Published on August 7th, 2020 | by Darren Paltrowitz
The summer season is indeed underway, even if the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 still has many people quarantined and/or concerned about dining out. However, with good health and appropriate social distancing intact, there are still plenty of ways that people can celebrate summer-related happenings.
Many top beverage producers — of both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic sectors — are making top-quality drinks in canned form. Below is a mix of recommended drinks and related brands for you and yours to try when celebratory vibes are intact this summer, as featuring all sorts of tastes, textures, nutrients, nourishment levels, ABVs, release dates, retail availabilties and price-points.
Caveman Coffee Co.
Caveman Coffee Co. is a buzzed-about, Amazon-friendly brand known for healthy, nutritious specialty coffees. It expanded its product line this summer to offer something different in the cold brew categoryl the brand’s original cold brew beverage was a #1 best-seller in its category on Amazon. Its Sparkling Hibiscus Cold Brew Herbal Tea is the herbal beverage brewed cold with hibiscus flowers and lemongrass. This is “version 2.0” of the canned tea you may be used to.
Founded by GRAMMY-winning musician Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, MAD TASTY is an all-natural, low-calorie beverage with 20 mg of pure broad-spectrum hemp extract. It also happens to be the first non-musical product Tedder has created. As the story goes, the product was created to help Tedder and his peers to relax, hydrate, and boost their creativity. Battling anxiety and panic attacks since 2017, Tedder started using CBD/hemp extract and wanted a way to take it every day without the bitter CBD/hemp taste and he’s not alone. MAD TASTY also features zero sugar, while also being vegan, low-calorie and non-GMO. And on the charitable end, for every 12-ounce can sold, MAD TASTY donates 12 ounces of clean water to people and places in need through DROP4DROP.
Moment is a botanical water that helps you “drink your meditation” whenever you’re feeling stressed. As natural adaptogens increase one’s alpha brainwaves, it works to help clear your mind and provide a natural reset, just like meditation. With no caffeine, no added sugar and just 15 or less calories per drink, Moment makes for an ideal midday pick-me-up. Its available flavors include Tulsi Lemon, Rooibos Blood Orange and Hibiscus Dragon Fruit; the Hibiscus Dragon Fruit is my favorite.
Founded in 2018 by college best friends Ryan Laverty and Sal Campisi, VIDE is a conveniently-packaged, pre-mixed vodka soda with a hint of natural fruit flavor that comes in two varieties: Cranberry and Watermelon. Made with only 3 ingredients, VIDE is crisp, refreshing and light. This 5 percent ABV beverage is 99 calories per can, while gluten-free and containing zero sugar and zero carbs. Thus, you have a ready-to-drink product made with real vodka — VIDE contains 6x distilled vodka — as priced at $11.99 for a 4-pack of 12-ounce cans. VIDE is presently available for shipment to 34 states of the United States.
CELSIUS is a healthy energy drink wuith no crash or jitters, unlike traditional energy drinks, and is clinically-proven to accelerate metabolism, burn fat, burn calories, boost endurance and help build lean body muscle. CELSIUS has 7 essential vitamins, includes zero sugar, has no added artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, and features no aspartame or high fructose corn syrup. It is also non-GMO, vegan, and Kosher. You can find CELSIUS via Amazon, at grocery and convenience stores nationwide such as Walmart, Target, CVS, Rite-Aid and 7-11, and at non-grocery-oriented big retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods. A 12-pack of CELSIUS generally runs in the $20 to $30 price range.
21st Amendment Brewery’s SOMA Hard Seltzer
21st Amendment Brewery recently announced the official launch of a new craft hard seltzer brand in homage to the South of Market (SoMA) neighborhood in San Francisco the revolutionary brewer has called home for 20 years: SOMA Hard Seltzer. With 100 calories, 2 grams carbs and no grams of sugar, SOMA Hard Seltzer is brewed using a natural fermentation process and unfiltered. In turn, SOMA Hard Seltzer is executed with the same level of innovation as 21st Amendment’s acclaimed beer portfolio. SOMA Hard Seltzer comes in Watermelon, Guava & Passion Fruit, Mango and Black Cherry and is currently available in Northern California with expanded distribution to all 30 states where 21st Amendment distributes set for Fall 2020 through early 2021.
Kona Spiked Island Seltzer
Speaking of top-notch breweries with a new hard seltzer on the market, Kona’s Spiked Island Seltzers Ehave zero sugar and are naturally gluten-free. Currently available within the Tropical Punch, Starfruit Lime, Strawberry Guava and Passionfruit Orange Guava flavors, you can expect sparkling bubbles, enticing aromas and juicy flavors being brought from the islands right to you in canned form; these cans can be found in Hawaii, California, North Carolina, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Nevada, Arizona, and the D.C., Chicago and St. Louis metro areas. And if seeking some great spiked seltzer popsicle recipes from Kona, there are some to be found online with a quick click elsewhere.
Devils Backbone Distilling Co.
The Devils Backbone Distilling Co., a Virginia-based brewery, recently released premium, ready-to-drink canned cocktails distilled with real spirits and high-quality ingredients. From the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains straight to your home bar comes these natural, delicious craft cans in 4 fresh, powerful cocktails: Vodka Soda, Orange Smash, Vodka Mule, and Gin & Tonic. My favorite of the batch is the Orange Smash. From that one you can expect fresh crushed citrus and real vodka, as combined with orange juice and lemon-lime flavors. Strong but not too strong, as meant in the best of ways.
Elysian Brewing Company
Three-time “Large Brewpub Of The Year” at the Great American Beer Festival, the Elysian Brewing Company operates 3 locations and a production brewery in Seattle, Washington. Known both for classic styles and for flexibility and innovation, Elysian has brewed over 500 different recipes since opening in 1996. While Elysian’s brewers use a variety of unusual ingredients, they are seasonally-notorious for their pumpkin beers. I had the pleasure of trying out its new Salute The Sun. A seasonal beer that is perfect for summer, the Salute The Sun pale ale is conditioned on sun-dried black limes and vibrates with a ridiculous amount of Citra hops. It is slightly-tart, highly-citrusy, and — for lack of a better term — “super-chill.” As a long-time reader of Rolling Stone Magazine, I do hope to eventually try Elysian’s Rolling Stone Lager, as co-created with the legendary publication; it is reportedly crisp and balanced with hints of caramel and orange marmalade.
Blue Point Brewing’s Long Island Iced Teas
Blue Point Brewing is inarguably Long Island, New York’s first and most innovative craft brewer. The 2020 Major League Baseball season is now underway and Blue Point’s Pinstripe Pilsner was brewed in collaboration with the New York Yankees with generous amounts of pilsner malt. Once only available at an MLB ballpark, the beer is now available for purchase in canned form. Elsewhere on the traditional beer spectrum, also great and/or new-ish from Blue Point Brewing are its Imperial Sunshine (blonde ale, ABV: 9.6 percent, brewed with orange peel) and its Summer Ale (lighter beer, ABV: 4.5 percent, a substantial portion of wheat malt was added to a traditional barley malt mix).
But of note is that Blue Point has unveiled its first “beyond beer” alternative via its Long Island Iced Teas, or LIITs. With said LIITs, you can expect a crushable trio of hard sparkling teas made with clean, natural ingredients. As launched in late June, these LIITS are available in Mango, Lemon and Raspberry Lime, all blending natural flavors with 100 percent real tea to create a fresh take on hard tea. Each can contains 5 grams of sugar, 120 calories and is naturally gluten-free.
Last year Lifted Libations recently took Second Place for “Judges’ Choice” in the Distilled Category at Fizz Fight, the first official hard seltzer festival. Unlike White Claw and Truly, which are reportedly just fermented cane sugar with added fruit flavors, Lifted Libations uses nothing but organic distilled spirits and all-natural ingredients with no added sugar. The result from Lifted Libations is a pure, clean taste and buzz, which initially came offered via in the Currant, Orange, Lime, and Grapefruit flavors canned cocktails. New from Lifted Librations are 2 additional flavors: Mile High Mule (Vodka, Ginger and Lime) and Tee Time (Vodka, Tea and Lemonade) — and the greatness continues!
CANTEEN is a line of canned vodka and sodas in a variety of refreshing flavors. CANTEEN’s products made with real vodka and all-natural ingredients in a 12-ounce can that will actually fit in your boat or golf-cart cup-holders and koozies; founder Brandon Cason made the cans in a regular size for this exact reason since skinny cans fall all over the place. Cason also founded Waterloo Sparkling Water and served as the longtime Vice President of Marketing for Deep Eddy Vodka prior to the launch of CANTEEN. All 5 flavors — Watermelon, Black Cherry, Lime, Grapefruit and Cucumber Mint, with more expected to be launching in Fall 2020 — carry 5 percent ABV, 99 calories, zero carbs and no grams of sugar in each can. Single-flavor 6-packs of CANTEEN currently have a suggested retail price of $9.99, while variety packs are expected to be on the market in the very near-future.
Created by renowned Los Angeles bartender Aaron Polsky, the Live Wire Cocktail Company is all about the people, putting the creators of these delicious drinks front and center by making their involvement more than just a recipe, but also the image of the brand and the benefactors of their sales. In turn, if bartenders are “the new rock stars,” then LiveWire is a new record label. Polsky is working with the world’s best bartenders to create exceptional canned cocktails using the best ingredients. Decked out in specially-designed aluminum cans, LiveWire brings the taste one can only find in cool bars created by their top bartenders to the masses. LiveWire’s first offering — Polsky’s most famous cocktail — The Heartbreaker was conceived at Coachella. When it emerged at the festival it was very originally called the Tequila Grapefruit Mule and it sold like gangbusters. The result is a crisp and juicy blend of vodka, oroblanco grapefruit, kumquat, jasmine, and ginger, with notes of honey and a bubbly finish. It’s a delightful combination of an expertly-crafted Moscow Mule and a fine, fine Paloma Also available in stores now is the Honeydew Collins, an electrifying mix of gin, honeydew, lime leaf, coconut and elderflower by fellow Harvard & Stone alum Joey Bernardo.
Social Hour Cocktails
Social Hour is a line of ready-to-drink, canned cocktails inspired by Julie Reiner (Clover Club, Leyenda) and Clover Club’s longtime Beverage Director Tom Macy’s favorite drink recipes. Made locally with spirits from New York City’s premier craft distillery, the New York Distilling Company, Social Hour simultaneously evolves the craft cocktail category while elevating the caliber of ready-to-drink cocktails available. Social Hour’s Gin & Tonic, Whiskey Mule and Pacific Spritz — all launched earlier this month in New York and New Jersey with more markets to follow shortly — let drinkers enjoy authentic craft cocktails anytime with a low-ABV above. The Pacific Spritz, an airy Aperitivo-style cocktail clocks in at 8 percent ABV, with grapefruit, a hint of passionfruit, and of course bubbles. Light and refreshing, the Spritz steers away from sweetness and delights with fizzy, pleasantly bitter flavor notes. Definitely a brand to keep your eye on, especially with a great name like that.
Acclaimed hard kombucha maker JuneShine now has a 100-calorie offering on the market, JuneShine 100. For those who may be getting sick of hard seltzers, here is a low-calorie, canned, hard kombucha. This high-quality, refreshing and organic beverage comes in sleek 12-ounce cans with 2 flavors: Pineapple Orange and Hibiscus Lime. Both flavors have only 100 calories and 1 gram of sugar per can, offering the same great benefits and taste of JuneShine’s original flavors but at a lower alcohol content of 4.2 percent ABV. Both flavors of JuneShine 100 are also organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, and feature probiotics, antioxidants and vitamins. The brand is not only committed to creating high-quality, organic beverages, but also to minimizing their carbon footprint, powering its brewery with 100 percent renewable energy through SDG&E’s EcoChoice and donating 1 percent of all sales to the acclaimed non-profit organization known as 1% For The Planet.
Cupcake Vineyards Rosé
A bit of a different format here, Cupcake Vineyards has “Rosé in a can” on the market and its website features an interesting “Rosé Lemonade can-tail recipe,” which is easy to make.
– 1 can of chilled Cupcake Vineyards Rosé
– 2 oz. of Lemonade
– 1/2 oz. Lemon jJuice
– 1/4 oz. Agave
– Garnish: Fruit, Mint (optional)
– Pour half the can of Rosé into a separate cup to sip or save.
– Pour remaining ingredients directly into the can and swirl to mix.
– Garnish with mint and a lemon wedge and serve!