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

LiveWire Honeydew Collins
97 points
Clear color. Aromas of galangal, baked pineapple, lime leaf, and roasted peppers with a round, crisp, moderately sweet medium body and a very long sweet chile sauce, pineapple candies, and coconut cream finish. A curiously savory cocktail that really grows on you; balanced, quenching and interesting. This is a an awesome option for cocktail enthusiasts.
Cutwater Spirits White Russian
96 points
Straw color. Aromas and flavors of fresh cold brew, fresh cream, flan, brown sugar, and hints of malted milk balls with an crisp, sweet full body and a smooth, compelling, long finish. A really, really good creamy coffee cocktail; careful with this one.
LiveWire Golden God Ready-To-Drink Cocktail
96 points
Yellow straw color. Aromas and flavors of white peach and mango, elderflower, sweet orange blossom, and honey with a satiny, lively, bubbly, sweet light body and a smooth, refreshing, medium-long finish with nuances of sweet ginger and ripe pear. A friendly, fruity and floral cocktail that’s sure to please your guests; great for Moscato lovers, elderflower enthusiasts and Champagne cocktail drinkers.
On The Rocks The Jalapeño Pineapple Margarita RTD
96 points
Gold color. Aromas of dried pineapple, peach gummies, ginger, green bell pepper, and ripe gooseberry with a round, vibrant, fruity sweet medium-to-full body and a tingling, complex, medium-long jalapeño and apricot nectar finish. A smoky, spicy pineapple Margarita with tons of style; drinks like a freshly made craft cocktail.
Awards: 2021 Best Ready-To-Drink Cocktail
Novo Fogo Original Lime Sparkling Caipirinha Ready-to-Drink Cocktail
96 points
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
Cazadores Spicy Margarita
95 points
Cloudy slivery straw color. Aromas and flavors of lime agua fresca, fresh jalapeño, and honey with a satiny, vibrant, moderately sweet medium body and a warming, complex, medium-long finish with impressions of pear, melon, honey, and lime granita. A rock solid sparkling Margarita with a kick; balanced, spicy, and delicious.
Cutwater Spirits Black Skimmer Bourbon Whiskey Mule
95 points
Minutely hazy yellow color. Aromas of caramel and sweet lemon and lime with a satiny, lively, fizzy, off-dry medium body and a smooth, complex, medium-long hints of vanilla, spices, fresh ginger beer, roasted nuts, and hints of fruity whiskey finish. A rock solid Whiskey Ginger RTD; excellent true-to-life flavors.
Cutwater Spirits Gin & Tonic
95 points
Clear color. Aroma of fresh cucumber with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium body and a subtle, medium-long bitter quinine, hints of juniper, and other botanicals finish. A winner of a packaged Gin and Tonic; fresh cucumber flavors offer a refreshing and distinctive twist on this classic.
Drifter Craft Cocktails Spicy Margarita
95 points
Cloudy bright gold color. Aromas and flavors of crushed tangerine and ripe mango with a satiny, vibrant, moderately sweet light-to-medium body and a warming, compelling, medium-length finish evoking touches of mixed citrus sorbet and pineapple with tajin. A spicy, tropical Margarita; balanced and bubbly.
On The Rocks The Old Fashioned RTD
94 points
Golden amber color. Aromas and flavors of candied nuts, caramel, crystallized orange peel, and sweet oak with a satiny, bright, off-dry light body and a warming, complex, long finish with notes of warm spices and brown sugar finish. A rock-solid Old Fashioned with perfectly balanced sweetness.