The Art of Crafting Signature Cocktails: A Mixologist's Guide

San Diego’s Best Canned Cocktails

The key to a good canned cocktail is having a quality base spirit, says Laura Johnson, founder and CEO of You & Yours Distilling in San Diego, which has a growing line of canned cocktails made with the distillery’s award-winning gins and vodka.

“You should be able to taste the booze,” Johnson says. “Malt beverages, seltzers, etcetera always have a bit of a dirty taste to me, and so with spirit-based canned cocktails, I like them to taste crisp and clean. I also like them to be rather dry with a nice balance of minimal sweetness.”

Over the last few years, canned cocktails have become increasingly creative—and ubiquitous—earning spots on store shelves next to craft beer and seltzers. San Diego is home to an impressive number of producers of these tasty, portable beverages, which are an ideal option during a picnic, on a hike, or around a campfire (consume responsibly!). As lovers of canned cocktails, we put together a list of picks.

Cutwater Spirits Whiskey Lemonade and Spicy Pineapple Margarita


The newest additions to Cutwater’s line of ready-to-drink cocktails—Whiskey Lemonade and Spicy Pineapple Margarita—are available only in the Golden State.


Cutwater Spicy Pineapple Margarita

The spirits purveyor was among the first to break into the canned cocktail scene and now offers more than two dozen varieties. Be careful with this one—it’s not only 10 percent ABV, but it’s got a really nice bite to it. If you like spice, this is the canned cocktail for you. The pineapple plays a starring role, but isn’t overly sweet. Enjoy it with a side of chips and guac.


Sundowner Passionfruit Daiquiri

Close your eyes and imagine a passion fruit daiquiri. Then take a sip of Sundowner’s version, made with a rum base, passion fruit, and lime. The thirst-quenching, goes-down-easy daiquiri is one of four offerings (ginger peach mule, spicy paloma, and vodka soda are the others) from this SD–based company.

You & Yours Blood Orange Gin & Tonic


You & Yours blends their award-winning gin with blood orange tonic water in their sunny canned take on the classic G&T.

You & Yours Blood Orange Gin & Tonic

The designs on Y&Y’s canned cocktails are as pretty and elegant as the drinks inside. This one, made with London dry gin and a blood orange–scented tonic water, is sophisticated with a subtle sweetness.

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The Beach Boys’ Mike Love teamed up with local distiller Seven Caves Spirits to produce Club Kokomo, a lineup of gin- and rum-based cocktails with beachy ingredients like passionfruit and guava.


Club Kokomo Mystique

Maybe you don’t love the song that this line of craft cocktails was named after, but you’ll love the drinks. A collaboration between Mike Love of the Beach Boys and Seven Caves Spirits, Club Kokomo has a unique approach to flavor combinations. This one is made with lychee, guava, jasmine, and lemon. Despite the juices, this cocktail is not too sweet, and the jasmine is a really nice touch.


Melograno Cucumber Lime Mojito

Made with agave wine, Melograno’s line of four canned cocktails are a little different from the others listed here. (You’d never know by the taste.) Mojitos have a tendency to be sugary, but Melograno’s version isn’t—in fact, the company prides itself on keeping the sugar content of its cocktails low at an impressive 5 grams per can. At five percent ABV, they’re also a great pick if you’re watching your liquor intake.

You & Yours Vodka Cocktails


Drier than other portable sips, You & Yours Distilling’s roster of vodka sodas come in creative flavors including tangerine, meyer lemon, and refreshing cucumber mint.


You & Yours Cucumber Mint Vodka Soda

It’s tough to choose a favorite among Y&Y’s six vodka-based canned cocktails, but this one stood out. The cucumber and mint play well together in a very refreshing, refined take on the classic vodka soda.


Cutwater Whiskey Lemonade

Despite including whiskey, this cocktail is surprisingly light, reminiscent of a nice, lemony iced tea. It’s tart, but not too much so, and quite refreshing.

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Made with agave wine, Melgrano’s line of canned cocktails clock in at a sessionable 5 percent ABV.

Melograno Pomegranate Cosmo

Don’t fear the cosmo! Melograno’s flagship canned cocktail is also its namesake drink (“melograno” means pomegranate in Italian). It’s a sophisticated, mellow take on the popular cranberry-based cocktail, served in a tall 12-ounce can.


SouthNorte Matador

After launching a successful line of craft beers, SouthNorte branched out to craft cocktails, creating three inspired by Mexican libations—a paloma, a Mexican mule, and the Matador, made with tequila, pineapple, lime, and club soda. It’s reminiscent of a margarita and just begging for you to get your day drink on. Be fancy and garnish the rim with a little spicy salt.

Seven Caves Canned Cocktails


Seven Caves’ rum- and gin-based bevs let you take the tiki bar experience on the go.


Seven Caves Saturn

Cheers to Seven Caves Spirits for taking on the challenge of putting this cult-classic tiki cocktail in a can. Made with the distillery’s Tiki Gin and citrus, it gets its color, and slightly earthy flavor, from turmeric and annatto. Keeping with the tiki theme, Seven Caves also makes a dangerously drinkable Poolside Punch and the 13 percent ABV, rum-based Three Dots and a Dash.


Club Kokomo Afternoon Delight

The ingredients sound like a holiday cocktail recipe: rum, citrus, maple, ginger, and allspice. But the flavor combination is surprisingly summery, with the maple providing perfect balance. This one’s 10 percent ABV, so kick back with a can after you’ve set up camp.