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Canned Creativity: Six beverages that show the range of canned cocktails you can enjoy this summer


It’s summertime and canned cocktails are the way to go. The durable packaging is perfect for taking beverages outdoors from camping to picnics or anywhere else you want to guard against container leaks or where glass isn’t allowed.

Beverage makers have started to figure this whole canning thing out, and it’s possible we’re entering a golden age of cocktails in a can. Boulder County has had a front row seat to the action with the evolution of canned beverages and technologies in our backyard. This growth started with Oskar Blues’ ability to convince drinkers that high-quality beer could come in cans (Thanks, Dale’s Pale Ale!) and included the presence of Ball Corporation’s aluminum packaging and the founding of Wild Goose canning lines.

When things come in cans, we jump on them, so here are some canned specialties you can find in our area this summer. Our list purposely didn’t include wine, seltzer, beer, and kombucha because that offering category is already familiar to customers. Instead, we focused on other crafted alcoholic and nonalcoholic tasty drinks that are part of an emerging trend.

A shrub displayed with food. Photo by Judi Morrell

Rooted Craft Kitchen – Cherry Amore in Boulder

Rooted Craft Kitchen at Avanti Food and Beverage was the first place that introduced us to a shrub — a beverage made from an acidulated fruit-based base that can be used in either craft cocktails or mocktails. Their zero-proof form, called a Cherry Amore, is a great option for summer drinking that keeps you cool. It’s made with fresh ingredients including cherry syrup.The vinegar balances it all with a splash of acid and is as nuanced as anything we’ve ever had, alcoholic or not. We can picture bringing it to a barbeque, having it after a hike, or sipping it on our porch.

Adirondack chairs in front of Stem Cidery. Photo by Deborah Cameron

Stem Ciders – Ciders and cocktails in Lafayette

Stem Ciders has taken advantage of canned packaging for years now, and they still offer great innovative options for canned items ranging from traditional to tangerine to the more floral lavender. There are also taproom-only canned mixed beverages including a Singapore sling (tart, with gin-like botanicals), a rum runner (tropical), and a cobra’s fang (dry and forward). What’s even better is that if you head to Stem’s Lafayette restaurant Acreage, they have the perfect spot to enjoy the outdoors in one of their Adirondack chairs, next to the fire, near their orchard, with a view of the Flatirons — perfect for a late summer evening.

Photo courtesy of Abbott and Wallace

Abbott and Wallace DistillingSix distinct cocktails from Longmont

Longmont’s Abbott and Wallace Distilling makes it easy to grab a cocktail to take with you wherever you’re heading this summer. Six options range from their La Chupacabra, which blends Cobañero whiskey with apple, ginger, lime juice, and seltzer, to a canned Tom Collins, a mint julep, a gin and tonic and an amaro spritz. We like what we’re drinking here, and we like that it makes it easy to bring a full-fledged adult beverage with you as you get active. But we also love how tied in this business is with the community. Supporting them is, truly, supporting a hometown business.

Photo courtesy of The Old Mine

The Old Mine – Traditional, pear, and adjunct Handlebar hard ciders in a can from Erie

The Old Mine crafts their ciders locally in Erie, right off of County Line Road and serves them at their adult-only taproom in their production facility or at their restaurant on Briggs Street. However, these ciders can literally travel a lot further once they’re canned. The traditional recipe is always our go-to, and if we don’t have that, we enjoy the lighter pear cider. But these aren’t the only two options for packs. There are spicy, fruit-based, and bourbon options that pair well with summer foods.

Infinite Monkey TheoremPeach bellini wine cocktail from RiNo

Bellinis are a great summer drink, and this one, made by the winery that dialed back all their fermented grape fuss, made wine accessible, and put it into cans. This cocktail is refreshing enough for a brunch, picnic, or even to sip on the water whether you’re canoeing, paddleboarding, or rafting. It’s also enjoyed by a range of tastes, so if you bring it with you, your friends are going to take you up on an offer to share.

Photo courtesy of St. Vrain Cidery

St. Vrain CideryFruit-forward and creative ciders from Longmont

For a few years now, St. Vrain Cidery has been providing the public with all sorts of ciders from their spot tucked into an alley on Terry Street. While they offer ciders that are both made in house and made elsewhere, they take care to seasonally curate what they put on tap. This summer’s offerings include multiple fruit-forward possibilities including their dry chokecherry, which is tart and particularly summer-sippable.


Deborah Cameron
Deb brings a passion for community journalism and for the local food scene. She started out as an intern and over the years grew into our current Cuisine Editor. She has appeared in multiple publications including the Longmont Leader, The Left Hand Valley Courier, Ms. Mayhem, Finance101, and Ask.com. When not writing she's eating, road tripping, dog-parking, or watching high school softball. She moved to Colorado from Seattle in the early 2000s after spending a year traveling the U.S. in a teal Ford Escort hatchback. She lives with her husband, two teenagers, and a rescue dog named Charlie.

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