We've spoken to 38 of the World’s 50 Best Bars for this poll and in order to have a broad set of results we widened the net to include responses from a total of 100 of the top bars in the world - as voted for by our World's 50 Best Bars Academy.
We asked bar owners and head bartenders from these 100 top bars to name the Best Selling and Top Trending brands behind their bars. For more information about our methodology see here.
Starting with Bartenders Choice (bartenders' personal picks) day by day we will take you through the overall Best Selling and Top Trending spirits, and into the categories - from tequila, gin, vodka, rum, liqueurs, Scotch, World Whiskies, Brandy, aperitifs and digestifs,champagne, beer, water and tonic water to the best brands for cocktails.
Yes, that is a mezcal topping our top ten spirits list. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised – this stuff is catnip to the bartending fraternity and Del Maguey is the brand that prompted the feeding frenzy.
Since we’ve been asking bartenders what they prize most, the list has generally been topped by big but quality-oriented brands such as Tanqueray and Havana Club, so a minnow entering the list at number one is some achievement.
Artist Ron Cooper founded Del Maguey in 1995 with a vision to show the world the best of the Mexican spirit. His organic Single Village Mezcal concept draws on age-old techniques and knowledge and showcases the individual terroir of each village.
Bartenders who took part in the survey are convinced. The American Bar in London told us Del Maguey was “reflective of an area and culture”, while Milan’s Rita & Cocktails said the brand has the best “connection of any product to the terroir”.
Bartenders tell us they love the range’s multitude of single-village mezcals and different agave types, and are happy to take them down naked or chasing a beer. But the expression that has really plugged a gap no one knew they had is Vida – the first entry level, mixable mezcal.
Junipery gin giants Tanqueray and Beefeater are linchpins of the list and come in second and third places. Speaking of Tanqueray, Barcelona’s Ohla Boutique Bar described it as “one of the best gins in the world”, while Imperial Craft in Tel Aviv call it the “perfect white spirit”.
But that’s not it for gin – there are four in our top 10. St George at six is a range of three craft gins produced in California and at 10 we have the German craft gin Monkey 47, which is bottled at 47% and includes 47 ingredients. It’s a brand that has been proving more is more in Germany for a couple of years and is now an established favourite around the world.
At number four is Plantation rum which, according to Berlin’s Curtain Club, offers “wonderful variety in its portfolio” that makes “every guest’s night at the bar memorable”.
Perhaps Bacardi, traditionally more of a volume brand, is a surprise inclusion, but rum is hot and Bacardi’s aged expressions have better exposure than smaller rums.
The tequila branch of the agave family also gets a nod from our bartenders. Though dropping from second place last year, Tapatio is a firm favourite behind the stick. It is produced at the La Alteña distillery in the highlands of Jalisco – the same place that makes Tomas Estes’ Ocho, which narrowly missed the Top 10 this year.