The World's 50 Best Selling Classic Cocktails 2016

28 January, 2016

We asked 100 of the world's best bars to rank their top ten best-selling classics. Here are the results.


50: Scorpion

From Victor Bergeron of Trader Vic’s, this tiki meeting of rum and cognac, orange and lemon juice and orgeat syrup is best with crushed ice, an orange slice and mint garnish. To balance further with some bitterness, those in the know add orange bitters. This classic carries a potent sting – but you got that from the name.

 49: Papa Doble

The Papa Doble is otherwise known as the Hemmingway Daiquiri. We split this cocktail child from its Daiquiri parent because it took a rather rebellious path. First made for dear Ernest, he asked that the sugar be replaced by more booze, to bitter effect. Over the years, the Papa Doble developed at La Floridita, has taken on some sweetness in the form of Maraschino and some extra citrus in grapefruit.

48: Brooklyn

A less popular sibling of the Manhattan, the Brooklyn resurfaced a couple of decades ago. It requires dry, rather than sweet, vermouth, with the sugary dose coming from maraschino liqueur. Rye provides the pepper and Amer Picon the bitter. Though most don’t get that far through and just make a Manhattan.

47: Caipirinha 

By now Brazil’s national cocktail, like the football team, should be everyone’s second favourite drink. But the 2014 World Cup didn’t get punters in the spirit. Perhaps it’s a Mojito hangover. Whatever, Caipirinhas should be drunk as the Brazilians do – lots of cachaça. And some lime and sugar.

46: Champagne Cocktail 

For when it’s necessary to adulterate champagne, you have the Champagne Cocktail. That’s pretty much never, but bartenders like to put things with things, none more so than at the world’s best bars. To be broadly, though not wholly accurate, the French add cognac and the Americans, led by Jerry Thomas, don’t. Both daub a sugar cube with bitters before pouring over Champagne, though Jim Meehan of PDT recommends the sugar cube added second, so the champagne doesn’t get rowdy.

45: Brandy Julep

Brandy has a knack of being biffed in favour of whiskey, as the Sazerac is evidence. But back when Americans looked to Europeans for drinking council, Juleps were more sophisticated with brandy. Anyway, Americans knocked that idea on its head pretty sharpish and as of now only 6% of the world’s best bars make the Brandy Julep one of their top-10 classics. Meanwhile the whiskey iteration – from which with subtraction and addition you can work out the original recipe – is up at no.21.

44: Painkiller

This liquid aspirin is trademarked by Pusser’s rum and originates from the brilliantly named Soggy Dollar Bar on the British Virgin Islands, which seafarers would swim to for refreshment. The drink is coconut cream, pineapple and orange juice drink and the local rum Pusser’s. Soggy Dollar would ac- cept sodden money for its creation, but at World’s 50 Best Bars’ Smuggler’s Cover, at which the drink is a best selling classic, they do not. Although we haven’t asked.

43: White Lady

The White Lady’s clearly got around, as many claim her ownership, but her most famous suitor is the Savoy’s American Bar. Legendary barkeep Harry Craddock is said to have made it for F Scott Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda. They still do good White Lady business at the American Bar, where they are made from Bombay Sapphire gin, dry orange liqueur, fresh lemon juice and a dash of egg white. The White Lady is sharp and white, just, they say, like Zelda’s hair.

 42: Cosmpoliton

Where are we with the Cosmo? Well, we can say it is fast sliding down Mount Popularity, and perhaps next year it will depart this list, just as Sex & the City has left our consciousness. Because there aren’t many places that make it, you may need the recipe: vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and lime juice. Do with them what you will.

41 Blue Blazer

The Blue Blazer is Jerry Thomas’s joke from the grave. It is a dangerous cocktail – not to to drink but to make. Indeed, David Wondrich describes the Blue Blazer as the only drink he fears. The method requires a lot of fire prevention preparation so we won’t go into that, only to say it’s ignited scotch, sugar and lemon peel. Essentially the most menacing hot toddy your eyes ever met. Two of our 100 polled bars told us it was their number one classic, which they also should tell their insurance companies.

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