Drake/Archie Williams alums and siblings Lyda, Spencer and Wyatt Hanson, Suntide Mimosas first launched, ironically, in the Midwest! With fifteen States (including California) coming online soon Suntide might be poised for a golden dawn. Nothing fancy here, just real fresh juices and California sparkling wine. Suntide’s peach flavor is fresh and delicious, not cloying as in the case of some Bellini’s. It certainly makes the mostest of the mimosa, and unlike some of your restaurant versions out there, this one is fresh and delicious every time you pop a can. Rumor has it that a raspberry is soon in the offing. For more info or for pre-ordering go here:
Sammy’s Beach Bar Cocktail Co., Marin County, Island Pop, 10% ABV, $18.99 (4 12 ounce cans)
If you can’t drive 55, then sitting still isn’t really an option either. And no one sits still less than Marin’s own Sammy Hagar; touring, recording, or distilling (both tequila and rum) the man is a dynamo. And while many might associate him with Cabo, he gets his share of island time too, either Caribbean or Pacific. His smooth white rum (distilled originally in Hawaii, and now in Puerto Rico) makes his new venture, canned cocktails, all that more rocking. His Tangerine Dream, Pineapple Splash and Cherry Kola Chill, all hit the regular notes, but it’s the Island Pop that really, well, pops. The appropriability red hued sparkling cherry, pineapple and citrus beverage puts the 10% ABV punch right into the Hawaiian. On sale now (reduced from $25 for 4) no one ever called the red rocker sedentary. For more info or for ordering go here:
Maker Wine, Novato, Dry sparkling Riesling, 13% ABV, $48 (6 250ml cans)
When you are already thinking outside the box, why not go way outside the box? Dry sparkling Riesling, yep, you read that right. Think bone dry Alsatian or German Riesling resplendent with nuances of pear, pineapple and citrus and then add a minerality and bubbles! Zero grams of sugar and 117 calories puts this far below the calorie count and the sugar content of most sparkling wines. That might be because it isn’t carbonated the old “Méthode champenoise” way. Maker Wine uses its own proprietary method which adds just the right zip to this Santa Cruz sourced sparkler from Nicole Walsh’s Ser Winery. The bubbles might bring the zip, but it’s the Riesling brings the flavor. For more info or for ordering go here: