The Pre-Mixed & RTD Masters 2021

RTD Pre mixed cover image

The 15 highest-scoring RTDs and pre-mixed drinks came from across the globe, but UK-based brands took home the lion’s share of entries earning 90-100 points

Three panels of specialist, independent judges from across the spirits industry ranked more than 100 ready-to-drink (RTD) and pre-mixed drinks at The Pre-Mixed & RTD Masters 2021, part of The Global Spirits Masters series hosted by The Spirits Business

The results highlight the top 15 RTD and pre-mixed drinks currently available on the global drinks market. Judges awarded these entries with scores between 90-100 points, earning them the most prestigious award available: a Master medal. UK-based brands were awarded more Master medals than brands from any other country collectively, showing that producers based in the UK are taking the lead in providing some of the highest-quality offerings on the Pre-Mixed and RTD market.

Notably, NIO Cocktails was awarded three of the highest scores for the following cocktails, which featured across a range of the spirit-focused categories: Garden of Russia (Vodka Base), Tommy’s Margarita (Tequila/Mezcal-Based) and the Manhattan (Whisk(e)y Base). NIO Cocktails’ range is available to buy directly from the brand’s website and are delivered in letterbox-friendly pouches, ready to pour straight from the packet and ‘need ice only’ (get it? N-I-O…). 

The highest-rated entry of the competition was Berry Bros. & Rudd’s No. 3 Vesper Martini from the Gin Base category, which was honoured with the Taste Master award as the single entry that most impressed the international panel of judges. Another win for the UK pre-mixed & RTD market, this bottling is produced by Berry Bros & Rudd of St. James’s, London. Spirit of Harrogate also picked up Master medals for two of their Slingsby Gin RTDs. 

Arguably the birthplace of many canned alcoholic beverages, the US held its own, showcasing Zing Zang’s Bloody Mary, which also earned one of the top scores. Another Master medal was awarded to Dos Locos’ Strawberry Lime Tequila Seltzer as part of the Hard Seltzer flight, which came from Canada’s Independent Distillers.

Continuing the global theme across the top 15 entries of the competition were France’s Comte de Grasse with Divine Orange (Gin-Based), Denmark’s Ish Spirits with Daiquirish (Low/No-Based) and Australia’s Curatif, which took home two Master medals for its Black Pear Toreador (Tequila/Mezcal-Based) and Plantation Pineapple Daiquiri (Rum-Based).

Melita Kiely, editor of The Spirits Business and chair of The Global Spirits Masters, said: “The explosion of ready-to-drink and pre-mixed beverages has been greatly accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdowns have encouraged cocktail fans to seek out quality products that can easily be enjoyed at home – and producers have stepped up to meet their demands. 

“The quality of RTD drinks has risen enormously over the last few years, and it’s been fantastic to witness the category’s growth and evolution over the years through our blind tastings. There are some seriously good pre-mixed drinks now available on the market – particularly among this year’s top medal winners – perfect for those of us looking for convenience, while not wanting to compromise on quality.”

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