This gin-turned-vodka-turned- gin-and-lime cocktail has moved with the times. With gin now back in favour, its vodka years are mostly behind it. In a sense this is a Daiquiri for gin drinkers and two of our 73 polled bars said it was their best selling classic. Around 15% said it is among their top 10. Whether with lime cordial or lime juice sweetened with sugar, it is served in a coupette with a couple of shots of London dry. At Zetter Townhouse they twist it with homemade saffron cordial. Fancy.
19: Piña Colada
Somewhere between acceptance and ridicule exists the Piña Colada. Right now we’re in the acceptance phase as the craft movement reaches saturation point for 19th and early 20th-century classics and turns to kitsch. Piña Colada means ‘strained pineapple’ and its origins go back as far as the first meeting between pineapples and rum. Coconut completes this tropical ménage à trois and the drink can now be found in the likes of Artesian and is a top 10 seller in 11 of the bars we polled. At London tiki bar Trailer Happiness they make roasted pineapple molasses purée to add depth to what already is a palate buster of a potion.
18: Clover Club
For the years before the Cosmo made pink drinks less cool than brown ones, there was the Clover Club. This pink pre-prohibition classic was invented in Philadelphia and is a favourite of many of the world top bars, not least Julie Reiner’s Brooklyn bar Clover Club. About 15% of polled bars said this gin, raspberry, lemon juice and egg white drink is among their top sellers. But in most bars, they’d be happy to bash it out. Great name, great drink – and boy do they slip down drinkers’ plug holes.
17: Mint Julep
If you want the simplest of drinks to take hours, make the Mint Julep. Here the important thing is to refrigerate a Julep tin (if you can find one – we couldn’t) for so long, hands shiver at its sight. Other than that, it’s mint, sugar and bourbon. At the Kentucky Derby 120,000 Mint Juleps are served each year to race-goers, though not jockeys. That would be dangerous. Meanwhile, at The World’s 50 Best Bars the Mint Julep is also running well, with about a fifth of bars attesting to its selling power. They like to use Woodford Reserve, Maker’s Mark and Four Roses.
16: Aperol Spritz
If only all brands were lucky enough to have their own cocktail. The Aperol Spritz is barely a cocktail but with wine, Aperol and soda all making friends in one glass, it is a refreshing Italian style aperitivo perfect for the more sober, hot- weather occasion. It has its roots in northern Italy, so to be authentic the wine should be from Veneto. For bubbles add Prosecco, for still, try Soave or Pinot Grigio. Better still have a glass of wine and a measure of Aperol on the side. But drink both responsibly.
The drink of the living dead. Simply clear the back bar of rum and empty the contents into a large glass along with some more booze in the form of apricot brandy, lime and pineapple juice. When a customer asks for this, try to recall their gait. Without preloading, one Zombie is enough to nullify coordination, two and the drinker becomes the drink – a zombie.
Flying high at number 14 and the third best selling gin cocktail at the World’s 50 Best Bars is the Aviation. Essentially, a bon vivant’s Tom Collins with some maraschino, this is the number one classic in two of the bars we spoke to and is a top 10 seller in about 20% of polled bars. The recipe first appeared in Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks, where crème de violette provided an extra floral dimension.
13: Bloody Mary
‘For when it is too early to drink a Martini’ should be this drink’s slogan. Not that it needs one. This is a cocktail that is ubiquitously enjoyed at the world’s best bars and probably on Mars, too. Somehow it ties a rope between last night’s debauchery and today’s penance. It can be drunk AM in front of grandma or PM in front of mates, but mostly only one is needed. It’s a big drink with ingredients normally found on plates, not in glasses. It is also a classic that will never go out of fashion.
12: Moscow Mule
Bartender enthusiasm for vodka has waned since the spirit’s latter 20th-century heyday, yet at the W50BB the Moscow Mule is doing great business. Essentially this is vodka’s answer to the Dark ‘n’ Stormy but is housed in the kind of copper mugs that once bought should probably be put to use.
11: Dark ’n’ Stormy
Bermuda ahoy! The Dark ’n’ Stormy is what you are most likely to drink in Bermuda (that and the Rum Swizzle) and the 11th most likely classic at The World’s 50 Best Bars. The history of rum is never far away from seafarers and the Dark ’n’ Stormy is no different. To cut a story’s length, British colonialists brought the ginger beer, Gosling’s brought the rum. Add a bit of lime, and there you have it, the Dark ‘n’ Stormy – worthy of any bloke with a beard and tatts, on or off land.