The Proof Cocktail Co. is known for their RTD canned cocktails which strive to be “bar quality… in a can.” [source]. Each drink is blended in a single tank before being canned. Their canned cocktails tend to be higher proof and more closely resemble the real drink than nearly anyone else on the market.
This is a double edged sword. While others try to can drinks which taste like their fresh made counterparts, in my experience Proof Cocktail’s canned drinks use more fresh-identical ingredients and have proofs far closer to their fresh made counterparts. For example the Proof Cocktail Tom Collins is a stern 27% ABV! Proof Cocktails aren’t meant to be crushable. They’re meant to be true replicas of the bar experience, made portable.
Lemon juice and other citrus juices, for example, are harder to make shelf stable than designing a canned drink around natural identical flavors.
Color: Pale straw. Poured, it matches the color of a Tom Collins with fresh lemon juice nearly right on.
Aroma: Moderately pronounced lemon. However, the lemon more closely resembles bottled lemon juice from concentrate than it does fresh.
Flavor: Light effervescence. Fat bubbles quickly dissipate. While they add some texture, it’s only a small part of the experience.
Strong lemon juice from concentrate flavor dominates the palate. It’s mildly tart and gently sweet. However, gin is scarce in Proof Cocktail Tom Collins. You’ll taste only the slightest hint of juniper, distilled citrus and coriander in the background.
While other Proof Cocktail drinks such as the Mai Tai, to my palate, have strong flavors of fresh ingredients and the source spirits, the Tom Collins comes up a bit short— there’s not as much gin in terms of flavor. However, remember, it’s still 27% ABV! There is more gin in here than you might expect.
Finish: Tangy tartness at the edges of the palate, fades through a mild sweetness into very faint hints of cassia, coriander and lemon.
Overall, Proof Cocktail Tom Collins
While I really enjoy some of the canned drinks from Proof Cocktail Co. I found myself a bit underwhelmed by the Tom Collins. The flavor of shelf stable lemon juice and the relative dearth of juniper/gin character makes Proof Cocktail Tom Collins hard to recommend.
For a cocktail that is so easy to make (well, especially relative to the Mai Tai), Proof’s version comes up short. It’s more recognizable as a canned lemon juice and soda, than it is as a Tom Collins. There’s other canned Collins riffs on the market that are ultimately more successful.