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What’s old is new again—especially when it comes with a sleek rebranding. Blush wine was passé until it became rosé, and now, another Y2k-era drink is destined for a comeback: spiked lemonade. (You, know…like the Mike’s of yore.) The drink has always risen in popularity during the summer months, but it’s poised to become the go-to bev at every cookout this year, as a wave of newcomers help it shed its syrupy, sad-malt-beer reputation.

When spiked seltzers took off in 2018, with them came a surge in canned, ready-to-drink cocktails across the board. Brands started pumping out new flavors to keep people’s interest—all boozy, most fizzy—and naturally, they looked to iterate on crowd-pleasers. Is there anything more quintessentially summer than lemonade? It’s no wonder the arguable king of hard seltzers, White Claw, just launched REFRSHR, a vowel-averse-yet-all-caps-flavor-obsessed line of boozy lemonades. (In fact, it makes even more sense when you consider its parent company, Mark Anthony Brands International, also owns the OG, Mike’s Hard Lemonade.)

Not content with a basic spiked lemonade, all four flavors have their own “yes, and…” moment: a lemon flavor with Calamansi (a Japanese citrus), blood orange lemonade with a hint of black raspberry, blackberry lemonade with a touch of cherry and strawberry lemonade with a kiss of kiwi.

Why so much going on? Perhaps it makes the drink seem a little fancier and harder to concoct at home than simply adding vodka to your own, store-bought lemonade, as people have done for years. It could also be a reflection of current flavor trends.

“We’re seeing consumers crave bolder, fuller flavors with this rise of ready-to-drink cocktails,” says Jamie Wideman, vice president of innovation at Molson Coors, which partnered with Coca-Cola to launch Simply Spiked Lemonade—a boozy riff on its refrigerated juices—this June. And, like White Claw, it too offers four flavors: classic lemonade, along with strawberry-, blueberry- and watermelon-infused versions. The final product had to be “bold and juicy” above all else, Wideman added.

Across the board, most canned, spiked lemonades clock in at 5 percent ABV—on par with a beer, making them less intense than canned wine or even your typical spritzer, but still powerful enough to give you a buzz by the end of a pool party or cookout. It’s the pick for someone who wants something sweeter than a seltzer, more thirst-quenching than a glass of wine, less hassle than playing backyard mixologist, making a cocktail from scratch. It’s convenience in a can, providing a fresh take on a comforting flavor. And after the year(s) we’ve had, it makes sense people are scouring grocery store aisles for something familiar-ish.

Don’t Show Up At Your Next BBQ Empty-Handed:

Molson Coors
spiked lemonade fishers island

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