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 and Reviews for Ready-to-Drink Cocktails

205318
Crafthouse
Moscow Mule
Cloudy straw beige color. Earthy aromas of fresh cut ginger and pepper with a tangy and nicely tingling medium-to-full body and a long, peppery, honeyed ginger finish. On the rocks brings out an interesting tropical fruit dimension. A tremendous rendition of a Moscow Mule cocktail with outstanding natural ginger character; a world class RTD. Serve on the rocks.
96 points $19.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
205319
Crafthouse
Paloma
Opaque pearly straw color. Pleasing vegetal agave aromas of roasted yellow peppers, yams, dates with grapefruit zest high note. Tart with a medium-to-full body and a grapefruit compote palate with the emphasis on the rind. On the rocks things liven up and the citrus rind and agave balances out nicely with a long mouthwatering finish. Definitely a more serious Paloma than just tequila and Squirt. Serve on the rocks.
94 points $19.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215903
Doc Pepe’s Lab
Single Barrel Old Fashioned
Bright amber color. Attractive, complex aromas and flavors of cedar and sandalwood, roasted pecans, honeyed dried fruits, and delicate spices and tobacco with a satiny, bright, moderately sweet medium-to-full body and a warming, complex, long caramelized dried cherries, peppery spices, and toasty oak finish. A delicious barrel-aged Old Fashioned with a great balance of cocktail fruitiness, spice and barrel woodiness.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213659
Coppa
Long Island Iced Tea Cocktail
Minutely hazy gold color. Baked aromas and flavors of spiced yams and oranges, cola, and sarsaparilla with an even, vibrant, moderately sweet medium-full body and a sleek, intricate, medium-length rich brown spices, gingerbread, lemon tea, and mincemeat finish. A solid cola cocktail.
91 points $13.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
201770
Soleil
Mango Mimosa
Bright egg yolk yellow color. Bold sliced mango aromas and flavors with a rich, fruity sweet medium-full body and a hint of honey, coconut and violet candy on the finish. Delicious and pure. This is sure to be a hit at parties.
91 points $12 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
204987
High West
The 36th Vote Barreled Manhattan
Deep copper bronze color. Aromas of orange zest, dried cherry, spice, waxy honeycomb, and praline with a silky, fruity sweet medium-to-full body and a nicely balance finish. On the rock, more integration with some sassafras, herb, and tropical fruit notes emerging. Very nice and approachable, a little like an Old fashioned. Serve on the rocks.
90 points $49.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
200608
VnC Cocktails
Passionfruit Caprioska
True orange yellow color. Great pure passionfruit, apricot, and pear aromas and flavors. Punch-like and delicious. Try with a little sparkling wine for an even better bellini.
90 points $12.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
207251
Soleil
Pineapple Mimosa
Cloudy bright golden yellow color. Fruity aromas of pineapple and custard with a supple, petillant, fruity sweet medium-to-full body and a tingling, interesting, tropical fruit salad and chalk finish with no oak. A tasty pineapple treat.
89 points $11 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
205019
Ginger Grouse
Ginger Beer
Golden yellow. Aromas and flavors of ginger beer and mild nutty whisky with a mildly sweet, frothy medium-to-full body and a tangy apple and ginger candy finish. A solid ginger beer that is very tasty.
89 points $3.50 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215552
Tequiponch
Margarita Cocktail
Slivery green straw color. Aromas of dried lime, peppercorn, and yam with an tangy, fruity sweet body and a stimulating, medium-length honeyed limes, hint of herbs and ginseng, and minerals finish. A solid margarita that is sure to please.
88 points $13.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab