That's the Spirit!

Playing favourites with ready-to-drink cocktails.

There’s really nothing more convenient than filling your fridge or cooler with a selection of ready-to-drink cocktails when you’re expecting lots of guests. The question is which drinks to choose. We find it helps to group them according to the spirit base at the heart of the cocktail, narrowing the field. That way, if you know your uncle likes gin but your auntie prefers rum, you can find something for each of them that they’re bound to enjoy.

For the Vodka Lover

These three cocktails showcase vodka’s amazing versatility—two of them attractively retro, one very contemporary. Check out the classic version of a Moscow Mule, a most imperial Caesar and a tropical fruit salad of fresh juices and spirit. Serve them on the rocks and then gussy them up with a garnish as a finishing touch, if you so desire.

Russian Standard Moscow Mule

Sharply carbonated and bittersweet, this tastes like a freshly made cocktail. On the nose and in terms of flavour, ginger, lime and mint jostle for dominance. And it’s a local product, made right here in Ontario.


Mott’s Clamato The Works Caesar

A good Caesar has a lot going on—which certainly describes this “limited edition” cocktail, also known as The Works. Horseradish is the extra ingredient, adding to the overall salty, savoury character and the well-judged spice level.


Woody’s Passion Fruit & Pomelo

Produced in the U.K., Woody’s has a sterling reputation for authentic flavours. You can taste the real passion fruit and pomelo juices in this fruity, fizzy concoction. Refreshingly, it’s not too sweet.


For the Gin Lover

The point about gin is that you want to taste it. Gin has personality, an individual identity—which is why it is proving so popular with millennials who prize things that are artisanal and unique. There are some weird and soapy gin drinks out there; these three are nothing of the kind.

Cabana Coast Cucumber Gin & Tonic

Cucumber and gin have a shared affinity that comes to the fore in this sophisticated cocktail, while lime and mint make their own harmonious contributions. It all comes together as if freshly made by a talented bartender.


Dixon’s Gin Fusion Sparkling Lemon Cocktail

Dixon’s distillery in Guelph makes the gin—and mixes up the cocktail in the can. Citrus dominates, as you might expect, and the effect is clean and dry, especially when served on the rocks. A slice of Granny Smith apple makes a fine garnish.


Georgian Bay Gin Smash

A modern classic, this sophisticated smash finishes delectably dry and tart with a forthright mint aroma straddling the sharp citrus scent of lemon, lime and tangerine. The telltale flavour of Georgian Bay gin is more than an afterthought.


For the Rum Lover

There must be an almost infinite number of variations of rum punch—certainly as many as there are beaches in the Caribbean—a drink that’s as much a part of island hospitality as sunshine itself. Here are three that tuck the rum away behind the brightness of different citrus and tropical fruit.

Breezer Sparkling Grapefruit & Mandarin

“Spiked sparkling water with a hint of grapefruit and mandarin,” reads the can. Exactly so. Light, fresh and not at all sweet, it offers the scent and taste of grapefruit zest with a measure of white rum. There are only 120 calories in the 355-mL can.


Bacardi Rum Punch

Yes, there’s Bacardi white rum in there but it’s hidden by delectable pineapple, mango and passion-fruit juices that linger as a tropical aftertaste. This is definitely one to serve cold—with a twist of orange zest to echo the unexpected citrus finish to the cocktail’s swirl of flavour.


Riptide Blue Hawaiian

Yes, it’s blue—well, actually a pale turquoise colour. And though you’d think something “Hawaiian” must involve pineapple, this is actually an orange-and-coconut-flavoured cooler—a tiki cocktail in a can. Fizzy and fruity-sweet, it doesn’t take life too seriously.