Consumer Reports shares ideas for making holiday cocktails at home

Consumer Reports experts had the tough job of tasting some of the more popular brands to see if they're worth a try for the holiday season and beyond! Consumer Reports shares the best cocktail shakers for those that prefer the "old-fashioned" way.

Move over, hard seltzers; now you can enjoy ready-made cocktails—like old fashioneds, cosmos, and mojitos—from a can. Consumer Reports’ experts had the tough job of tasting some of the more popular brands to see if they’re worth a try for the holiday season and beyond! And if you’re up to making your own, CR shares the best cocktail shakers for those who prefer the “old-fashioned” way.

Whether you want your favorite cocktail without the fuss or you don’t have the right tools to make one yourself, Consumer Reports says there are lots of options.

The easy breezy option: a canned cocktail. One of the better things about canned cocktails is that they allow you to focus on your guests and not on preparing your cocktails yourself.

So how does canning something that’s meant to be served fresh from the bar really taste? A lot of cocktails work really well in cans, but one thing you have to look out for is that it’s very hard to “can” fresh citrus or fresh fruit juice. They’re going to be their own thing.

For example, the Bacardi Mojito doesn’t taste exactly like a mojito, but it was still a surprise hit; think spiked Sprite—refreshing and sweet.

For less of a sweet hit, tasters say the Cutwater Tequila Paloma is also refreshing, slightly citrusy, and reasonably priced, which makes it a great party pick.

If you’d rather save some money and play bartender, CR also took a look at several cocktail shakers. Beginners tend to gravitate toward cobbler shakers, which have three parts: a shaker, a strainer, and a cap that doubles as a 1-ounce measuring cup.

However, pros prefer Boston shakers for their simplicity—two parts that fit together and come apart relatively easily.

A stainless steel one from Crate & Barrel is easy to use, is dishwasher-safe, and costs only $20. And note that you’ll need to buy what’s called a Hawthorne strainer separately.

And finally, if you want to keep effort and costs down, CR says to consider boxed wine for your holiday soiree. Boxed wine not only costs less than bottled but also lasts longer, so it’s less likely to go to waste after the party is over.