What Kind Of Alcohol Is Actually In Canned Cocktails?

Thanks to the rise of technology, food and drinks have only gotten better over the years. While you once had to go to a bar to get yourself a fancy cocktail or even dish out money on a whole bottle of liquor, you can now buy them in a can. 

Beer used to be one of the only pre-packaged canned alcohols out there. Now, people are able to purchase pre-packaged canned cocktails at the same convenience as grocery shopping, with hundreds of brands offering customers canned alcoholic drinks. According to Grand View Research, the global canned alcoholic beverages market grew to over $10 billion in 2021 and is expected to rise through 2030. 

As a result, even more of these products are flooding the shelves to pique even more customers' interest. No matter what you prefer to drink, there's going to be a canned cocktail for it. Espresso Martini? Check. Mai Tai? Double check. Even a fancy daiquiri? Tip Top has one for you.

While indulging in these easy-to-drink canned cocktails, have you ever wondered what actually goes in them?

It depends on what you're sipping

With hundreds of new canned cocktails out on the market right now, you probably had your hopes up that you'd be sipping on the actual liquor that would be used to make the cocktail at a bar. Unfortunately, this usually isn't the case. According to The Takeout, the most popular canned cocktails — namely seltzers — actually use malt liquor. Yep, your beloved Trulys, White Claws, Ranch Waters, Topo Chicos, and more, are all malt liquor packaged all fancy.

This means that to make and package hard seltzer, all that's really needed is water, sugar, yeast, and whatever artificial flavor is desired. Once the yeast and sugar ferment, it is usually diluted with water to reach a lower alcohol-by-volume percentage. Additionally, canned cocktails contain a variety of additives, including citric acids, oils, chemical preservatives, colorings, carbon dioxide (of course for the bubbles), and artificial sweeteners (via Wine Mag).

On the other hand, you'll likely be happy to hear that there are indeed brands that use real liquor in their canned cocktails. Basically, any tequila company — Buzz Box, Cazadores, Crook & Marker, Cutwater, Dos Equis, Jose Cuervo — will use tequila in its tequila-canned cocktails (via The Takeout). Buzz Box actually also uses real liquor in the rest of its canned cocktails, including real vodka, gin, rum, and whiskey (via Buzz Box). If you're wanting to make sure you're drinking only the best real liquor, check the label of the drink before purchasing, or stick to brands that you know use real liquor.