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.
On The Rocks The Jalapeño Pineapple Margarita Ready-To-Drink Cocktail
96 points
Gold color. Inviting aromas and flavors of pickled pineapple, sliced bell peppers, fresh agave, hot honey, green apple, and passion fruit with a round, lively, moderately sweet fat body and a peppery, thought-provoking, very long finish. A delicious ready-to-drink cocktail with balanced, concentrated flavors that surprise and delight.
96 points $11.99
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.
Lyre’s Classico Non Alcoholic Cocktail
96 points
Silver color. Aromas of lily, sweet lime, banana, candied pineapple, and coconut with a satiny, vibrant, spritzy, sweet medium body and a seamless, compelling, medium-long candied citrus and ginger and pineapple finish. A complex refresher that’s a dead ringer for Prosecco.
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 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.
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.
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 Ready-To-Drink Cocktail
94 points
Gold color. Aromas of caramel popcorn, dried cherry, honey, and orange candies with a slightly chewy, lively, off-dry medium-to-full body and a warming, involved, long honey-roasted nuts and Grand Marnier finish. It doesn’t get simpler that this. Pour this effortlessly pleasing Old Fashioned liberally and frequently.
94 points $11.99