by HOLLY CRAWFORD
Stirring, shaking or swirling a perfectly crafted cocktail is an act I admire, and enjoy, but some situations call for something served with more ease. In time for the first long weekend of summer, here are some of the latest offerings that you can simply open, pour and enjoy.
An Aperol Spritz, ready to savour
Big, sunset-hued glasses of everyone’s favourite Italian spritz can be spotted all over restaurants and patios these days. The spritz has become one of the most popular cocktails with Aperol, the brand at the heart of Italy’s iconic orange bittersweet aperitif, ranking sixth on the list of the world’s best-selling cocktails. When the setting doesn’t lend itself to popping prosecco and mixing these delightfully refreshing drinks, there is now Aperol Spritz Ready to Serve. Made in Italy from quality ingredients, this ready-to-serve cocktail was created to replicate the unmistakable bittersweet notes, carbonation and vibrant colour of the Aperol Spritz. Featuring the original and unchanged Aperol recipe made with citrus oil infused with precious herbs and roots, sparkling wine and soda, each bottle contains the unmistakable orange Italian aperitif in a single-serve format. Aperol Spritz Ready to Serve, LCBO#: 24345; 9% ABV; $16.95 / pack of three 200 ml glass bottles. aperol.com
The classic Campari Negroni, ready to enjoy
Another classic cocktail loved by many, the Negroni was invented in Florence in 1919 by Count Negroni when he asked for gin instead of soda in his Americano. The now iconic cocktail has been individually bottled, blending Campari with London Dry Gin and Cinzano Sweet Red Vermouth. Simple yet balanced, the Campari Negroni is a crafted blend of juniper and sweet citrus notes, mixed with herbs and spices all leading to that long-lasting smooth bittersweet finish. Simply pour over ice and add a slice of orange to garnish. Campari Negroni Ready to Enjoy, LCBO#: 24096; 26% ABV, $22.95 / 375 ml bottle. campari.com
Hard seltzer, from the makers of Topo Chico mineral water
Once a fizzy mineral water loved by locals in Mexico and the southern United States, Topo Chico was acquired by Coca Cola a few years ago and with expanded availability the brand’s fanbase grew. Now, the beloved sparkling water brand has partnered with Molson Coors Beverage Company to distribute hard seltzer. Available south of the border starting in 2021, we are able to get our hands on this one beginning May 2022. Topo Chico Hard Seltzer blends sparkling water and natural flavours, and is inspired by Topo Chico sparkling mineral water’s 125-year heritage, cult-like following and growing popularity as a craft cocktail mixer. The company says there are four flavours on the way: Tangy Lemon Lime, Exotic Pineapple, Strawberry Guava and Tropical Mango, but only the Strawberry Guava flavour is currently available (at time of publishing). Topo Chico Hard Seltzer Spiked Sparkling Water, LCBO#: 25315; 4.7 ABV, $3.10 / 473 ml can.
Sweet-tart Tequila Paloma, without squeezing any grapefruits
If your taste leans more to a bright, citrus-forward cocktail (or anything tequila, thank-you), you might find Founder’s Original Tequila Paloma hits the right note. The Paloma, like any citrus-based drink, is always best when created with freshly squeezed juice—pink grapefruit and lime in this case—but we can’t always be in the kitchen squeezing citrus. Founder’s blends premium blanc tequila, agave nectar, citrus bitters and real grapefruit and lime juice in this ready to drink cocktail with impressive results. Founder’s Original Tequila Paloma, LCBO#: 19350; 7% ABV, $3.05 / 355 ml can.
For those who still prefer beer, now without carbs
While not typically my cup of tea or tequila, there are many who prefer their icy cold refreshment in the form of a beer. From Toronto-based Ace Beverage Group, this is the first carbohydrate-free beer available in Canada. The company is touting this light beer as crisp and clean with notes of cereal grain, malt, hay and citrus and only 80 calories per can, and carb-free for more health-conscious consumers. Ace Hill Carb-Free Light Beer, LCBO#: 24826; 4% ABV, $9.95 / four 355 ml cans. drinkacehill.com