The bestselling classic cocktails at the world's best bars

17 May, 2023

40. Cosmopolitan

For a universally-recognised classic with only a few decades of history, youd think that we would have a good idea of where this brightly-coloured combo of vodka, cranberry, triple sec and lime came from, but there are competing stories. The earliest claim comes from Neal Murray, a Minnesota bartender said to have mixed the first in 1975, while Toby Cecchini says he invented the iconic pink drink in New York in 1988. Miami bartender Cheryl Cook is another contender, said to have created it in 1989. Whoever was originally responsible, Sex and the City made it so that the Cosmo wont be forgotten in a hurry.

39. Vieux Carré

One of the numerous gifts New Orleans has given to drinking culture over the years, the Vieux Carré traces its origins to the citys Hotel Monteleone, around the year 1938. In what was then known as the hotels Swan Room, now the Carousel Bar, head bartender Walter Bergeron is said to have created his soon-to-be-famous Vieux Carré. Bergeron not only named his creation in honour of the citys French Quarter (old square), but threw in a couple of French ingredients too, with cognac and Benedictine liqueur meeting more local rye whiskey and Peychauds – with Italian vermouth and Angostura from further afield.

38. Painkiller

Cocktail stories dont come more colourful than the Painkillers, starting with its birthplace, the six-seater Soggy Dollar Bar on a white beach in the British Virgin Islands, where the absence of a dock made it troublesome to keep your cash dry as you waded ashore. It was known in the 1970s for a drink that English proprietor Daphne Henderson made with Pussers rum, cream of coconut, pineapple and orange the Painkiller. Among her regulars was Pussers founder Charles Tobias, who tried in vain to get the recipe from Henderson, eventually figuring it out himself. Pussers has since trademarked the name.

37. Vesper

Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond and Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang, of course is also responsible for this enduring gin/vodka Martini hybrid. Making its first appearance in 1953, in the first Bond novel, Casino Royale, the Vesper ordered by 007 contains three parts gin and one part vodka, as well as the now-discontinued Kina Lillet shaken, of course. In the novel, Bond names his creation after agent Vesper Lynd, and the rest is history. Bartenders may need to improvise when it comes to one of its core ingredients, but the Vesper lives on nevertheless, no doubt aided by the enduring popularity of Bond himself.

36. Vodka Martini

Spare a thought for the Vodka Martini, Vodkatini, Kangaroowhichever you prefer. A drink whose fortunes have always been at the whim of passing fads, perhaps more than most. No doubt benefiting from vodkas ascendence in the 1950s, and fuelled by a certain spy who loved them, its popularity peaked for a few decades, edged out in later years by a slew of colourful, fruity Tinis. As we collectively came to our senses, the Gin Martini made its rightful return, leaving the Vodka Martini somewhat out in the cold. Regardless, this vodka and vermouth mix is definitely back, at least for the moment.

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