8 Popular Cutwater Canned Cocktails, Ranked Worst To Best

Although I love making cocktails as an experience at home, there's something extra special about having someone make a drink for you. Easy access to a canned version of your favorite cocktail is a pretty close second to some professional mixes. This is why I was so eager to taste and rank Cutwater's canned cocktails.

Cutwater is one of many canned cocktail brands that offer an impressive array of canned cocktails in many different varieties from margaritas to martinis. There are even a couple of unexpected ones, like a Long Island iced tea and Cutwater's Tiki Room Mai Tai. I tested some of the brand's popular drinks, so to rank these drinks firsthand. When sampling, I looked for cocktails that were enjoyable to sip and tasted like something I might purchase at a lounge during a night on the town. The ones that scored highest ended up with a nice balance of flavors that had some strength to them without tasting overpowering. 

Recommendations are based on first-hand impressions of promotional products provided by Cutwater.

8. Tequila Paloma

When it comes to a paloma cocktail, the mixture of tequila, grapefruit juice, lime, and soda water leads the way. However, Cutwater does it a little differently with its canned Tequila Paloma, choosing grapefruit soda instead of juice and soda water. This combination of tequila and grapefruit soda is very mild. The primary reason this one ranks at the bottom of my list is that I found the grapefruit soda to be far too subtle. I would have loved to have seen more grapefruit flavor come through and mix with the tequila.

When it comes to serving, the instructions on the can recommend rimming a glass with salt to enjoy this one. I opted to try something a bit different: I put salt on just a small section so the whole rim wasn't impacted. To make this one a little more flavorful, I highly recommend adding in some grapefruit juice and even a squeeze of lime to make this one much more enjoyable.

7. Vodka Mule

You just can't enjoy a Moscow mule without a copper mug. Okay, of course you can, but especially when sipping a cocktail from a can, I love jazzing it up whenever possible. So, for this one, I got some of my crunchy ice into a cooper mug.

Cutwater calls it a vodka mule, but this one is essentially a Moscow mule because it's made with ginger beer, vodka, and lime. The mix is quite light and made for very easy sipping. Where vodka can be very strong, the main flavors happening here are lime and, most notably, ginger beer. While I enjoy the mix as it stands for drinking causally, it feels far too easy going to be a cocktail. This can was one of my lesser favorites because I felt it should be stiffer, even if the flavor was a bit more enjoyable than the grapefruit. If you leave your expectations for a cocktail aside, it is well balanced to enjoy like a seltzer or wine cooler.

6. Long Island Iced Tea

When I cracked open the can of Cutwater Long Island Iced Tea, immediate visions of a crowded college bar came washing over my memory. This Long Island iced tea is identical to the ones bars in my college town would make in huge batches. As Andy Bernard from "The Office" calls them, they're sometimes known as a "bad decision in a glass." Even still, they make for a refreshing beverage on a warm summer day, and living in Florida, we get plenty of those.

Although I'm not a fan of Coca-Cola or Pepsi, I like it when it accompanies other things, and in a Long Island Iced Tea, it acts as both a nice coloring and just a little bit of extra sweetness and flavor. Unfortunately, I did find that the cola flavoring feels a little flat, even though it does seem to play its role overall. The rest of the flavors are certainly present as well with the tequila, gin, rum, and vodka meshing together to create that combination of brightness and bite. Although a Long Island Iced Tea isn't something I've ordered at a bar in a very long time, sipping one from Cutwater is definitely an enjoyable experience. The cola aspect did impact my overall preference, leading to a lower ranking on this drink versus some of the other citrus or coffee-forward drinks on this list.

5. Lemon Drop Martini

Though I enjoy martinis, they always verge a little on the too strong side for me, so I poured this one by Cutwater with a bit of trepidation. The first sip, however, proved that this was wholly unnecessary.

The lemon drop martini has a balance of sweetness, tart, and strength to create a drink that is sippable while also being widely enjoyable — just not for those who like a strong martini. I poured my chilled martini into a coup glass and found it tasty and easy drinking. It does feel a little like a lemonade as you continue drinking, so stanch martini fans may not enjoy this one. The casual drinker, however, will likely enjoy this one quite a lot. If you're concerned about whether the drink may be strong enough, consider having some vodka on hand to strengthen it and bring it to a level you're happy with — one of the major reasons this is a middling option. 

Though this one wasn't my favorite, I rank it in the middle of the pack because I can imagine many could find this enjoyable. Cutwater's Lemon Drop Martini probably wouldn't be the first can I'd pull from the fridge, however, especially if I wanted something with more substance, like the brand's take on classic cocktails. 

4. Lime Margarita

The drinks I tried from Cutwater explain there are either one or two shots of liquor in mix, according to symbols on the cans, but many of them still tasted too light even with "two shots." However, the lime margarita, which has two shots of liquor, went an impressively long way to making it taste much stronger than the other canned cocktails from the brand. The Cutwater margarita actually tastes much closer to a drink that you might enjoy at a bar or lounge. At 12.5% alcohol, compared to the 7% of the paloma, it certainly should be.

To serve this one, I rimmed my glass with salt to try to make the perfect margarita. The Cutwater canned margarita with a salt rim definitely has the feel of a the classic recipe. I would recommend pouring this one out of the can and into a more appropriate glass to give him a full effect. While certainly enjoyable, this is still a middle flavor for me when compared to Cutwater's coffee-infused options. I found that a greater lime flavor might have made the lime margarita more of a standout. That said, because the tequila was more pronounced, this drink is a solid option.

3. White Russian

This Cutwater canned cocktail is much more milky than I was expecting. In a word: yum. The flavor of the brand's white Russian recipe really comes from the coffee liqueur. While the coffee flavor is certainly present here, the main piece you're going to notice is just how smooth it is, especially pouring from a can. This drink could easily go down too quickly, so do proceed with some level of caution! 

I enjoyed mine poured over ice, but it could certainly be drunk right from the chilled can. If you like your white Russians a little more on the strong side, have some Kailua ready to amp up the drink. I could easily forget this version of a white Russian is from a can, however, and if it were served to me at a lounge, I'd have no idea the bartender just poured it right into my glass. Although I enjoyed this one, I still wish it were a bit stronger with the liqueur, even if that flavor was quite tasty. Due to its overall nod to the original and the feeling that it came from somewhere fancier than a can, I found Cutwater's White Russian to be one of my favorites on the list.

2. Espresso Martini

With as much as I enjoy coffee drinks every day, it was only a matter of time before I fell in love with the most delicious espresso martini. Thankfully, there are canned cocktail brands that are coming out with versions that you can drink right from the comfort of your own home. Cutwater's Espresso Martini can says it has two shots of vodka, coffee cream liqueur, and some kind of cold brew coffee flavoring. 

The mix amounts to a very smooth flavor that tastes closer to chocolate milk at first sip than anything else. Subsequent drinks allow the flavors to come through, and this is where you'll get your coffee taste. While the espresso element is definitely on the more mild side, but the notes of the coffee liquor do a lovely job of building over time. As one of my favorite in Cutwater's canned cocktail lineup, I appreciated the balance and subtle strength of the blend. I also appreciated that shaking the can before pouring also added a nice foam to the top as you get when enjoying an espresso martini in a lounge. Sure I'm currently loving espresso martinis, but this drink was certainly one of the most delicious and smoothest drinks in the bunch and why it earned one of the top spots. 

1. Tiki Rum Mai Tai

Mai tais are one of those drinks that are easy to fall in love with. Cutwaters' Tiki Rum Mai Tai is a blend of rum, coconut, pineapple, and some other unnamed citrus. Even though the can said it has two shots of rum in this martini, the drink tastes something closer to juice than an alcoholic drink.

To enjoy mine, I opted to pour it into crushed ice in my Star Wars tiki mug to really gather the full effect of a tiki style drink. Although this one certainly did not have a strong alcohol taste, the flavor of the drink itself was sippable and definitely reminded me of other mai tais I've had in restaurants and bars. The overall balance made this my favorite flavor among the bunch. If you're used to a more citrusy mai tai recipe, you'll find this one to be a little sweeter with a strong pineapple taste — but that's what made this canned cocktail quite enjoyable. Of all the drinks I tried, this was the one that earned itself a finished can and rightly earning that top spot.


Although I love beer and wine, I am more of a cocktail girl at heart. The ability to have easy cocktails on hand for a drink as I settle down in the evening is definitely a huge draw for me. With that in mind, over the course of several nights, I enjoyed each of these canned beverages as I typically do when I enjoy homemade cocktails at home. 

After sipping each one, I ranked them according to their overall enjoyment factor, including important aspects as balance between the different elements in the drink and overall taste of alcohol since I like to know I'm sipping something more than just mixer. I found that flavor was the deciding factor between many of the choices, with the coffee liqueur-infused cocktails ranking above some of the fruit-forward options. I also noticed that if a drink was too weak, as in made with "one shot" of alcohol versus "two shots," the drink (generally) didn't fare as well. As a result, I searched for drinks without unnecessary sweetness that sometimes covered up the taste of liquor — something some readers might prefer. Overall, the drinks would, ideally, taste like similar cocktails I've previously enjoyed from a skilled mixologist. Some of the top contenders proved that a canned cocktail could hold up to the mixology test.