About Ready-to-Drink Cocktails

Ready to Drink cocktails, or RTDs, are just that: conveniently packaged, alcohol-included cocktails that are ready to drink on their own, chilled, or with ice.

Sometimes referred to as flavored malt beverages (FMBs), malternatives, alcopops, or even "wine coolers", these started out as sweet, fruity, "highly palatable" concoctions using cheaper malt alcohol bases in the US in the late 1980's through 2004. In recent years, the category has migrated towards more classic cocktails conceptions using fresher, more natural tasting ingredients and clearly identifiable distilled spirits as their base.

Top Picks for Ready-to-Drink Cocktails

Novo Fogo Original Lime Sparkling Caipirinha Ready-to-Drink Cocktail
96 points
$15.99
Best Buy
Clear color. Aroma of funky cane with a satiny, vibrant, fruity light-to-medium body and a seamless, complex, medium-long key lime, apricot, grilled fruits and vegetables, coconut, lychee, and guanabana finish. A delicious, perfectly funky caipirinha in a can.
96 points $15.99 Best Buy
Doc Pepe’s Lab Cuvée Reserve Barrel Old Fashioned
95 points
$48
Dark amber color. Sweet aromas of caramel, fresh cigar, and grilled peach with a syrupy, very sweet medium-full body and a subtle, very long vanilla cola, ginger powder, dark caramel and butterscotch, and milk chocolate and clove finish. Barrel aged spirits lovers with be over the moon with this rich ready-to-drink cocktail.
Cutwater Tequila Lime Margarita RTD
94 points
$14.99
Best Buy
Hazy slivery straw color. Spicy, earthy aromas of bay leaf, dried lime, smoked poblano, and spiced tea with a round, crisp, sweet light-to-medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-length grilled peach, lime confection, coconut cookies, and elotes finish. An interesting and earthy cocktail that will play well with Latin fare; serve on the rocks.
Awards: 2018 Best Other RTD
94 points $14.99 Best Buy
Candid Cocktails Bourbon Whiskey with Honey, Ginger, Lemon and Apple Juice Ready-to-Drink Cocktail
93 points
$17.99
Best Buy
Light gold color. Aromas of cinnamon pastry, birch, ginger, lemon bar, caramel, and candied orange peel with a round, vibrant, moderately sweet medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-long vanilla, oak, and fondant finish. A completely delicious canned whiskey sour that will be well loved.
93 points $17.99 Best Buy
SoulBoxer Bourbon Old Fashioned RTD
93 points
$19.99
Best Buy
Amber color. Aromas of brandied cherries, flamed orange, raspberry cheesecake, candied almond, dried apricot, and nougat with a velvety, bright, fruity medium body and a polished, stimulating, medium-long cocoa nib, coconut creme, cinnamon, anise, and clove finish. A tasty and vibrant Old Fashioned that brings piles of spicy flavors.
93 points $19.99 Best Buy
Rancho La Gloria Margarita 100% Agave Wine Cocktail
93 points
Pale cloudy golden green color. Citrusy, attractive aromas and flavors of lime and lemon curds, meringue, and tropical and green apple starburst candy with a supple, tangy, fruity sweet medium-to-full body and a smooth, delightful, long finish with notes of lime sorbet, honeyed mango and orange, and wisp of peppered jicama finish. A rich and tangy crowd-pleasing margarita with vibrant citrus flavor and long mouthwatering finish. Serve on ice.
Cutwater Fugu Mild Bloody Mary RTD
93 points
$14.99
Best Buy
Murky ruby color. Aromas of tomato, kosher dill, lemon zest, celery leaf, and caraway and basil with a supple, crisp, dryish medium-to-full body and a peppery, layered, long horseradish, black pepper, and southern hot sauce finish. A great ready-to-drink bloody with plenty of horseradish kick; serve on ice.
93 points $14.99 Best Buy
Novo Fogo Sparkling Caipirinha RTD
93 points
$15.99
Best Buy
Clear color. Spicy aromas and flavors of peppered artichoke, dressed arugula, grilled sugar cane, and charred plantain with a satiny, vibrant, fruity sweet light-to-medium body and a peppery, interesting, medium-length finish with nuances of lime confection and pineapple-banana finish. A peppery and citrusy cocktail with gobs of rustic sugar cane notes.
93 points $15.99 Best Buy
Mezzo Spritz Blood Orange Cider Ready-to-Drink Cocktail
92 points
Golden amber color. Aromas and flavors of baked apple, grapefruit peel, orange marmalade, honey, gentian, celery leaf, and wild lemon with a satiny, vibrant, dryish medium body and a smooth, charming, medium-long finish. An ultra-refreshing spritz with a hint of palate-opening bitterness; a great summer crusher with lovely cider tannins.
Handy & Schiller Barreled Old Fashioned Ready-to-Drink Cocktail
92 points
$39.99
Copper color. Aromas of chinese 5-spice, sesame, hint of mint, and tobacco with a satiny, moderately sweet light-to-medium body and a warming, interesting, medium-length allspice, clove, vanilla steamer, peanut brittle, chewy caramel, and roasted nuts finish. A spicy-sweet cocktail with great drinkability.
92 points $39.99