The bestselling classic cocktails at the world's best bars

17 May, 2023

35. Mezcal Margarita

Its not the greatest conceptual leap to replace the tequila in a Margarita with its fellow agave spirit mezcal, and well probably never know who was the first to make the swap, but we nevertheless owe them a debt of gratitude, whoever they are. Playing on mezcals often-smoky characteristics, the result tends to be punchier and more complex than the original and with the inexorable rise of mezcal at the moment, its becoming ever more prevalent. Some elect to retain the triple sec of the original Margarita, while others opt for the more modern Tommys approach, simply combining mezcal, lime juice and agave syrup.

34. Naked & Famous

With its progenitor the Last Word ranking so high this year, its no surprise that the Naked & Famous is getting its share of the limelight too. Its creator, Joaquín Simó, describes it as the bastard love child born out of an illicit Oaxacan love affairbetween that venerable classic and the more contemporary Paper Planes cocktail, resulting in a combination of mezcal, Yellow Chartreuse, Aperol and lime juice. The Naked & Famous has lived up to its name, or at least half of it, in the brief time since he mixed the first one in 2011, appearing on menus far and wide.

33. Gin Basil Smash

The Gin Basil Smash is among the youngest drinks on this years list, created in 2008. This youthful upstart is based on a historic style of drink, the only Smash featuring in this years top 50. The person responsible for its creation, keeping the Smash alive in the process, is Germanys Jörg Meyer. The way he tells it, he was drinking a lot of Whiskey Smashes at the time, thought to make a gin version, and simultaneously came across another drink with basil as a garnish. Cue some experimentation and muddling, and a modern-day classic was born.

32. Pornstar Martini

With its approachable, fruity flavour profile, and distinctive appearance not least the shot of fizz served alongside the Pornstar has always had both the looks and the personality to become one of the most successful and mainstream of modern-day classics. Indeed, as its creator the late Douglas Ankrah once wrote, the first time he made these, in 2002, the whole bar was ordering them by the end of the night. The bar in question was Ankrahs Townhouse in Londons Knightsbridge, but his other venue, Sohos LAB, often gets the credit. Today you can get one pretty much anywhere.

31. Dark n Stormy

With the dubious honour of being the highest-ranked trademarked cocktail on this list, the Dark n Stormy has undoubtedly weathered the test of time. Unsurprisingly, theres no neat origin story for when rum was first mixed with ginger beer, but its likely that this inspired combination, well-established in Bermuda in the 1800s, received a boost from Prohibition. The same Americans who would take rum-fuelled holidays to nearby islands during those years continued to mix these ingredients after repeal. Cut to the 1970s, and Bermudan rum Goslings trademarked the name, although that hasnt stopped other rums from being mixed with ginger beer, of course.


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