Spring skiing and tailgating is just around the corner, and we’ve got two words for you: canned cocktails. That’s right—pre-mixed, classic cocktails made with top-shelf ingredients that come in handy, portable cans so you can take your après wherever you please. Laissez les bon temps rouler—Let the good times roll!—as NOLA born-and-bred Lauren Maggio, founder of Cocktail Squad, likes to say.
Cocktail Squad, started by Boulder, Colo.-based couple Lauren and John Maggio in 2018, currently offers four classic cocktails (Margarita, Greyhound, Gin and Tonic, and Vodka Soda) in canned 4-packs made and packaged in Boulder. While Cocktail Squad isn’t the first canned spirit product to hit the market, Lauren started the brand with her husband because she believed there was still a gap in this space.
“There are products out there that are more like mixology products, but our focus in on classic cocktails,” says Lauren. “With the decline of beer as a category and millennials switching to spirits over beer, we felt that it was really important to start with classic cocktails and offer them in a convenient and portable way to consumers.”
More Cans: Infinite Monkey Theorem
The idea for Cocktail Squad was planted in 2014, when Lauren, a young mom of four kids, was struggling to find a balance between family life and being a young adult who still wanted to enjoy the finer things in life. Convenience was key, as Lauren realized prior to starting her own brand.
During this time, Lauren and her husband, an entrepreneur in the food and beverage arena, found a rare evening when they could steal away to a local Boulder restaurant together and enjoy a cocktail. Relishing the time together and the delicious drink but realizing it would perhaps be months before Lauren found the time to enjoy another happy hour out on the town, Lauren asked the bartender for the recipe of the cocktail so she could make her own version at home.
“In the end that cocktail had nothing to do with what we’re creating now,” Lauren says. “It was a jumping-off point for us. We realized that there are plenty of people like us who are working hard, or have young families, or are just busy in life and can’t always enjoy a premium, hand-made cocktail at a bar or restaurant. We knew there were plenty of people like us who would appreciate something elevated with natural ingredients in the convenience of a portable can.”
So the Maggios developed simple, classic cocktails to be enjoyed by busy people on-the-go and outdoor enthusiasts looking for more portable options to suit their active lifestyle. Skiers take note: canned spirits can go where bottles cannot, like the hot tub.
The four canned spirits that Cocktail Squad currently offers may have different ingredients, spirits, and flavors, but they all have something in common—they’re uniquely Boulder: sophisticated yet simple, with an emphasis on living and enjoying an active lifestyle. They’re also all fully-loaded with 10% ABV.
Cocktail Squad is currently servicing the clear-spirit lovers with their vodka, tequila, and gin offerings, but they also have something in the works for those partial to whiskey. The brand will be launching three canned whiskey cocktails this spring, but the exact release date is TBD.
“As soon as the newly-reopened government approves our label,” Lauren assures. “We got things into the queue right when the government shut down, and we’ll see when they get to it. Right now we are beholden to the government. But it will definitely launch this spring.”
More Booze: Wyoming Whiskey
Being skiers and on-the-go professionals who live and work in Boulder, SKI Mag’s staff just so happens to fall into Cocktail Squad’s target demographic, which means we got to sample the brand’s offerings. These were our two favorites:
Cocktail Squad Vodka Soda
The brand’s 0-gram sugar, 0-gram carbohydrate offering. While none of us are currently training for an Iron Man and are therefore not particularly picky when it comes to low-sugar, low-carb offerings (pizza and beer is our go-to), we will say that this take on the classic cocktail is refreshing, and may actually convince us to pay more attention to the carbs and sugar in our après drinks. With only three ingredients, this drink keeps it simple: just premium vodka, premium soda, and lemon.
Cocktail Squad G&T
The brand’s gin-based offering serves up a clean, well-balanced G&T like you’re used to making at home, but with an added perk: you don’t have to make it yourself. If you want something more revolutionary, add a slice of cucumber and some smacked/spanked basil à la Lauren’s suggestions on the Cocktail Squad website.