Can it

Illustration by Mark Stivers

Cocktails to go: If you’ve been to Shady Lady Saloon, then you probably know Ryan Seng. Or at least, you indirectly know Seng, because you’re familiar with his striking artwork. You also might know he’s a longtime bartender in town, formerly at Shady Lady and now at Grange Restaurant & Bar.

Now, he’s embarking on launching his first business: Can Can Cocktails. Cocktails in a can, essentially. He’s been thinking about the concept “for forever,” as someone who can’t consume gluten and dreams of bringing six-packs of cocktails to parties.

“I’m always jealous of my friends when they can just open a can of beer,” he says.

When Seng noticed last August that the San Diego-based brewery Ballast Point had unveiled a line of ready-to-drink canned cocktails, he called a lawyer to make sure the whole enterprise is legal. Then, he began making plans.

Expect flavors like a gin and tonic with grapefruit juice and lemongrass tonic; Boar’s Bourbon Sarsaparilla, which is basically a bourbon root beer; Jenny & the Mule, Seng’s version of a Moscow Mule; Shady Lady Old Fashioned; and a Sacto-sourced drink, featuring locally-distilled Wheel House 916 vodka, local Meyer lemons, local mint and local honey.

As for distribution, Seng plans to start with a focus on Sacramento bars, restaurants and grocery stores. He expects bars will sell cans at a similar price point to their other cocktails, but plans for folks to be able to pick up packs—studded with his artwork, of course—at a market for about $3 per can. Seng’s goal for all of this is August, because he wants to participate in Midtown Cocktail Week in some fashion, “even if I have to give them away,” he says.

Learn more and find the Kickstarter campaign at

So happy: Empress Tavern finally gave in and added a happy hour menu. It offers $9 cocktails, down from the usual $11, and a bunch of small bites for $5, but many of those dishes were already $5. The real deal comes via the burger, which used to cost $16 and now can only be ordered from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for $12. Also new: beignets, the New Orleans-style doughnut.