The 6 Best Drinks in a Can for Tailgating This Fall

Just because it’s football season doesn’t mean you have to settle for drinking vaguely beer-flavored water.

If wanting to drink cans of Long Island wine in the parking lot at MetLife makes us bougie: Guilty as charged.  • Photo courtesy of Bridge Lane Wines

Have can, will travel. This should be the drinking mantra of all tailgating imbibers in this year of spirited innovation.

It’s not like this is a new idea (hello, Bud Light and my nearly forgotten summer of 1998), but drinks in cans have gotten a complete makeover. It’s no longer a choice between the worst light beers on the market. These days, even the most discerning palates can find great joy and comfort in the portable, crushable, and imminently imbibe-able canned drinks. But how should you can? With a plethora of options out there, which cans are right for you? We’re not just talking wine in a can anymore (come on, that is so Summer of 2016). These days, you have your pick: sparkler, spritz, still red, white, or rosé, or pre-mixed cocktail. Read on for a guide to finding your spirit can.

For the Drinker with a Sweetish-Tooth

Drink Ramona! Sommelier and restaurateur Jordan Salcito has found great success in her flirty and cute Ramona brand, which is essentially a wine cooler for people who have graduated from high school. It’s a wine spritz, essentially, flavored with Sicilian ruby grapefruit and best enjoyed straight from the can (straws be damned!). It’s also organic, all natural, gluten-free, and vegan, which is pretty much as 2018 as a drink can possibly be.

For the Non-Wine Lover 

So, you’re going to the big game and want something to sip on, but you’re not a wine person… or a beer person. If your best booze days are filled with the hard stuff (this is a no judgment zone, guys), the market has expanded to include you, too. Cutwater Spirits does an incredible job of producing all-inclusive batched can cocktails. Varieties include the tequila paloma, tequila margarita, bourbon whiskey highball, bourbon whiskey lemon tea, vodka mule, gin and tonic, bloody Mary, rum and ginger, rum and cola, cucumber vodka soda, grapefruit vodka soda, lime vodka soda, and orange vodka soda. There’s pretty much a cocktail for everyone, making the Cutwater line one of the most exciting developments of the past few years.

For the Bubble Lover

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Taking the long way today. P: @markevansdp

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Oregon’s Underwood produces a line of smart, fun, canned wines, but my favorites by far are the sparkling options. A gold colored can opens to a playful bubbly with notes of citrus, tropical fruit, and white flowers, while an iridescent pink can of sparkling rosé is full of wild strawberry, fruit cocktail, and tart cherry. These bubblers make even the most benign autumn afternoon feel festive and fancy-free.

For the Pink Drinker

Rosé in a can just screams summer, whatever the season—and there are many fine options on the market these days, if this is your bag. For my money, The Drop Rosé is just as good as any, with its affordable price tag ($16 for a 4-pack), approachable blend (Zinfandel, Chenin Blanc, and Syrah), and back note of sweetness. You might find that they go down a little too easy, but hey, tis the season for overindulgence. This is the ultimate summer wine in the ultimate summer packaging.

For the Lemonhead

If lemony goodness is your thing, you won’t want to miss out on the Fishers Island Lemonade, a blend of vodka, whiskey, and juice. The drink harkens back to The Pequot Inn, Fishers Island’s only bar, which has been in existence for over 100 years. The company also donates one percent of all its sales to local nonprofits, so you can feel a little philanthropic when you pick up a pack for game day.

For the Locavore

If you prefer your Long Island afternoons to be accompanied by Long Island wine, look no further than Bridge Lane Wine. Cans come in five varieties: White Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Rosé, and Red Blend. The can colors represent the rainbow of drinking possibility and can be ordered online through the company’s website. The winery is based in Mattituck, and wines are definitely high quality (which is reflected in the price: at $8.50 per can, these do not come cheap). But one should never cut corners when it comes to good food and drink, so consider shelling out the extra cash for some quality juice, can notwithstanding.

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Hannah Selinger

Hannah Selinger is a freelance food and wine writer and sommelier living in East Hampton. Her work has appeared in the such publications as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and RawStory.com. She is the wine columnist for the Southampton Press.