The 10 Best Ciders, Hard Seltzers, Canned Cocktails, and More — For 2020 and Beyond

updated Nov 19, 2020
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Credit: Calvados Christian Drouin

If there ever was a year to make things easy on yourself, 2020 is it. You deserve a bit of a break. That’s where our favorite, “just crack one open” drinks come in, including but not limited to hard cider, seltzer, kombucha, and cocktails in a can. Seriously: Why make a margarita when you can buy one pre-made in a bottle? Whoever invented those … we’re indebted to you.

These were all featured in our recent Kitchn Essentials, Bar Edition, and recommended by a panel of experts.

Cider: Christian Drouin Poire Pear Cider

“Let me set the scene,” bartender Josh Gandee begins. “You are sitting under a tree in Normandie, the bees are buzzing around fresh fruit that has fallen from the trees, you have a picnic, and Edith Piaf begins playing. Yes, it tastes like that.”

Buy: Christian Drouin Poire Pear Cider, $15.69 for 750ml at Drizly

Credit: Estrella Galicia USA

Cider for Thanksgiving Dinner: Maeloc Dry Apple Cider

Why aren’t more of us drinking cider with Thanksgiving dinner? This refreshingly dry take on an apple cider is simple and delicious, Josh says, pairing well with just about everything on the table. And hey, if the turkey ends up a little dry, the light carbonation will help you out.

Buy: Maeloc Dry Apple Cider, $8.99 for four at Drizly

Credit: Rhinegeist Brewery

Cider for Non-Beer Drinkers: Rhinegeist Cidergeist Semi Dry

This cider is incredibly easy to drink. It’s not too sweet, not too dry, and perfectly apple-y. Consider it sparkling apple juice for adults.

Buy: Rhinegeist Cidergeist Semi Dry, $10.50 for six at Drizly

Credit: Shacksbury Cider

Cider for Sunday Supper: Shacksbury Rosé Cider

Kitchn staffers love, love, love this canned rosé cider, a perfect match of New England apples and traditional California grape skins. It’s a perfect all-day sipper or a champ with your Sunday sitdown.

Buy: Shacksbury Rosé Cider, $11.99 for four at Drizly


Non-Alcoholic Canned Cocktail: Hella Cocktail Co. Canned Bitters and Soda

A canned soda for adult palates (think: Ginger Turmeric and Spritz Aromatic) that stands up beautifully on its own for an alcohol-free drink or serves as the mixer for an instant cocktail. Bitters and the exact right amount of carbonation win the expert nod, and the super cute packaging doesn’t hurt.

Buy: Hella Cocktail Co. Canned Bitters and Soda, $29.99 for 12

Credit: XYZ Beverage LLC

Hard Seltzer: Press Premium Hard Seltzer

With grown-up flavor options like Lime Lemongrass and Grapefruit Cardamom, this is not what you’d expect from a hard seltzer. Hint: It’s better. Fresh, clean, and bright, Press is everything we love about fizzy water — but with a modest alcohol boost. There’s zero weird aftertaste and it was a total standout in our spiked seltzer taste test.

Buy: Press Premium Hard Seltzer, $16.99 for 12 at Drizly

Credit: June Shine

Hard Kombucha: JuneShine Hard Kombucha

You don’t have to be a kombucha fanatic to fall for hard kombucha — especially JuneShine100. The twice-fermented green tea has the perfect amount of carbonation, contains 100 calories, and has only 1 gram of sugar per can. Unlike a lot of canned drinks, this has ZERO unpleasant aftertaste. For what it’s worth, this is basically all that our Lifestyle Editor, Lauren Masur, drank this summer. You know, aside from water.

Buy: JuneShine Hard Kombucha, $29.99 for 12 at JuneShine

Credit: Tip Top Proper Cocktails

Brown Spirit Canned Cocktail: Tip Top Old Fashioned

The simpler the drink, sometimes the harder it is to get it just right. Serve up this exquisitely balanced Old Fashioned and “the first thing out of your friends’ mouths will be ‘where can I get one of those?’” says Josh. Oh, and they come in the handsomest little cans.

Read more: Tip Top Old Fashioned

Credit: Empirical Spirits

Clear Spirit Canned Cocktail: Empirical Spirits Can 02

You’ll be drawn in by this hot-pink can, and you’ll stick around for the ingredients (black currant buds and young pine cones!). It’s lightly carbonated and has a base of vacuum-distilled beet molasses. Yes, you read that right.

Buy: Empirical Spirits Can 02, $12.96 for 355ml at Astor Wines

Credit: Spirit Group Inc.

Cocktail in a Bottle: Anything from Drnxmyth

This. Is. Brilliant. Jordan Hughes (aka High-Proof Preacher) calls this line of twist-and-shake bottled cocktails the best he’s tried. You twist the the base of the bottle to “activate” it, mix things up, and drink. You’ll have to watch the videos on the site to really understand what’s going on.

Read more: Drnxmyth

Credit: Photo: Andria Lo; Prop Styling: Anna Raben