Stylish, convenient and brimming with premium spirits and botanicals, these next-generation premixed drinks are your new spring and summer essentials. From the coolest cocktails-in-cans to just-right gin and tonics and refreshing vodka and tequila premix, judges were blown away by the quality and innovation of the premixed drinks and canned cocktails at our 2023 Best Of Awards. “You could taste the craftsmanship and passion in every drop,” says in-house judge Matt Castle. “The ready to drink category has changed a lot in the last four years,” adds judge Matt Sangar, co-founder and managing director at Curatif, who speaks of the premix renaissance that his brand is certainly helping drive. “What I’m loving is this movement away from bag-in-a-box flavour components and into both natural and native ingredients.”
Love the taste of a classic negroni but want something a little lighter for afternoon aperitifs with friends? “The Americano Sparkling Cocktail is a world-class cocktail you can take with you anywhere,” says judge Matt Castle. Blending both Campari and Aperol with vermouth and sparkling water, “this drink is an experience – you can close your eyes and almost feel that Italian sun shining on you,” he adds. Pair with salty snacks like olives, parmesan and prosciutto.
Finalist: Melbourne Martini Bar Strength Espresso Martini
Looking for an ice-cold pick-me-up? Flip the tab on a chilled Espresso Martini can for a delicious hit of cold-drip coffee, vodka and a hint of chocolate – a rich and indulgent mix that brings one of the hottest drinks on the menu to your home bar experience.
If you’re a fan of smooth, citrus-forward gin, this premix winner is ready to go, with a generous double shot for good measure. “A gin and tonic is a classic, timeless drink that’s easy to make but hard to master; the Bombay Sapphire Gin & Tonic Double Serve really delivers by making gin the star,” says judge Matt Castle. Pour over ice and garnish with lemon and a sprig of thyme to enhance the experience.
Finalist: Young Henrys Gin & Tonic
For a tasty aperitif with a hint of native botanicals – think lemon myrtle and Tasmanian pepperberries – Young Henrys Gin & Tonic blends highly aromatic Noble Cut Australian Gin with a fragrant tonic infused with pink grapefruit and thyme.
Prefer your gin with a delicate blush? Featuring handcrafted pink gin naturally flavoured with grapefruit, strawberry and rosella, “Running with Thieves Grapefruit Gin & Soda was super refreshing and reminded me of a lovely summer’s day on the beach,” says judge Alex Crossland from Vintage Cellars South Melbourne.
Finalist: Manly Spirits Pink Gin & Tonic
With its unique, coastal inspired combination of native summer berries and dune flowers, Manly Spirits Lilly Pilly Pink Gin is the hero in this new, no sugar, low calorie, full flavoured Pink Gin & Tonic. Garnish with fresh berries for extra pizzazz.
If vodka and soda is your go-to, prepare to embrace this winning combo, melding juicy summery watermelon, sweet lychee and a dash of rivermint for extra freshness. “Manly Spirits being brave with their ingredients paid off, and the watermelon raised it to another level,” explains judge Matt Castle.
Finalist: 196 Double Lemon & Vodka
Like your vodka soda with a tangy lemon blast? -196 Double Lemon & Vodka is a low calorie refreshing sip. Cutting-edge technology freezes and crushes whole lemons for a full citrus burst, while a splash of shochu adds depth.
How about an instant, cocktail-bar worthy margarita to sip at home on the sofa? “Olmeca Altos Margarita has a refreshing and consistent flavour profile that is sure to deliver on your expectations,” says judge Will Elsworth. Elevate the experience by adding ice and a rim of coarse sea salt, and crack out the corn chips and salsa.
Finalist: El Toro Grapefruit Paloma
Made with blue agave, grown in the heart of Tequila, Jalisco, smooth El Toro Tequila meets citrus in this zesty Grapefruit Paloma.
Finding a drink that is flavourful while also low in sugar, cals and carbs can be a challenge, but next-generation seltzers are closing the gap. “Beautiful and tropical with nice hints of mango and pineapple, Nosh Boozy Seltzer Mango Pineapple hits the spot,” says judge Alex Crossland.
Finalist: Fellr Watermelon Brewed Alcoholic Seltzer Can
Light, sparkling and thirst quenching, it’s all about the watermelon in all-natural Fellr Watermelon Brewed Alcoholic Seltzer, which is also low in sugar and carbs.
Searching for a cloudy cider that’s not too sweet and not too dry? Made with fresh pressed Pink Lady and Granny Smith apples, Beerfarm Western Cider has “real fruit flavours coming through, without overpowering sweetness. A true cider, perfect for a hot summer’s day,” comments judge Will Elsworth.
Finalist: Deeds Cider Can
Brewed with 100% Aussie apples at Melbourne’s iconic Deeds brewery, Deeds Cider is crisp, refreshing and vegan. Pair with mixed nuts, sip with creamy pasta dishes or bring along to your next barbecue.
Products featured are available from 11/10/23 to 14/11/23, while stocks last. Some products or varieties featured may not be available in all stores.