lcbo coolers

We tried 5 of the LCBO's new ready-to-drink cocktails to see if they're bar-worthy

Even though the last few weekends have been undesirably snowy in Toronto, spring and summer are just around the corner — really, we promise! — and with it, all of the beach days, barbecues, and other outdoor fun in the sun that we've been awaiting for months.

All of those long days and balmy nights will of course entail a few drinks with loved ones, and as always, the LCBO has got you covered for old favourites and, more excitingly, new beverage options.

Ready-to-drink cocktails are all the rage this year, and the LCBO is bringing a whole list of new brands and flavours to Ontario for you to try, just in time for spring.

lcbo cocktails

Photo by Avi Richards

LCBO is launching a massive list of 90 ready-to-drink cocktails and coolers, so you're bound to find a new favourite drink, or a few, that are as ready for the warmer season as you are. And, we tested five of the LCBO's newest beverages slated for their March 2023 debut, ahead of their release.

Hitting the shelves are some drinks you've surely heard of due to their popularity south of the border; some new cocktail flavours that we already know and love here at home; and some others that you may not recognize (but will definitely be eager to try out).

Whether you're looking for vodka, gin, tequila, or rum; something sweet, like Tahiti Treat Fruit Punch Soda & Vodka, or something far more chill, like Nutrl Grape,  there's a new drink at the LCBO waiting to become your new favourite.

Besides the popular coolers, you'll also find those drinks that are portable take-home versions of something you'd order at a bar, but budget-friendly and more customizable with whatever extra garnishes you'd like. Just crack and pour some lime mojitos, grapefruit palomas, or tequila margaritas and save yourself the mixing time.

Here are five of the new ready-to-drink cocktails that we tried out — all of them dropping in March — along with our honest thoughts about them:

Captain Morgan Mango Mai Tai

This beverage tastes like summer in a can, with a blend of Caribbean rum and sweet Carabao Mango. It's fruity, but not too sweet, and tastes more like a yummy soda with hints of peach and orange.

At six per cent ABV, this colourful drink would be perfect to take to the cottage, where you can sip it over ice and feel like you're on a tropical vacation.

lcbo coolers

Photo by Olena Sergienko

It's definitely better than the basic canned seltzers you may be used to, and at only $3.15 for 355 ml, it's only about one-fifth of the price (or even less) than you'd expect to pay for a Mai Tai at a bar.

This was undoubtedly my favourite of the five, and I predict it will be the drink of this summer given its smooth finish.

Founders Original Pineapple Ginger Vodka Mule

This cocktail has a more robust body and is less sweet than the Mai Tai, as can be expected from a drink of this kind. While the pineapple flavour is almost imperceptible, it's still a solid mule that is quite comparable to one you would order at a bar (but with a price tag of only $3.25!).

lcbo coolers

Photo by Founders’ Original Inc.

As with all mules, the ginger beer is the star here, overshadowing any vodka flavour and making for a refreshing sip that somehow feels more serious and dare we say, "adult," than the previous drink.

While the Mai Tai above feels like more of a daytime drink, this one — at seven per cent ABV — feels like an evening drink, perfect for a dinner party or get-together with friends.

Southside Fizz by Aloette

This drink is a twist on a classic mojito, and will be a welcome breath of fresh air on a warm spring or summer day, featuring prominent cooling flavours of cucumber, mint and lime with a subtle finish of London Dry Gin.

While a standard mojito may cost you $14 or so, the Southside Fizz is only $2.95, making it the alternative you'll want to ask for at any establishment that has it available.

lcbo coolers

Photo by @petagrewal

Whether you're on a bar or restaurant patio, taking in a summertime concert at your favourite venue, out on the golf course, or enjoying any other spring or summer activity (especially outdoors), this fizz will be the one you'll want to have with you to make your perfect day in the sun that much more enjoyable.

Cutwater Tequila Margarita

If you like tequila and/or a bar-strength drink, then you'll want to try this one from Cutwater. While a margarita at a local establishment might run you about $18, this $3.75 San Diego take on the cocktail will have the same effect with the same flavour, minus the salt.

lcbo coolers

Photo by The Co-Lab

Made with a mix of floral tequila, tart lime, cane sugar and a bit of orange, the balanced combo is ideal for a backyard gathering or barbecue.

And, with the classic flavours and the 12.5 per cent alcohol content, you can pretend you're drinking at a lavish beach party at a Mexican resort rather than in T.O.

French 75 Gin Cocktail

This beverage is definitely a bit of an elevated experience, made with gin, local sparkling rose, and cane sugar. It's a distinctively lighter sip, with the strawberry and rose as the more forward flavours, and the lemon taking a backseat. You can barely taste the gin, which usually has a strong flavour in gin cocktails — a nice perk.

lcbo coolers

Photo by @carolinemurchie

At five per cent, this drink would be perfect to pack for a day outdoors — even better if it's a picnic date — as it is super fresh and casual. Plus, the can design is giving some serious Parisian picnic vibes, so you can pretend you're in Luxembourg Gardens rather than your local grassy knoll.

So next time you're browsing the LCBO in-store or online, keep an eye out for the 90 newly launched ready-to-drink cocktails and get excited for spring and summer!

Photos by

LCBO unless noted

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