Pre-mixed cocktails were once associated with a combination of low-grade spirits, food dye and lots of sugar. But a new wave of premium canned and bottled cocktails is setting the bar higher.

Curatif, which launched earlier this month, is one of the newest canned-cocktail companies to hit the shelves. Co-founders Matt Sanger, Sam Lane and Jeremy Spencer saw a gap in the market and seized the opportunity.

“Over a couple of beers one day, we had this idea of making bar-quality cocktails and getting them to people’s houses,” Sanger tells Broadsheet.

The Curatif range currently includes two cocktails – a Negroni made with Four Pillars Spiced Negroni Gin, Campari and Martini Rosso, and an Espresso Martini made with Archie Rose Original Vodka and espresso from Seven Seeds Coffee Roasters that was developed specifically for the cocktail.

“We said look, we want to make coffee that tastes like espresso when we put it into these cans, and also six or 12 or 18 months down the road, when somebody buys it off the shelf or when they receive it in business class on the aeroplane,” says Sanger.

While the range is modest right now, customers can expect several other cocktails to come, including a Margarita, a Bloody Mary, a Daiquiri and a decaf Espresso Martini.

“There are a lot of people who don’t want to be wandering around the house at three in the morning due to the caffeine levels they’ve been taking in,” says Spencer.

Although international liqueurs and aperitifs feature in Curatif recipes, the base spirits come from local suppliers and producers – which makes sense, given Spencer’s history as co-founder of the celebrated Western Australian company The West Winds Gin.

The team considered several other packaging options, but determined cans were best for quality and recycling purposes. Melbourne-based studio TCYK is behind the snappy design.

“The way that we treat them with liquid and gas nitrogen is how we’re able to keep them fresh,” says Sanger.

Curatif cocktails are currently available for purchase at Dan Murphy’s and several independent retailers, and will launch online and at BWS in the coming weeks.