We all know that artificial sweeteners are bad for us, but many people are surprised to learn that the ingredient lists on canned cocktails, especially mixed drinks, can be far more deceptive than they realize. Today we’ve got a quick guide to help you better understand the ingredients in your favorite canned drinks, and how they can affect your health.

Most of us have at least tried a canned cocktail once or twice. Don’t fall prey to that expensive mixed drink that you found at your local grocery store. Cocktails are the most popular beverage among Americans under the age of sixty-five, and that makes them a perfect money-maker. Unfortunately, they are not as healthy as we think. Most canned cocktails contain the same sugar as soda, so they can ruin your chances of getting to a healthy weight.

Whatever your favorite cocktail is, there’s always a version in a glass. By 2020, sales of canned cocktails were up 52.7%, according to IWSR, a company that analyzes the beverage market. Consumer demand increased during the pandemic as bars and restaurants closed and people looked for outdoor activities. The popularity of strong seltzer has also led to enthusiasm for canned ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages. According to IWSR, the total RTD category, which includes strong seltzer, has grown by 62.3% by 2020. While many of these cocktails taste great, they don’t always look like drinks made at the bar or at home. Moreover, the taste in some of them is significantly different. Canned cocktails from Greenbar Distillery of Los Angeles / Photo courtesy of Greenbar Distillery. word-image-11803 Generally, canned cocktails have several ingredients added or subtracted to ensure safety and stability during storage. Since citrus fruits are susceptible to decomposition and oxidation, a complex mixture of acids, sweeteners, flavourings and colourings can be used to create the effect of a lemon or lime. Juices, teas and honeys all present challenges, says Scott Weddle, director of business development at Flavorman, a Louisville-based flavor development company. These ingredients are commonly found in smoothies and may naturally have a higher microbial load than some other ingredients. Canned cocktails don’t always taste the same as drinks made in a bar or at home. Moreover, the taste in some of them is significantly different. Other canned drinks have completely changed from standard cocktails. Aaron Polski is the founder of LiveWire Drinks, a Los Angeles-based canned cocktail company that offers drinks created by bartenders. His canned drinks contain more water than standard drinks, which are usually shaken with ice.   word-image-11804 word-image-11805 Sign up for the newsletter and get the latest news, reviews, recipes and gadgets delivered straight to your inbox. Thank you. We have received your email address and you will soon receive exclusive offers and news from . Privacy policy At the bar I do, they drink, Polsky said. I’ll check the power temperature. In a jar, it should be palatable in the temperature range ….. The water, acid, sugar and alcohol content is chosen so that it still tastes good when you take it out of the ice bath or put it in the fridge. There are many things that can affect canned cocktails.


Usually citric acid, malic acid, tartaric acid and/or phosphoric acid are used instead of fresh citrus to make it brighter and more acidic. Fresh natural juices, especially citrus juices – lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange – simply have no shelf life in a can or bottle, says Melkon Khosrovyan, co-founder of Greenbar Distillery. The Los Angeles-based plant preserves 11 beverages, none of which require citrus or acid substitutes. It will fall apart in a few weeks, Khosrovian says. Citric acid is usually used to mimic the sourness and tartness of citrus fruits, although it does not impart a citrus taste. Sometimes it is also added to balance the sugar, regulate the pH or extend the shelf life. It is important that the pH of the can is relatively low, says Waddle. This makes the environment less conducive to microbial growth.

Basic alcohol

Is the base of your canned cocktail a premium brandy or malt liqueur? These are becoming more common. Malt beverages are fermented and brewed in a manner similar to beer and are considered beer by regulatory authorities in the US. They skip the extra distillation step required to be considered alcohol. That’s not to say they’re bad, but a malt-based margarita doesn’t drink like the tequila-based version. Even when prescribed, as with canned gin and tonic, some manufacturers buy a neutral alcohol base and add juniper oil or other flavorings, or combine gin concentrate to dilute it with tonic syrup and water. Canned cocktailsLivewire / Photo: Doron Gild word-image-11806

Chemical preservatives

If the canned beverage contains less than 10% alcohol by volume (abv), preservatives are likely used to protect the beverage from microbial growth. Potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate and other preservatives are often added in very small amounts and do not affect the taste, Weddle said. Some manufacturers are working on natural preservatives, but Weddle is skeptical of their effectiveness. There is no indication yet that anyone has solved this problem, but it is being worked on and we are hopeful, he says.

Carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide is used to make cocktails fizzy, but it can also make them sour, Khosrovian says. It gives a spicy and pungent flavor. This is often considered desirable, for example. B. naturally carbonated mineral waters. We tend to over-carbonate our drinks compared to other drinks, says Khosrovian. For the bubble lovers, we make our own.


Many canned cocktails are clear because white spirit, acids, sweeteners and chemical additives do not tend to add color. Some varieties have a natural matt colour, for example B. Aged spirits or oxidised fruit juices. Some manufacturers add natural or artificial coloring to make the drinks lighter. Think of the 100 different colors of Gatorade, says Waddle. You can have all the colors of the rainbow. These colors are derived from artificial coloring agents such as FD&C no. 5. This usually does not affect the taste or texture. Natural dyes from fruits and vegetables are less stable. Over time, they can become dull and brown. When used in concentrated form, they can add flavor, for example. B. the purple hues of kale, Weddle says. You can add so much that the berry liquor will taste like kale.


Natural and artificial flavors help make up for the lack of juice and other fresh ingredients in canned smoothies. The quality and degree can vary, but for example limonene or citralene extracts are used to imitate fruit flavors.


Gum and glycerin are used to give texture. Gum can thicken the drink, allowing particles like black pepper to float in a canned Bloody Mary. Glycerin is used to create a smoother or softer feel. It is often added to gin-based cocktails to soften the effects of alcohol. This is a type of sugar that can add a little sweetness. Flavorman seltzer with ice / Photo by Daniel Gerken / Flavorman


Like a freshly made smoothie, sweeteners add flavor. While bartenders can use sugar, often in the form of simple syrup, agave or honey, the range of sweeteners used in canned drinks is even wider. If a Flavorman customer wants a sugar-free drink, the company can make it with stevia, Monkfruit or sucralose. These substances are complex because they can give a bitter note at the end of the mouth. The sweetener can drastically change the taste, Weddle says. High fructose corn syrup is also widely used. Although it had not been used in the Greenbar line at the time of going to press, Khosrowian believes it could have a moderating effect. It was like throwing a blanket over the perfumes, he said. You couldn’t taste them so well. As a result, Khosrowian says, manufacturers of artificial flavors concentrate fruit notes or other products in higher concentrations to compensate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a canned cocktail?

When the sun goes down and the lights fade, and your bar tab is finally getting paid off, you might want to grab a drink. But whether you’re drinking a beer or a glass of wine or a cocktail, chances are the ingredients in the drink are hidden behind a label, and when you read the label, you’ll see terms like preservatives, sweeteners and artificial flavors. The end result is that the drink tastes like… well, uh, not much of anything. Canned cocktails have become a popular beverage choice over the past few years, offering the convenience of being ready to drink on a moment’s notice. However, many people have misconceptions about the product. Is a canned cocktail healthy? Will it ruin your health? Is it dangerous? In this post, we will take a closer look at what is in a can of cocktail.

What is the best canned cocktail?

A cocktail is a mixed drink that typically contains spirits, fruit juices, sugar, and a mix of other ingredients. Cocktails are often served in tall, narrow glasses called “shakers.” Most cocktails are mixed using a bar spoon, a long-handled spoon that is used to mix drinks. You might have heard stories about the stuff that makes canned cocktail cans explode or the huge amount of lead that many of them contain. But did you know that most canned cocktails aren’t even made in the United States? In fact, the ingredients in many canned cocktails can vary greatly, even within the same country. We decided it was high time to get the scoop on what’s really in your canned cocktail.

What is the best canned margarita?

Many people think that the only way to get the most out of a drink is to have it straight. Sure, the fruity taste of a well-made margarita is hard to beat, but sometimes you want to mix things up. As it turns out, canned cocktails, especially high-end ones, can be a great way to get a different flavor in your drinks. You don’t have to be a wine connoisseur to know that the “margarita” is an American staple. But, you might be surprised to find out that many popular margaritas are not actually made with tequila. All of the following canned margaritas contain some combination of vodka, white rum, Triple Sec, and Grand Marnier. But, how much of each ingredient is used?

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