Ice is returning to coffee cups, dog owners are funneling back into parks, and coats are being tucked neatly away into the back of closets. Spring has finally arrived, and as much as we love Toddy season, sunnier weather signals exciting sips for drinks lovers.
While winter is all about enjoying a cozy cocktail by the fireplace (read: space heater), this time of year entails drinking outdoors and on the go. And as RTDs rise in popularity — the category is predicted to outpace spirits sales by 2025 — there’s no shortage of delicious portable beverages on the market. VinePair tasted through a wide array of those offerings to find the best of the best. From canned cocktails to beer, hard seltzer, and spiked water, these are the 30 best things to drink this spring.
Best Ready-To-Drink Cocktails (RTDs)
Miami Cocktail Co. Bellini Spritz
The original Bellini recipe developed by Giuseppe Cipriani at Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy, is made using just peach purée and Prosecco. Miami Cocktail Co., with its bright orange can, offers a uniquely vivid take on the classic cocktail, combining rosé wine with peach and mango juice in a 110-calorie crushable sipper ideal for everything from Mother’s Day brunch to a dog park meetup.
For a delicious RTD made with natural ingredients, Superbird is a fun, flavorful option that’s ripe for warm weather. The canned Paloma is made with tequila blanco, grapefruit juice, sparkling water, and beet juice for a sweet yet clean-tasting and sessionable beverage. While the original version contains 284 calories, the brand also offers a lightened-up version, Superbird Free, with just 95 calories and zero grams of both carbs and sugar.
BACARDÍ Real Rum Canned Mojito
With vibrant mint on the nose and palate, this is an incredibly inviting RTD to satisfy those warm- weather rum cravings. At less than 6 percent ABV, this is a relatively low-alcohol option that doesn’t compromise in flavor. It’s sure to be the star at any cookout or beach party this season.
Tanqueray Crafted Gin Cocktails in a Can Sevilla Orange & Soda
While there are plenty of delicious canned G&Ts on the market today, RTD gin and sodas are few and far between on liquor store shelves. For those who don’t like the polarizing quinine flavor of tonic, Tanqueray’s gin and soda touts a zesty aroma that’s endlessly crushable while still celebrating gin’s botanical flavors.
Death & Co Aurora Highball
The earthiness of green tea intertwines with the floral acidity of orchard fruit in this complex yet balanced cocktail from famed NYC cocktail institution Death & Co. Made with pear brandy, sake, and Woody Creek vodka, the palate on this RTD finishes with a refreshing hint of mint.
On the Rocks Premium Cocktails The Aviation
Love it or hate it, the Aviation is a classic for a reason. The creamy florality of crème de violette is balanced by the brightness of cherry liqueur and the acidity of fresh lemon juice, making this drink a pleasure to enjoy when cherry blossoms are in bloom. Drunk over a large rock of ice, this inviting, purple-hued tipple is spring in a glass.
Boochcraft Strawberry Lemonade
Light and subtle in flavor as far as hard kombuchas go, this strawberry lemonade from Boochcraft imparts a calming lavender aroma balanced by the savory, herbal notes we’ve come to expect from the popular fermented beverage. Even if you’re not typically a fan of kombucha, you’ll appreciate the refreshing nature of this iteration.
Buzzbox Cuban Mojito
Inspired by the country that spawned the original Mojito, Buzzbox’s single-serving boxed Cuban Mojito smells and tastes like real mint. This herbal component along with the acidity of lime offsets the drink’s classic sweetness. Drink it over ice for a more traditional serve, or straight from the box for outdoor adventures.
You & Yours Distilling Co. Meyer Lemon Vodka Soda
From San Diego-based distiller You & Yours comes this bright, juicy RTD made with grape-based vodka. The rich florality of Meyer lemon shines through with each nicely balanced sip, coming in at 7.5 percent ABV.
Hunni Sparkling Soju Yuzu + Elderflower
This 100-calorie, 4-percent-ABV sparkling soju offers a novel alternative to malt-based drinks with soft yet fragrant aromas of yuzu, an East Asian citrus fruit reminiscent of a mandarin orange. The bright floral notes of elderflower certainly don’t hurt, either.
Finnish Long Drink Traditional
The Long Drink is a beloved highball in Finland made with gin and various citrus juices. The Traditional Long Drink reminds us of a crowd-pleasing Fresca soda. Sweet orange and grapefruit notes make this a sessionable option designed for warmer weather.
Jiant Original Hard Kombucha
Brewed with green tea, passionfruit and elderflower, this crisp kombucha is light and refreshing, with subtle floral notes commingling with bold, tropical fruit flavors. At just 5 percent ABV and 120 calories, this also makes for a fitting hard seltzer alternative that’s a bit bolder and more complex for those chilly spring nights.
Best Hard Seltzers and Alcoholic Waters
Stewart’s Spiked Seltzer: Black Cherry
Sweet without being cloying, this black cherry seltzer from iconic soda brand Stewart’s has all the flavor and nostalgia of the soda aisle staple. Light and sessionable, its classic flavor offers sweetness and surprising complexity.
Funny Water Watermelon
What do you call hard seltzer without the bubbles? If you ask us, “Funny Water” is about as fitting as it gets. This non-carbonated alcoholic seltzer is ideal for those who prefer still to sparkling beverages, but also want to see what the hard seltzer craze is all about. The brand offers three refreshing flavors, and Watermelon was a favorite among VinePair’s tasting panel for its Jolly Rancher-esque flavor and day drinking appeal.
Hard Rock Hard Seltzer: Mojito
Bright and minty, this Mojito-flavored hard seltzer from the Hard Rock Café’s RTD line lightens up the classically sweet drink, coming in at 6 percent ABV and 130 calories. Like any well-made Mojito, this can is bursting with refreshing mint flavor and has a balanced sweetness on the palate. This is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your next picnic or barbecue — do it for the novelty, if nothing else!
Volley Sharp Grapefruit
Paloma people, this is the seltzer for you. Made with organic Texas grapefruit juice, tequila, and sparkling water, this is a full-flavored, citrus-forward drink to cool off during the warmest of days. Just be sure to gently flip (not shake!) the can a couple times before drinking to make sure the fresh fruit juice is well integrated throughout.
Two Robbers Mango Punch
This mango punch seltzer from Two Robbers’ third variety pack is crisp and refreshing. Made using real mango juice — no artificial flavoring here — this is an eye-catching can that’s perfect for an afternoon beach walk.
Ranch Rider Spirits Co. The Chilton
A boring vodka soda, this is not. This seltzer takes inspiration from Ranch Water, the West Texas staple made for long days working outdoors, by combining vodka with lemon, sea salt, and sparkling water. The result is a full-bodied RTD option with a zesty nose and palate that proves both sessionable and memorable.
Hornitos Tequila Seltzer Lime
Hornitos’ collection of tequila sodas to enjoy on the go includes Lime, Pineapple, and Mango flavors — the former being the favorite among VinePair’s tasting panel for its clean, natural taste and subtle tartness offset by the earthy sweetness of agave.
White Claw Surf Citrus Yuzu Smash
Your first hard seltzer is growing up. This relatively new offering from White Claw does a great job in capturing yuzu’s rich, tart appeal, sure to make a fan out of the uninitiated. Part of the brand’s more full-flavored Surf line, this seltzer’s zesty brightness is the reminder we need that spring has finally sprung.
Fruit Smash Hard Seltzer Cherry Lime Chill
Melted movie theater slushie meets Luxardo cherry liqueur in this distinctly nostalgic hard seltzer. This is undoubtedly a fun sipper, from the aughts-inspired graphics on its can to its candy-like taste. Bring a case of these to a picnic, and you’ll surely be the life of the party.
Best Spring & Summer Beers
Hop Dogma Brewing Company Pilsner
Crisp and fresh, with notes of blooming lilacs and fresh apple cider, this is a light yet flavorful pilsner with balanced bitterness. Coming from Half Moon Bay, Calif.’s Hop Dogma, this German-inspired brew is sessionable and refreshing, with great body and a long finish.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Sunny Little Thing
A new addition to Sierra Nevada’s Little Thing line, Sunny Little Thing is an easy-drinking wheat ale with subtle notes of juicy orange to balance hoppy bitterness. With a festive can, and low ABV (just 5 percent), this offering could easily turn a dedicated hard seltzer fan into a beer drinker.
Our Mutual Friend Brewing Company Yellow Vibrations
Honeysuckles are blooming, and this farmhouse ale from Denver’s Our Mutual Friend captures the flower’s sweet aromatics in a vivid, expressive brew that’s fermented with real Colorado honey. The result is crushable enough to sip from spring into summer.
Golden Road Mango Cart
A brew to please any crowd, Golden Road’s Mango Cart is as easy-drinking as it gets. The brew smells and tastes like real mango, is fruity without being overly sweet, and makes for an ideal addition to any park meetup on especially warm days that signal summer’s arrival.
Elysian Contact Haze Hazy IPA
From Seattle’s Elysian Brewing, this double dry-hopped brew is inspired by 1950s science fiction, and its flavors are truly out of this world. Muted in its bitterness and high in tropical fruit flavors, this is a perfect New England IPA to ring in the warmer seasons. Notes of juicy orange, guava, and raspberry fruit are met with expressive, citrusy, hop-forward aromas.
East Brother Beer Company Maibock
From Richmond, Calif., comes a rich German-style lager. With floral notes delicately offset by Noble hop spice, this annual spring release from the brewery has a creamy mouthfeel and a 7 percent ABV. Think of this as a rich yet sessionable lager.
WeldWerks Brewing Co. Key Lime Pie Berliner
A Colorado beer inspired by one of America’s favorite desserts, this key lime pie-flavored sour ale is a party in your mouth. A beer that starts out mouth-puckeringly sour evolves on the palate, finishing with sweetly nutty notes that evoke the dessert’s graham cracker crust. One sip will transport you to the sunny Florida Keys, even if you’re in the midst of one of those infamous April showers.
Destination Unknown Beer Co. Berry Necessary
From Long Island’s DUBCO, Berry Necessary is a reddish-hued fruited sour brewed with lactose. Its flavor is reminiscent of a strawberry milkshake, and a tart backbone brightens its palate and balances lingering sweet notes.
Blue Moon LightSky Tropical Wheat
Beer meets the Piña Colada in this tropical-scented wheat ale. While its notes of pineapple give this can a beachy appeal, bold, zesty notes of orange peel add depth to the brew — positioning it perfectly for late spring. For lovers of hard seltzer, this is a great light beer with which to break into the category.