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

Old Forester Ready-to-Drink Mint Julep
96 points
$24.99
Medium golden amber color. Oaky aromas and flavors of masa and caramel, violet, eucalyptus, and demerara with a glycerous, sweet medium-to-full body and a warming, involved, medium-length aromatic bitters, crystalized ginger, peppermint, and caraway seed finish. A dead ringer for a freshly-made Mint Julep.
Awards: 2017 Best Ready-to-Drink Cocktail
96 points $24.99
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.
Original Bartenders Margarita
91 points
$9.99
Best Buy
Golden green color. Rustic, inviting aromas and flavors of vanilla caramel and roasted marshmallow, lime zest, salt water taffy, and roasted nuts and agave with a round, racy, sweet medium body and a complex, medium-length salted butterscotch with orange zest finish. True tequila flavors shine in this ready-to-drink margarita.
91 points $9.99 Best Buy
Coppa Long Island Iced Tea Cocktail
91 points
$13.99
Best Buy
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
Cutwater Spirits Old Grove Gin and Tonic Ready-To-Drink Cocktail
90 points
$14.99
Best Buy
Silver clear color. Green aromas of cucumber and watermelon, biscuit, thyme, and lavender with a satiny, lively, bubbly, moderately sweet light body and an interesting, medium-length Italian lemonade, quinine, and grapefruit peel finish. A great cucumber number with a long, refreshing finish.
90 points $14.99 Best Buy
Georgian Bay Gin Smash
89 points
$3.50
Best Buy
Clear color. Citrusy aromas of lemon-lime soda and mint with a round, vibrant, bubbly, sweet light-to-medium body and a short celery leaf, crystalized lemon and lime peel, ginger candy, and bitter almond finish. A citrusy-sweet refresher for the beach with very subtle juniper notes.
89 points $3.50 Best Buy
Soleil Pineapple Mimosa
89 points
$11
Best Buy
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
Frissé Rosé Frizzante Sangria
88 points
$10.99
Best Buy
Neon light ruby color. Sweet, confected aromas and flavors of cranberry juice cocktail, sweet lemonade, white grape and strawberry, and cotton candy with a satiny, racy, fruity sweet light body and an effortless, charming, snappy fresh celery and tangerine finish. A light and breezy wine spritzer that is super sessionable.
88 points $10.99 Best Buy
Tequiponch Margarita Cocktail
88 points
$13.99
Best Buy
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
Cuesta Mesa Margarita
88 points
$15.99
Best Buy
Pale light hazy slivery straw color. Waxy aromas of honey baked citrus, scented candle, and citrus gelatin with a silky, tangy, fruity sweet light-to-medium body and a sleek, charming, lime taffy, orange drink, and pineapple finish. A tasty, lightly tropical margarita.
88 points $15.99 Best Buy