The bestselling classic cocktails at the world's best bars

17 May, 2023

15. French 75

Nothing like a light, celebratory champagne-based cocktail named after a field gun used in World War ITaking its name from the Matériel de 75mm Mle 1897, the French 75 has evolved significantly in its time. The modern-day incarnation, a bright and refreshing combination of gin, lemon, sugar and champagne, began to emerge from the late 1920s, but earlier versions named for this piece of artillery variously included grenadine, applejack, calvados or absinthe. While its often served in champagne flutes nowadays, theres a growing number returning this classic to an earlier style, on the rocks in a Collins glass.

14. Bloody Mary

Universal hangover remedy and acceptable morning drink, the Bloody Mary comes in almost as many shapes and forms as there are people making it. This savoury cocktails history includes a name change, to the Red Snapper and back, and a move from vodka to gin, and back to vodka. Among its potential inventors, bartender Fernand PetePetiot is in the lead, said to have created it in the 1920s at Harrys New York Bar in Paris. He took it with him to The Savoy in London and New Yorks St Regis Hotel, setting it up to eventually conquer brunch menus everywhere.

13. Paloma

While the rest of the world has been mixing tequila into Margaritas of varying quality, in Mexico and Jalisco in particular they have long favoured a simple long drink with grapefruit soda Squirt as the mixer. The Paloma, meaning dovein Spanish, has been gaining ground further afield in recent years, increasingly finding itself on cocktail lists around the world. Most contemporary versions feature a squeeze of lime juice, with many adding salt, and theres a growing number of premium grapefruit mixers to choose from. Its not uncommon to find classier examples made with fresh grapefruit juice either.

12. Pisco Sour

While Chile and Peru both lay claim to pisco as their national spirit, the latter is almost certainly the birthplace of this South American brandys most widely-known cocktail. The drink is most commonly attributed to American bartender Victor Vaughen Morris, who arrived in Peru in 1903. Somewhere between that date and 1916, when he opened MorrisBar in the capital of Lima, hes said to have invented the drink that would put his establishment on the map. There are competing stories but, regardless, its the Peruvian version that endures, combining pisco with lime, sugar and egg white, garnished with bitters.

11. Moscow Mule

The tale of the Moscow Mule, which brings together the stories of three struggling 20th-century entrepreneurs, is perhaps too neat to be entirely credible, but is an entertaining one nevertheless. Our first protagonist, John Martin, had recently acquired the rights to Smirnoff vodka, but wasnt having much luck with the brand. Jack Morgan, meanwhile, proprietor of the Cock nBull pub on Hollywoods Sunset Strip, was unsuccessfully attempting to launch a ginger beer brand. 

As they sat in the pub on a day in 1941, in walked Sophie Berezinski, looking for a way to sell a rather large quantity of copper mugs from her fathers factory in Russia. With the help, some say, of bartender Wes Price, one thing led to another, and the Moscow Mule was born, leading them all to great fortune. The classic they created continues to thrive, giving its name to all manner of ginger beer-based creations.

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