6 canned cocktails that taste great and are covert enough to drink in public

By Rajul Punjabi and Tracey Anne Duncan

I live in New Orleans, where we have no open container law. That means that I can drink alcohol anywhere I want at any time. So what do I know about drinking on the low? More than you, probably. Because I am a cheap-ass human, I don’t want to actually pay for drinks everywhere I want to drink. I also don’t always want all the world to know that I’m drinking, so I have a lot of hacks — canned cocktails included — for how to sneak my hooch around.

If you don’t live in a city that allows you to walk around in public with a giant margarita, well, my condolences. Have no fear though, because there are pre-packaged alcoholic drinks out there that actually taste good (no shade, weird juice-box wines), and are way more affordable that concession swill at the beach.

We’re here to help you catch a buzz without getting caught. Here are our team's picks for getting tipsy on the low, rated for pleasure and level of conspicuousness.

Fishers Island Spiked Lemonade

Price: $16 for a 4-pack

Covert or nah? Spy-level covert.

This drink tastes like your grandma spent an afternoon picking and then juicing ripe Meyer lemons into a can and then added a little vodka and whiskey to them because, well, she loves you. Refreshing, tart, and not too sweet, this one’s great for a sustained buzz (you’ll want more than one) at 9 % ABV. The “spiked” labeling is in a small enough font that you can play it off as a fancy soda.

Cocktail Squad’s Greyhound

Price: $20 for a 4-pack

Covert or nah? Somewhat covert.

There are several classic cocktails to choose from in this line (bourbon smash, gin and tonic, and whiskey sour, for example) but we loved the Greyhound for its lively citrus appeal and a slim can that could disguise it as a cold brew. At 10% ABV, it’ll give you the buzz of a strong beer with the olfactory titillation of grapefruit, vodka, and bubbles.

Ramona Sicilian Wine Spritz

Price: $20 for a 4-pack

Covert or nah? Covert enough.

Summer flavor feels again with this drink, which comes in Sicilian lemon and grapefruit flavors. It’s gentle (7% ABV) as wine can be until you hit your third, and is a solid pick to walk around the beach or pool with since the bright, retro packaging makes it look kind of like a trendy energy drink. It does taste like sparkling wine, so it would also compliment an appropriately pretentious cheese plate at a picnic. Last thing: Rih loves this drink, though she doesn’t seem nearly as concerned about being caught in public with alcohol as us mere mortals are.

New Holland Spirits Rum Punch

Price: $10 for a 4-pack

Covert or nah? Not that covert.

“Rum punch” is a quintessential word combo that promises summertime tomfoolery. This one tastes a little more aggressive than it actually is at 9% ABV, and is not as easy to play off as a non-alcoholic beverage. However, just place your hand over the grinning Tikki cup image on the can and you’re golden. We like it for the beach since its notes of pineapple, citrus, and coconut foster an entire island mood.

Smirnoff Spiked Sparkling Seltzer

Price: $9 for a 6-pack

Covert or nah? Nah.

We don’t know what exactly is in here — the can says “premium malt beverage” — but it tastes delightful. Don’t let the bubble-gum pink packaging fool you though, this is the frattiest canned bev of the bunch—it’s basic, fun, and light enough, at 4.5% ABV, to go round-for-round during a day-long barbecue. It comes in several flavors (white peach, pink apple, raspberry, and strawberry) that all taste like a lightly-flavored seltzer, like La Croix with a rebellious streak. Play beer pong with it if you’re feeling classy.

Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock & Rye

Price: $20 for a 4-pack

Covert? Not so much but you’ll be too lit to care.

This is the Erykah Badu of canned drinks: smooth, earthy, and strong as hell. It’s an actual rye cocktail that contains raw honey, orange essence, and rock candy, kind of like a bespoke, 84 proof Old Fashioned. As far as public drinking is concerned, this small can is at its best when chilled, preferably as an accompaniment for a long walk at dusk with someone you are (or soon hope to be) sleeping with.