If you’ve found that a combination of pandemic stress, politics stress, holidays stress, and normal life stress has caused an upswing in the amount of at-home drinking you’re doing, I can pretty much guarantee you’re very much not alone–and in fact in good company.
Many of us are turning to the soothing, relaxing properties of alcohol to distract and uplift us when nothing much else seems to do the trick. There are new exciting, low-maintenance, craft options hitting the market all the time, and the latest is to have your favorite drinks available in canned forms (check out our canned wine review).
I tested out some of these new options, and ranked them from worst to best based on how much better they made life seem, even temporarily.
Disclosure: All of them were great.
Coming in Last: Kyla Hard Kombucha, Lavender Lemonade flavor
For those who enjoy kombucha, a fermented, slightly sparkling version of tea, the alcoholic version is the next logical step.
Many hard kombucha brands have popped up in the last couple of years, each touting their own signature flavors and branding. Kyla, the one I sampled, is no exception. Packaged in a delightfully-designed lilac can, it was eye catching, and packed a solid alcohol content at 6.5% (other flavors are around 4-5%). Kyla Hard Kombucha comes in several flavors including the one I tried. I enjoyed it, though not as much as the others in this list, probably due to my lackluster feelings about kombucha and lavender. But if either is your thing–or if I had sampled another flavor–it would probably be an even bigger hit.
Kyla can be found in many states in stores like Trader Joes, Safeway, Foodland, and others for around $3+ per can.
Curious Elixirs Booze-Free Craft Cocktails, No. 2 Spicy Pineapple Flavor
A particularly unique option, Curious Elixirs are perfect for those of you who want to feel like you’re drinking alcohol without actually doing it. Perhaps you’re sober, pregnant, or can’t drink for whatever reason. Curious Elixirs are craft non-alcoholic cocktails. Essentially, packed with all the delicious and high-quality ingredients you want in a craft cocktail, just minus the booze itself. They come in several flavors, each listed numerically, and each intended to loosely mimic a popular bar-worthy cocktail. You can drink them as-is, over ice, or if you prefer your drinks boozy, add the alcohol yourself, and the rest is done for you!
Shop for Curious Elixirs online, $35 for about eight drinks worth.
Rogue Spirits Sparkling Craft Cocktails, Cranberry Elderflower Vodka Soda
This was absolutely delightful to drink. Rogue Spirits makes five different canned cocktails, each one based on a traditional bar drink, with pleasing upscale ingredient upgrades. Sparkling and incredibly fresh tasting, this was so easy to drink you’d feel like you were barely drinking at all. Except in tall cans and at 7.5% alcohol, these pack an excellent punch while tasting lovely and making you feel like maybe the world isn’t so bad after all.
Find them in flavors like cucumber gin fizz and grapefruit vodka soda at stores around the country. Locate here.
The Winner: Five Drinks Co., Moscow Mule
Far and away the absolute best thing I tested. Honestly, one of the best drinks I’ve had in a long time. While I’d gladly drink any of these drinks throughout 2020, I’d go out of my way to get more of these Moscow mules. Homemade Moscow mules are delicious on their own, and if you like that version or the bar version, you’ll love this. It’s all of that, but with no effort or wasted ingredients, and it tastes like leaving your troubles behind. Five Drinks Co. makes six different canned cocktails, each a classic drink you might order at a bar. But if you’re drinking exclusively at home, here’s your perfect solution. The drinks are strong, most clocking in at about 9-11%, and come in cute mini cans, and packs of four. Best of all, you can order them online ($9.99 for 4-packs). Which you will not regret.
Annie Burdick is a writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon, but transplanted from the Midwest. She also works as a community inclusion specialist for adults with disabilities. Previously she's edited and written for magazines, websites, books, and small businesses, on an absurdly wide range of topics. She spends the rest of her time reading, eating good food, and finding new adventures in the Pacific Northwest.