Inkwell Dub Style preservative-free bubbly
This is a pretty wild number – a pét-nat sparkling wine captured in the can, with plenty of froth and zing. It smells strong, like jasmine and ripe peach, but the cut and thrust in the palate is thirst-quenching tropical fruit juice and citrusy tang. What fun. $10 (can) / $240 (24).

Sprezza Bianco
This is the best canned thing I have tasted all year, bar none. It’s a vermouth spritz, which isn’t new, but this one’s up there with the best. Dry with really tight, vigorous bubbles, it throws out the botanical zestiness and hint of bitterness I want from vermouth but with a barely there sweetness for drinkability. Unreal. $9 (can) / $30 (4).

Archie Rose espresso martini
I normally prefer a White Russian when I’m drinking coffee-oriented cocktails, but this rendition of the mixed drink for the giggling throngs is compelling. Straight from the can it’s an energising shot of well-balanced boozy fun, with a little help from Melbourne coffee-roaster Seven Seeds. $45 (4) / $270 (24).

Sparkke hard lemonade
I thought hard lemonade was a thing of the past, until I crossed paths with this. Fermented with champagne yeast, it’s straight up brilliant, mainlining a real lemonade scent and flavour that’s miles away from the more common sticky, sickly sweet versions. It’s really summery and really very good. Chug with impunity. $105 (24).

Mountain Distilling Co gin and tonic
Canned G&Ts are great. Not only convenient, but generally just a good time and great option to sub in for cans of beer or glugging down wine. This is definitely the best one I’ve tasted in the Australian scene to date. Tart, brisk in fizz, good hit of gin flavour. Done deal. $185 (24).

Once you’ve got your cans, learn how to use an esky properly with our simple guide. No matter how many times you’ve stocked an esky, we’re willing to bet you’re still making some basic mistakes.

Mike Bennie is a wine and drinks journalist, presenter, co-owner of Sydney’s P&V Wine + Liquor Merchants and co-founder of the Drink Easy Awards.