Bar Talk: Golden Rule Spirits

Golden Rule Spirits is mixing up 100ML “bar-strength” canned cocktails using top-shelf and minimal ingredients.
Courtesy Golden Rule

The Golden Rule in life refers to the idea that you should treat others how you would like to be treated. The Golden Rule in the bar world is a brand of canned, potent cocktails with a similar, albeit slightly altered slogan of “drink unto others.”

Founded by cousins James Mauk and Hunter Sprole in San Francisco, Golden Rule Spirits is mixing up 100ML “bar-strength” canned cocktails using top-shelf and minimal ingredients.

The brand claims to “only make cocktails we’d want to be served” and offers two options for consumers: a margarita and an old fashioned.

Where alcoholic seltzer was once the hot new thing, ready-to-drink canned cocktails have emerged in the past year or so as the latest trend to saturate the portable, ready for any adventure beverage market.

So, what makes Golden Rule Spirits the can worth taking with you?

As far as RTD canned cocktails go, this one packs a punch from the first sip, solidifying itself as spirit-forward.

The margarita, which is not offered in any flashy flavor varieties but rather is a classic made with 100% agave tequila, lime juice and triple sec, is 54 proof with 27% alcohol by volume.

If you’ve read any of my previous columns, you would know that I’ve had some recent run-ins with undrinkable margaritas, and I’m somewhat particular about them being freshly shaken with real ingredients.

The Golden Rule Spirits margarita checks the box for real ingredients; there is nothing fake about the flavor (as in no artificial sweeteners or strange chemical taste), and while the initial sip instantly alerts you to the amount of alcohol in the can, the finish is satisfying and robust.

I happened to have a Cutwater Lime Margarita open for tasting, as well, when I popped open the Golden Rule version, and while the Cutwater can was more approachable at first sip (it does have less ABV per can at 12.3%), I preferred the finish of the Golden Rule.

Much like the margarita, the Golden Rule Spirits old fashioned has a short, simple list of ingredients, this time with four instead of three: bourbon, bitters, natural orange and cane sugar.

The canned old fashioned is a whopping 38.5% ABV and 79 proof — nothing watered down here, so it’s a good thing these come in just a four pack.

While some people might complain about the small size of the can, the saying of size doesn’t matter rings true here.

Are these canned cocktails better than what you get at a bar? No, but they aren’t trying to be. These beverages are designed for adventure.

If you buy

$23 for a four-pack

Enjoying the canned cocktail in a glass.
Rose Laudicina
Golden Rule is designed to be a cocktail on the go.
Courtesy Golden Rule