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

01 May, 2024

35. Aviation

The Aviation is on the up, climbing eight places on this year’s list. Its story is linked with the fortunes of what many would consider today to be its defining ingredient, crème de violette. But a few years after its first mention in print, in Hugo Ensslin’s 1917 Recipes for Mixed Drinks, Prohibition helped to bring about the demise of that floral liqueur, with subsequent recipes calling for just gin, lemon juice and maraschino.

The early 2000s saw the return of crème de violette, particularly fortunate for those partial to cocktails with a floral note, or indeed a pastel purple hue.

34. Naked & Famous

If you’re thinking that the Naked & Famous – with its mix of mezcal, Yellow Chartreuse, Aperol and lime juice – shares some DNA with the Last Word, as well as contemporary classic Paper Plane (see position 40 on this list), its inventor would agree. Joaquín Simó, working at New York’s Death & Co in 2011 when this cocktail was conceived, describes it as “the bastard love child born out of an illicit Oaxacan love affair” between the two drinks.

For another riff on the Last Word that leans in a similar direction, look no further than Phil Ward’s Division Bell, with mezcal, Aperol, maraschino and lime.

33. Corpse Reviver 2

Whether this venerable classic has life-giving properties is yet to be proven, but experiments continue – in earnest, given the Corpse Reviver #2’s spot on this list in recent years. Bartender Harry Craddock, possibly the drink’s creator, added a warning in his 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book, that “four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.”

Among many variations, the Corpse Reviver No. Blue, from Jacob Briars, is the most visually arresting, with blue curaçao replacing the triple sec of the original. For more Corpse Reviver action, there’s #1, with calvados, cognac and vermouth, and plenty more besides.

32. Bee’s Knees

It’s possible that American socialite Margaret Brown, also known as Molly Brown, not only survived the Titanic, but also invented the Bee’s Knees. Some, meanwhile, attribute the creation of this gin, honey and lemon cocktail to Frank Meier, head bartender at the Ritz in Paris in the 1920s, while still others will tell you that it was nothing more than a convenient way to cover up bad Prohibition-era gin.

This one’s particularly receptive to being twisted, with tequila showing up quite frequently in place of the gin, as well as any number of other spirits and liqueurs.

31. Porn Star Martini

The late, great Douglas Ankrah, inventor of the now-ubiquitous Pornstar Martini, recounted that the first time he made these, in 2002 at his London venue Townhouse in London’s Knightsbridge, the entire bar was ordering them by the end of the night. A prefiguring of the popularity that this fruity, approachable drink would soon acquire more broadly.

You needn’t go further than your local supermarket for a canned version of the Pornstar nowadays, invariably bearing a less risqué name, but there are plenty of venues, not least in its home town of London, that will make you a far better one.

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