The bestselling classic cocktails at the world's best bars 2024

01 May, 2024

40. Paper Plane

Chalk another one up for Milk & Honey alumnus Sam Ross, with his Paper Plane joining the Penicillin on this list for the first time. Created in 2008 for the opening of Chicago’s The Violet Hour, it draws on the Last Word’s equal-parts structure, replacing its ingredients with bourbon, Aperol, amaro and lemon juice. 

In the short time it’s been around, the Paper Plane has flown all over the world, and been the subject of many a twist and variation itself, one of them ranking 34th on this list. Joaquín Simó’s Naked & Famous riffs on both the Paper Plane and its progenitor the Last Word.

39. Dark ’N Stormy

People have been pouring rum into their ginger beer for time immemorial – in Bermuda, the combination dates back to the 1800s. During the dark days of Prohibition, visiting Americans took to the drink, and popularised it back home after repeal. 

Many years later, in the 1970s, Bermudan rum Goslings trademarked the Dark ’N Stormy, and hasn’t been reluctant to enforce that either. So there aren’t, officially, any variations out there – at least not any with the original name. Plenty of inventive rum and ginger beer drinks though, with some opting for ginger syrup and soda, while cider is a common addition too.

38. CaraJillo

Drinkers in Latin America, Mexico in particular, know all about this sweet, boozy, caffeinated pick-me-up, and now, in the wake of the Espresso Martini craze, it seems the rest of us are waking up to it too. The highest new entry on this year’s list, the Carajillo might be new to many, but it’s been kicking around for some time. Some trace it back to the 1800s, to Catalonia in Spain, while others place its origins in Cuba during Spanish rule.

Today, it’s usually made with Spanish liqueur Licor 43, poured over ice with espresso layered over it, or with both ingredients shaken together. 

37. White Lady 

A no-frills classic, the White Lady’s most exotic component is triple sec, accompanied by gin, lemon juice and egg white. The story is a little more complicated, though. Harry MacElhone created a White Lady around 1919 in London, but with brandy, crème de menthe and Cointreau. He later published a version closer to what we know today, sans egg white, but it’s unclear whether this was his invention.

Regardless, the White Lady is back on this list after a two-year absence. A related classic, at least in name, is early 20th-century cocktail the Pink Lady, with gin, applejack, grenadine and lime juice.

36. Bramble

Yet another seemingly-effortless contribution to the classic cocktail canon by the legendary Dick Bradsell, joining the Espresso Martini higher up on this list, the Bramble was created in the 1980s while Bradsell was working at Soho members’ club Fred’s. With the goal of creating a distinctly British cocktail, he made a Sour-style drink on crushed ice, with gin, lemon juice and sugar, and a drizzle of blackberry liqueur, aka crème de mûre.

Modern takes attempt to elevate, with fresh fruit for example, but rather than improve on the Bramble’s elegant simplicity, perhaps it’s time to revisit neglected Bradsell classics such as the Treacle or Pink Chihuahua.

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