16 Ready-to-Drink Premixed Spirits Tested

Keepr's hard seltzers

Ready-to-drink (RTD) spirit cans have become rather popular in recent years, with many distilleries bringing out their own premixed G&Ts or, more recently, a hard seltzer. Hard seltzer is a spirit, usually vodka, mixed with flavoured sparkling water. These are lower in calories than your regular G&T due to the lack of sugar.

I’ve been meaning to compare RTD options for a while, but the choice in Italy is rather limited. Now that I am in Scotland, I decided to gather a selection of premixed cans and see if they live up to the hype. I went for many supermarket brands as it turns out it is rather hard to source RTDs from various brands. I checked some of the local spirit and wine stores as well, but the options weren’t that extensive.

Overall, however, I managed to try 16 different premixed drinks.


I was looking for nicely balanced flavours and options that aren’t full of artificial flavouring or high on sugar. I wanted to find premixed drinks that I would consider purchasing again and taking with me to the next picnic. Something that would work as the ideal thirst quencher with an enjoyable flavour profile rather than just a convenient drink to grab on your way home and drink on the train.

I’ve graded each Ready-to-drink can as below:

1 – Avoid.

2 – Needs improvement.

3 – It’s fine, but is fine enough for you?

4 – Drinkable, almost enjoyable.

5 – I’ll take a second, please.

See how you can Level Up Your Picnic this summer!

Ready-to-drink spirits in cans

Gin based

Think Pink Gin & Tonic by M&S, 8% ABV, 180 kcal

The Marks & Spencer pink G&T is one of the strongest RTDs out there. This is not a sweet and fruity pink gin, but very bitter cranberry. It was OK, but not something I’d necessarily buy again.

The verdict: 3 – It’s fine, but is fine enough for you?

Gordon’s Premium Pink Gin & Tonic, 5% ABV, 163 kcal

Unlike the above, this one is full of sweet berry flavours. It is not sickly sweet, but it’s still a little too much on the sweet side for me to fully enjoy. If you do like sweeter, fruitier gins, you will enjoy this one.

The verdict: 3 – It’s fine, but is fine enough for you?

Edinburgh G&T, 6% ABV

The can doesn’t offer any calories info. I have contacted the distillery but I’m still waiting on a reply. I found this G&T too bitter, perhaps just a bit too heavy on the tonic water.

The verdict: 2 – Needs improvement.

Edinburgh Gin Rhubarb & Ginger, 5% ABV

Made with Edinburgh Gin’s famous Rhubarb & Ginger liqueur and ginger ale. I usually like the liqueur so was expecting this to be a really nice and refreshing RTD, but I would go as far as to say it was undrinkable. It was sickly sweet, which made it really hard to enjoy. I took two sips and had to pour it away. Very disappointing.

The verdict: 1 – Avoid.

Sainsbury’s Gin & Rose Lemonade, 5% ABV, 160 kcal

I was quite surprised by this one. A very drinkable RTD from Sainsbury’s. It is sweeter than a hard seltzer, but not overly sweet at all. The rose is delicate and works nicely with the gin It has more calories than most RTDs, but if you are looking for a convenient drink that actually tastes good, this won’t disappoint.

The verdict: 5 – I’ll take a second, please.

Sainsbury’s Gin, Rhubarb & Ginger, 5% ABV, 158 kcal

London Dry Gin mixed with carbonated rhubarb and ginger soft drink. Like with the previous Sainsbury’s RTD, this one was rather surprising. I found the flavours enjoyable, and when compared to Edinburgh Gin’s rhubarb & ginger, this would win hands down. It is a tad too sweet for me, but I’m sure many of my readers would like this. Worth a try!

The verdict: 4 – Drinkable, almost enjoyable.

Chase Pink Grapefruit & Pomelo Hard Seltzer, 5% ABV, 89 kcal

Made with Chase Grapefruit & Pomelo Gin and sparkling water. This is a very light, refreshing premixed drink. A touch of sweetness would improve the flavour profile, in my opinion. It’s almost too easy to drink, although felt a bit watery and one dimensional. This one was my favourite from the Chase seltzer selection (they also have London Dry & Lemon and Seville Orange).

The verdict: 3 – It’s fine, but is fine enough for you?

Chase gin seltzer cans

Bombay Sapphire Bramble, 6.5% ABV, 158 kcal

This one is a funny one. At first, I was put off by the bitterness and strong dry spice flavour, but after a few sips, I ended up finding it a bit more palatable and it all made more sense. Overall, though, it is way too tart and dry to be enjoyable. I was convinced there was a lot of cardamom in it but couldn’t find any information about the botanicals. It could just be something to do with the rest of the spices and the tonic.

The verdict: 1 – Avoid.

Vodka based

High Water Cucumber & Mint Hard Seltzer, 5% ABV, 96 kcal

High Water Hard Seltzers are made using triple-distilled vodka and Cotswolds spring water. 1% of the profit is donated to looking after the oceans. This one is VERY strong on the cucumber. I found it very refreshing, although the cucumber can get a bit too much. However, the brand also recommends serving this in a glass with ice and adding some prosecco to make it into a Spritz. I think that would be a very enjoyable serve at a summer garden party.

The verdict: 4 – Drinkable, almost enjoyable.

Keepr’s Pomegranate & Rose Hard Seltzer, 4.2% ABV, 88 kcal

Made with copper-distilled, small-batch vodka, sparkling water and a touch of 100% British honey from their own hives (hence the name). It has lovely, delicate rose notes, which are well balanced with the pomegranate. The honey adds a nice touch of sweetness that many hard seltzers lack.

The verdict: 5 – I’ll take a second, please.

Keepr's ready to drink cans

High Water Lemon & Elderflower, 5% ABV, 98 kcal

This one is a hard seltzer made with vodka and sparkling water. Very nicely balanced flavours, and the elderflower brings a touch of sweetness. I don’t normally care for elderflower drinks, but this was so good, I’d buy it again. The brand also recommend you try it with limoncello. Simply add ice into a glass, pour over the limoncello and top up with their Lemon & Elderflower seltzer. Sounds good, right?

The verdict: 5 – I’ll take a second, please.

M&S Black Cherry Hard Seltzer, 4.5% ABV, 73 kcal

Tastes exactly like what it says on the can. The black cherry flavour is pretty intense and sour. At first, I quite liked it, but I ended up finding it too intense after a while and never finished the can. If you are looking to add sour cherry flavour into your cocktails, a touch of this would definitely work.

The verdict: 2 – Needs improvement.

Keepr’s Pear & Ginger Hard Seltzer, 4.2% ABV, 90 kcal

Made with triple-distilled vodka. This one is a blend of sweet poached pear and warming ginger with a touch of British honey. It’s an easy-sipping seltzer with a nice balanced sweetness.

The verdict: 4 – Drinkable, almost enjoyable.

M&S Raspberry & Rhubarb Hard Seltzer, 4.5% ABV, 75 kcal

M&S has recently launched a selection of these low-calorie hard seltzers, but I’m not convinced they are worth the hype. I found these flavours very fake and just overall terrible.

The verdict: 1 – Avoid.

Keepr’s Passionfruit & Elderflower Hard Seltzer, 4.2% ABV, 90 kcal

Like the previous two Keepr’s hard seltzers, this one is made with vodka and added honey from their own hives. One of my favourite RTDs of all the ones I’ve tried. The elderflower is fragrant, and the passionfruit is more tangy than sweet. If you can find it, try it!

The verdict: 5 – I’ll take a second, please.

Pedrino Vermouth & Tonic, 5.5% ABV

Ok, this one doesn’t really go under either of the categories, but I wanted to try it nevertheless. If you like vermouth, this one could be for you. Slightly floral with notes of cantaloupe and grapefruit. I tried mine straight from the bottle but think it would be more enjoyable if served over ice with a slice of pink grapefruit.

The verdict: 3 – It’s fine, but is fine enough for you?

Ready-to-drink spirits in a can


I’ve always remained sceptical of premixed drinks, and I feel this tasting really supported my view on RTDs. They are a complete hit-and-miss. If you can have a regular G&T, then do it. It is always wayyy better than these cans. Take Edinburgh Gin as an example. I usually like their gins, but I wouldn’t buy these two ready-to-drink cans again.

Although there were some surprises. Keepr’s and High Water hard seltzers are certainly worth a try. The flavours were well balanced (except the cucumber) and offered something new for the palate. Both brands even got me rethinking my dislike of elderflower in drinks!

My top 3 – Keepr’s Passionfruit & Elderflower, High Water Lemon & Elderflower, Sainsbury’s Gin & Rose Lemonade

Disclaimer: Keepr’s and Chase samples were PR-products and gifted to me.

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