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In the summer issue of Desert Companion, readers can enjoy the winners, runners-up, and honorable mentions of our 2023 Focus on Nevada Photo Contest. In addition, we present our first-ever nightlife guide, the best locals spots for dancing, laughing, lounging, and rocking in the country’s most entertaining city.View/download as digital flipbook >>

Crack Open a Cold Mix

 Canned cocktails in an ice pail on a picnic blanket
Gregg Carnes
Gregg Carnes Photography

Canned cocktails are growing up

Canned cocktails took off during the pandemic, as people sought a no-hassle mixed drink. Now their profile’s been raised even further as a go-to for glass-free refreshment at parties, campsites, and the pool.
Cutwater Spirits was one of the first cans that didn’t taste like high school party punch, and now it offers more than a dozen varieties. The Bloody Mary is a solid rendition of the morning libation, while the Tiki Rum Mai Tai blends two kinds of rum with a Carmen Miranda hat of tropical flavors. The White Russian is smooth and frothy.

Another canned classic, Jim Beam’s bourbon and ginger ale tastes remarkably authentic, and Mule 2.0 makes a fine Moscow mule in all its variations. There are also more trendy recipes available in pop-top format. For espresso martinis fans, Organic Mixology’s Cold Brew with Chocolate Liqueur deliciously blends coffee and cocoa flavors. And for a twist, Black Infusions’ Dirty Shirley combines cherry-infused vodka with ginger and lime into a grown-up drink.

Walk into just about any bar and you’ll see many non-alcoholic options that are way beyond Coca Cola or water. Now we have non-alcoholic beer, spirits, even wine.

Ninkasi Brewing Company has expanded into the mixed drink market with a line of beverages, including the Agave Paloma (tinged with jalapeno) and the Gin Rickey (finished with mint and lime). The Bourbon Renewal cocktail has hints of berry and lemon for a subtlety like something straight from the shaker.

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Two Chicks, another brand that makes cocktails worthy of a sunny summer afternoon, boasts a Sparkling Vodka Fizz flavored with elderflower and pear, as well as a Sparkling Apple Gimlet with hints of cucumber. Madre Mezcal’s Madre Desert Waters combine the liquor with an array of fruits, herbs and ... mushrooms? Indeed: Flavor profiles combine for a sophisticated, earthy sip.