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Here’s the tinned fish and canned cocktail pairing guide you never knew you wanted

Get the dish on our favorite fish

The cultural impact of a trend is hard to measure until it’s over. Aerosol cheese, “fat-free” chocolate cake, and milk from many sources that are not a cow. When it comes to the beautiful cans of tinned fish and canned cocktails you’ve been seeing in corner shops and liquor stores, the staying power is palpable – it smells like fish. 

From the vibrant imagery of Fishwife, Scout, and Tiny Fish to Patagonia’s refreshing minimalism, these tin cans are as much a gift to the eyes as they are to the stomach. 

And that sentiment has been more than embraced in the world of booze where ready-to-drink cocktails accounted for about a billion dollars in sales in 2021. With such a clear through-line between the two, pairing tinned fish with canned cocktails together is the only logical next step. 

These are some of the finest tinned fish brands, paired with Drizly’s ready-to-drink favorites.


Taste is subjective; a personal experience that can not be measured or compared when other people are brought into the mix. Tinned fish isn’t for everyone; there is evidence out there suggesting some people don’t regularly indulge in tinned fish, let alone tinned fish paired with a canned cocktail. 

For this experiment, research and development involved the meticulous testing of tuna, salmon, sardines, octopus, and mackerel against classic canned cocktails.

Tiny Fish Co. was founded to disrupt the tinned canned fish industry while providing people with gourmet sealife snacks. With cans ranging from smoked geoduck with black pepper to rockfish in sweet soy sauce and smoked mussels in escabeche, the bittersweet bite of Tanqueray’s Classic Gin & Tonic

A cocktail as popular as the espresso martini comes with a reputation that – some say – resembles the importance of Portuguese sardines. People expect a lot and, as such, reap the benefits when greatness is met. My friends: I met The Greatness. Made with vodka, coffee liqueur, and 100% arabica cold brew, this buzzy little cocktail delivers the espresso martini of your dreams without the pomp or hype. Pair with sardines swimming in tomato sauce for a mid-day pick-me-up that’ll make you feel extra fancy.

Holy mackerel, what a combo. Any seasoned a-fish-ionado knows how easy it is for an oily fish like mackerel to overpower whatever you’re drinking. The answer is to, of course, fight fire with fire by pairing it with this canned Cazadores Margarita. The margarita is a true powerhouse cocktail that only gets better when paired with another big, bold flavor. I found this tinned twosome to work together in ways I didn’t expect. The lemon and capers worked wonders with the tartness of the margarita, proving once and for all, there is no wrong way to sip a marg.

Short and sweet with a 12.75% ABV kick, this artfully-formulated aperitivo is meant to precede the main course with a classy sipping experience that leaves enough room in your belly for this gloriously-smokey salmon from Fishwife. Chef’s kiss all around.

It almost feels like cheating including Cutwater’s canned vodka soda because of how well this simple cocktail goes with fish. This was my first time trying scallops in Caldeirada sauce, but my dudes, what a treat. The keyword here is balance. Not too much salt or sugar, just an overall pleasant snack. 

There’s actually a third player in this combo – golden hour. Bring these tinned treasures outside as the sun sets, and you might be transported to a cool little cafe where everyone’s wearing bejeweled vests. 

Something I never planned on revealing on such a public forum is the colorful relationship I’ve had with anchovies. 

As a little boy, I’d raid my parents’ kitchen cabinets for their prized cans of anchovies and polish off the whole tin by myself. Pain is weakness leaving the body, I’d think to myself as the sodium content sucked every water molecule from my body. Decades later, my love for anchovies has only intensified and – dare I say – spiked with this can of Rizzoli anchovy fillets. It doesn’t get better than this. 

Salty, spicy, and umami-out-the-wazoo, the flavor hits you all at once like a can of paint to the face like that movie about the kid who gets left home alone.   

Offsetting that intensity comes down to Crown Royal’s canned whiskey cola. This perfectly-balanced drink nails the whiskey/cola ratio and delivers a gold-standard cocktail without spending your cash at the bar. 

Take your time with these anchovies and sip slowly for an indulgent you gotta taste to believe.

Headed by award-winning Chef, Charlotte Langley, Scout’s mission to reduce food waste and protect the ocean comes to fruition through the prioritization of working with regional fishing communities across Canada and the US. And it just so happens they managed to perfect the art of canning lobster. 

Here’s a hot tip: grab the Scout Seacuterie 3-Pack so you can a/b test your sealife against this box of Nihonsakari Onikoroshi Juice Sake. While this sake is technically neither canned nor a cocktail, pairing fish with sake that’s “dry enough to kill a demon” makes all the difference. Bottom line: if you’re not drinking your sake through a straw, it’s time to catch to wave.


By sharing the spotlight so graciously, canned cocktails and tinned fish have formed a unique relationship that bridges the gap between the world of bubbly beverages and preserved fish. Taste is subjective, but good flavor is gooooooood flavor — so find the combo that revs your proverbial engine and tell your friends. 

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Jeremy Glass is editor-in-chief at The Stir, but doesn't like labels or being addressed as "sir" unless it's followed by "you can follow me this way for more free barbecue."

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