Luckily for us, with great competition amongst the craft distilling industry came great innovation. Somewhere around 2017/18, artisan booze brands - keen to find new audiences - started to tap into the commuter crowd, birthing hundreds of tinned offerings. Where before we were limited to over-sweet G&Ts or dulled rum and cokes, now we have the world at our fingertips, from hard seltzers to boozy coffee.
I’ve tasted my way through some of the biggest names on the block to see what’s worth stocking up on, even trialling some of the more health-conscious CBD drinks, so grab your toothbrush and hold onto your dignity… we’re going in…
Sipsmith Zesty Orange G&T – 7.3%
Wow, wow, wow! At 7.3% ABV Sipsmith's version is an impressive amount stronger than its competitors. It’s a fantastic G&T, with sweet sherbet on the nose and huge quinine in the mouth. It’s fun, fizzy and incredibly easy to drink, reminiscent of Love Heart sweets. This comes with a hearty seal of approval – I’ll be stocking up.
Tanqueray London Dry Gin & Tonic – 6.5%
Tanqueray throws very few surprises at us with its gin in a tin offering. Not too sweet and not too sharp, it’s a pretty good rendition of a G&T and shows just how well the gin functions when it isn’t dressed up with garnishes. At 6.5% it carries a buzz, too, and a delicate citrus aftertaste. I was pleasantly surprised – definitely a good train station buy.
Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla Gin & Tonic – 6.5%
A more serious G&T than its Sipsmith counterpart, Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla works hard to channel the bitterness of Seville oranges. It’s elegant and sharp, with elements of sherbet softened by a slightly vanilla-y floral hit. This feels like a good all-rounder – perfect summer fodder, but that orange peel calls for a bit of love during the festive season.
York Gin & Tonic – 6.5%
The York Gin team have done an extraordinary job of showcasing their botanicals here; on the nose there’s a curious floral levity, whereas the mouth gives way to soft, numbing spices. The petal-like quality is definitely the work of cardamom – big enough to overwhelm the quinine but not so loud it’s soapy. An absolute cracker and great with food.
York Gin Berry Fiz G&T – 6.5%
The berry smell jumps right out of the can, but that’s about the only punch it packs. To taste, the strawberry notes are muted while the quinine is too pronounced, resulting in a taste that is nothing short of metallic. Perhaps served up with a strawberry garnish the fruit would be elevated, but straight out of the can it feels a little accidental, like they dropped a berry in the drink by accident and didn’t do anything about it. Stick to the original.
East London Liquor Company Grapefruit G&T – 5%
Living up to its hipster location, East London Liquor Company definitely has the coolest looking can of the bunch – tactile and pastel hued, it’s definitely one that will grab your attention. ELLC have taken a real tongue in cheek approach here and they truly speak to my soul with the words ‘classless and glassless’ stamped onto the side of the can. My kind of people.
This is another one with wow factor – the tonic is vibrant, the grapefruit soft and the cardamom from the underlying gin arrives like a sucker punch. It’s bubbly in texture and personality, with a huge, refreshing citrus core.