It is always 5 o’clock somewhere, and I’m a sucker for a refreshing after-work adult beverage. What I’m pulling out of the fridge depends on the day, what my taste buds are in the mood for, how healthy the drink is, and how much it costs to keep it stocked. At this point, I’m over the beer and spiked seltzer scene. I want something more refreshing and with a more sophisticated palette. Enter my two new favorite genres of boozy beverages – wine in a can and spiked iced tea.
When it’s time for BYOB, the options can sometimes be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve taken on the mighty task of comparing the best canned wine vs. the best boozy tea using three categories – taste, health, and cost. Take a sip.
Best Boozy Teas
Let’s get one thing straight. Owl’s Brew is still my favorite Boozy Tea. However, in the spirit of a fair comparison, I’ve also picked two other brands that are tough competitors and fit my taste/health/cost criteria. I like my beverages as “real” as possible, meaning brewed with real tea (not a malt beverage) and not overly sweet. I find that it’s the excessive sugar that gives me a hangover.
Luckily Owl’s Brew is made with 100% fresh brewed tea, is 4.8% boozy, and only has 100 calories per can. While I can’t complain about their flavors, this review will touch on my top three: English Breakfast Tea & Lemon, White Tea & Watermelon, and Jasmine & Blueberry.
- English Breakfast Tea & Lemon – A classic. If you like black tea, you’ll love this strong flavor with a hint of lemon. This cuppa has a kick but is not overly boozy.
- White Tea & Watermelon – When I make tea for myself in the evening, white tea is my go-to, so I was especially excited to try this flavor. Pleasantly surprised; the flavor was super delicate. The watermelon flavor was light and subtly mixed with notes of raspberry and lemon.
- Jasmine & Blueberry – This one is super refreshing and a little tart (which I love). You can taste the fresh-brewed flowers they include, like rose petals, hibiscus, and jasmine.
Loverboy is excellent, and it’s the only sparkling boozy tea on this list, which is different and fun. Each can is only 90 calories, naturally sweetened, and has zero sugar, so it’s the holy grail of boozy tea. They add monk fruit for sweetness, so their flavors are never artificial. Here are my favorites from Loverboy: Hibiscus Lime, Lemon Iced Tea, and White Tea Peach.
- Hibiscus Lime – If you couldn’t already tell, I love a good floral note. This sparkling tea is steeped from the hibiscus flower and combined with pomegranate and citrus, so it has that tart flavor and acidity that I’m looking for when I want a refreshing beverage.
- Lemon Iced Tea – A classic black tea with a hint of lemon and ginger and includes no fake sweetener, which I LOVE. I want to say it’s akin to an Arnold palmer but more refreshing (if that’s possible).
- White Tea Peach – This one has a light flavor and is not too ‘peachy,’ which I’m a fan of. It’s made with real brewed tea and has notes of peach juice and lavender. The lavender was a pleasant addition.
I am a very visual girlie in my everyday life, so I can appreciate aesthetic packaging. That’s why I was slightly disappointed by Buzz Tea’s cans. The emojis are a bit too much for me, and the packaging could use a softer touch. But I like everything else about Buzz Tea, so I’m willing to sacrifice art for real brewed tea, 130 calories, and 6.5% alcohol. They only make three flavors, so I’m going to give you a little taste test.
- Original – The original flavor comes in a yellow can and tastes like sweet tea, but you can definitely taste the alcohol. I like that it’s made with real brewed Argentinian Black tea.
- Half & Half – This one really tastes like a boozy Arnold Palmer, and I’m not mad at it. It has a sweet and refreshing summertime taste that makes me wish that I was invited to a barbecue.
- Peach – The sweetness in the Peach Iced Tea is light, but it is brewed from real peach tea, so you can taste the sweet tang of peach flavor – and 0 carbs!
Our Favorite Canned Wines
I’m not a sommelier by any means, but I love a good glass (or two, or three) of Sauvignon Blanc now and then. I also love to try new wine, but buying a whole bottle is not always within the budget. When I heard that they make good canned wine, I had to jump on this trend…and I was not disappointed.
If we’re talking wine, it’s usually virtually impossible to have minimal sugar per glass (there will always be a few grams). But like boozy tea, these canned wines pass my health test with less than one gram of sugar per can! And canned wine tastes GOOD. Here are our best high-end recommendations if you’re willing to spend a few extra dollars on premium wine in a can. They’re not just “good for canned wine.” Trust me; these picks taste amazing and deliver the sophisticated wine experience we’re used to.
Starting strong with my favorite I’ve tried, Nomadica canned wine. First, the brand is female-owned and LGBTQ+ led, which is a huge no-brainer in my book. All their wine is sommelier curated specifically for taste and canned in limited edition batches of 100 cans or less. We love exclusivity. As previously mentioned, aesthetics matter to me. Nomadica has gorgeous independent artists’ work featured on their packaging and each individually sustainable can.
- White – The white is a sweeter chardonnay that they say is partially aged in neutral oak. I found elegantly deep notes of green apple, floral lemon, almond, and vanilla. The can was super bright and fresh and has zero grams of sugar!
- Rosé – I could drink this rosé canned wine all day. This one is fruity and tastes like strawberries with sage, rose, and violet undertones. Light and more floral than white. Best canned rose we’ve ever had! Not bubbly, but they also have a sparkling rosé with a bright and crisp raspberry flavor that I’d love to try next.
- Wanderlust Red – the red is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, barbera, and sinfandel. I love a red blend because it’s not usually too dry, and Nomadica wines hit the nail on the head with this one. It has a rich, blackberry flavor that gives me luxurious winter vibes. And again, every single one of their wines has zero sugar! Hangover, who?
Sans Wine Co.
Sans Wine Co. also makes traditional bottles of wine, but we’re here for the canned wine. If grape location matters to you, Sans sources and produces their wine from Napa Valley – certified vegan, with no added sulfites or sugar. I’ve seen their natural wine spritzers in stores, but have never tried their true vineyard cans. They do sell a variety pack, but I tried three for this article – Sauvignon Blanc, a non-bubbly Rosé and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Price – $60 for a 6-pack. A little pricier than some other can options, but worth it in my opinion.
- ‘Finley Road Vineyard’ Sauvignon Blanc – Like I said, they have a few whites available in cans, including a cute little Reisling, but my favorite type of wine is Sauvignon Blanc, so I needed to give this a try. It was very bright and not carbonated, with hints of lemon lime and citrus flavors.
- ‘Poor Ranch Vineyard’ Rosé – This rosé was my favorite! It tasted rather dry yet semi-sweet, with hints of tropical melon flavors, citrus, and pomegranate. They also offer a bubbly version from the same vineyard that is crisp and refreshing as well with notes of cara oranges, grapefruits, and raspberries.
- ‘Three Jacks Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon – This is the most expensive option at 6 cans for $150 but I guess it’s super top shelf stuff. For a cab-sav it was a super dry and dullboadied red, which normally I’m not a fan of unless I’m eating red meat. The undertones were of blackberries and dried plumbs with a hint of cocoa powder + green peppercorns that added to the dryness.
Lubanzi wine in a can comes in at #3 simply because it is the most affordable on this list, and I’m a huge fan of South African imported wine in general. It does not disappoint. Besides making good, canned wine, they give 50% of their profits back to the local community in Western Cape, South Africa. Tastes good while you do good.
They are vegan-friendly but have the highest sugar content of all the wines on this list, with 2g/L. Not bad, but not outstanding either when there are other healthier options. You should know the drill by now; I tried a red blend, a white, and of course a rosé below.
Price – $30 for a 4-pack. Plus, each can is equivalent to HALF a bottle of wine. It is the most bang for your buck on this list.
- Lubanzi Red Blend – The red is a blend of Shiraz, Cinsault, Mourvedre, and Grenache from South Africa. It was surprisingly a tad too sweet for my liking (but don’t let me stop you). Notes of cherries and slightly earthy. Medium-bodied that tastes sweet like fruit, and ends in notes of spice with hints of chocolate
- Lubanzi Chenin Blanc – The white wine in a can was superb. Super refreshing, with notes of pear and very bright acidity. You can really taste the citrus and green apple notes as well. 10/10 recommend.
- Lubanzi Rosé Bubbles – This one is a sparkling rose with floral aromatics. They don’t make one without bubbles like the other brands, which is disappointing. The rosé is dry and crisp; you can taste the wild cherries and strawberries they infuse into it, making it so refreshingly chilled!
In my quest to find the perfect alcoholic beverage in a can, here’s what I learned. Boozy tea is the next big thing, and canned wine is just as good as a bottle. While I was impressed by how great the wine tasted, the clear winner is boozy tea. There were so many exciting flavors to choose from, and both Owl’s Brew and Loverboy blew me away with how freshly brewed the tea tasted and how little (to no) artificial sweeteners were included.
Moving forward, the next time I have to BYOB…I will be putting down the 12-pack of White Claws and possibly skipping over the canned wine in exchange for boozy tea. And if you’re looking to try any of the drinks written above…my fridge is very stocked.