If you're staring down the ghastly specter of a day at the beach or BBQ without booze, consider canned Cutwater tequila margaritas, friend. If you can keep these ready-to-drink cocktails icy-cold, you'll thank yourself for it.
Cutwater Spirits launched in 2017 thanks to a couple of guys who had already founded an excellent brewery, Ballast Point. Their Tequila Margarita, which features those spirits- available in peach, lime, mango, pineapple and strawberry-has plenty of fans.
Margs aside, Cutwater has also gotten into the canned Paloma, tequila soda, mojito, vodka soda, and "ranch water"--a mix of tequila, soda and water-game. You can often find cartons of the slim, 12-ounce cans at the local liquor store. We love canned drinks for pool parties, when glass breakage can be a concern. (Don't sleep on the variety packs, because it's pretty fun taste-tasting with pals.)
Pro tip: Cutwater has recently launched frozen cocktail pops, so if the hydration and dilution of real ice cubes doesn't interest you, the brand suggests dunking those into your canned margaritas. (For us, this is a bridge too far, as the cans are already between 10% and 12.5% ABV-about two shots of tequila in each.)
But on to the reviews!
Lime Tequila Margarita (Classic)
You know what? This is shockingly good. A little salty, and not at all sweet, there's a reason the lime marg dominated this roundup of "best canned cocktails." You crack it open, pour it into a glass over rocks if you've got 'em, and you're golden.
If you have them, we'd add lime wheels. (We found the taste of the drink a little salty already, so we'd pass on a salt rim.) The only thing missing from the experience was that juicy pop of fresh-squeezed lime juice, which no canned cocktail can mimic. So do garnish with a wheel of it-and be sure the can itself is icy-cold. It benefits the taste enormously-beach or no beach.
To sum up: This is absolutely a passable substitute for the real deal. At home, pour over ice, add chips and salsa, and save money on happy hour.
We love a good mango margarita: It's got the viscosity of the fruit itself, with that silky pulpy essence. Cut with bright lime and floral tequila, it's a no-brainer go-to order at the local Mexican restaurant.
This is, sadly, not that mango margarita.
Shelf stability can be tricky with canned cocktails, so often something is lost in translation. This is an example of that, unfortunately. For some in our party, this brought on nostalgia-and not in a good way-for the giant red-and-yellow McDonald's "orange drink" tank ubiquitous at soccer games and school dances in the '80s. It tasted like a pale memory of mango, and needed tons of ice to be drinkable. (Mixed with the lime margarita, it was better.) So we'd pass on buying another four-pack of the stuff.
To sum up: We're a no-go for the mango.
Decently balanced and definitely improved by a spritz of fresh lime juice-as are all of these canned cocktails, if you've got lime kicking around-the peach isn't bad! It's hard to mimic the texture of fresh peach puree, and although Cutwater says peach puree is in here, it's impossible for it to pop as much as a peach marg you get at the local. But the tequila taste was front and center- and it's good tequila-and we liked the bouquets of pineapple, guava and cantaloupe.
To sum up: Pretty in peach! We'd hit it again, with ice and lime.
If we had a cold cucumber salad, gazpacho, or fruit tart to tuck into, a strawberry margarita might be one of the first drinks to come to mind. This was surprisingly decent, redolent of berries, tomato and watermelon. As is true of all these margs, we'd load up with lots of ice, a slice of lime, and maybe a salt rim for this one. Sliced strawberries layered into the glass would be a nice touch. We'll probably keep a can of this on hand in case we need to amp up a punch for a party.
To sum up: Would drink again. Consider for punch!
The classic piña-colada fruit isn't an intuitive fit for a margarita. One usually spies juicy, sweet pineapples paired with rum-and often, a lot of it! But we were intrigued to see it canned, with tequila. "Why not?" we thought.
This pairing, unfortunately, was the one tough sell of the bunch. With a very slight bitterness that couldn't be ameliorated, this one landed in spritzer territory. We liked it with fresh lime and seltzer, and considered adding a little simple syrup, too. Pineapple super-fans may still love it, though!
To sum up: Pass.
Pass us one of those lime margs, friends, and keep the cooler ice-cold for beach outings, because we'd absolutely tuck into these bad boys outside again.
READ MORE: The 12 Best Margarita Recipes from Prickly Pear to Texas Frozen