Working in the beverage industry for as long as I have, I’ve gotten over the stigma of having a drink at any time of day (hey, your palate is at its sharpest first thing in the morning). Though I was a little surprised to see these pop up at a recent Culinaire meeting.

The pre-mixed drinks category has a long and proud tradition of miserable products that has a lifespan somewhere between new board games and new restaurants. They don’t last very long. Though, things are changing and changing for the better. You’ll still get coolers and mixed drinks that taste like ten year olds were the only tasters consulted-even MORE sugar? Sure why not? But there are a few that you should be proud to stock a couple of at home.

Social Lite is a pre-mixed vodka cooler-I’ll call it a cooler to make it easy for me, is a bit more like a vodka “refresher”, very low in sugar, about 85 calories per can, about 4% alcohol, and all natural ingredients. Sure it’s targeted towards women, but this might be a fit for anyone who needs a little more vodka in their day.

Two flavours are “Lime and Ginger” and “Lemon Cucumber Mint”, surprisingly to anyone who’s tasted a Mike’s Hard or Smirnoff Ice, the flavours are quite mild. The flavours also taste like flavours rather than a chemist’s version of what ginger might taste like. The vodka is also very mellow adding a bit of texture or bite rather than a burn. I preferred the lemon cucumber, but the team at Culinaire was somewhat split on a favourite flavour. Somehow, I also felt like a “grown up” drinking them since it wasn’t about hammering alcohol down my booze hole, but a refreshing adult beverage that was quite tasty. My ideal spot to enjoy it? Hot patio as a before lunch refresher or mid-afternoon after sneaking out early from working.

Widely available and increasing in distribution, they are sold in 4x355ml cans (CSPC +766669 for the Lemon Cucumber Mint and CSPC +766671 for the Lime Ginger) for about $12-14 in most shops.

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