The World's 50 Best Selling Classic Cocktails 2017

15 February, 2017


More a pain-postponer than painkiller, this cocktail is trademarked by Pusser’s rum. It became the prize drink of the Soggy Dollar Bar, on the British Virgin Islands, to which seafarers would swim for refreshment. The bar serving the rum, coconut cream, pineapple and orange juice liquid would happily take sodden money for their drinks, but the cocktail would only delay the pain of having to swim, inebriated, home.


Wow. We thought it was a glitch in the survey last year when it sneaked in the list at 49, but up 10 places and with us again is the Long Island Iced Tea. White rum, gin, vodka, tequila and triple sec are not meant to share a home, and the additions of cola, citrus and sugar don’t make this madhouse any more harmonious. The customer is always right – except the one who orders the Long Island Iced Tea. In fact there’s more than one – 10% of our polled bars confess it is one of their top 10s.


Bartenders at the W50BB tend to err towards gin for their Martinis, so the vodka version, aka Kangaroo and Vodkatini, takes a subordinate role. That said, two of our polled 100 said it was their no.1 classic, and 10% named it a top serve. If you’re a vodka drinker, this is the best way to consume your poison – with only a little vermouth as resistance. Weakling vodkas don’t work here – you’ll need one with muscle. In this glass, it’s almost naked.


Not many drinks created in the 1980s passed successfully to the new millennium but this blackcurrant and gin mix by Dick Bradsell is one. Its creator’s untimely death last year has served as a reminder of his legacy and the Bramble was the number one serve in two bars we polled. Edinburgh hotspot and World’s 50 Best Bars stalwart, Bramble, which is named after the drink, opts for Hayman’s London dry gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and Merlet Crème de Mures.


The Sidecar is perhaps the most famous brandy drink, but plays second fiddle to the French 75 in this year’s list – the Sidecar isn’t exactly driving cocktail trends right now. This brandy, triple sec and lemon drink is essentially a sour but can be sweetened to taste. It has Parisian roots but the original creator has never come forward – or at least not in the singular.


Down 14 places is the Mint Julep. This drink is all about the preparation. Once you’ve refrigerated the Julep tin for so long it’s colder than the fridge, the drink is almost done. Just add mint, sugar and bourbon and there you have it. This is what they drink in Kentucky, but also 11% of our sample of bars. Two even said it’s their most popular classic.


A first time in the list for the Paloma. This two-piece grapefruit and tequila drink in its pure form is probably not a cocktail, though at the world’s best bars it’s common to see more complex riffs on this Mexican classic. Freshly squeezed grapefruit, lime juice and agave syrup, topped with grapefruit soda really makes the drink take flight. The Paloma is the second most popular tequila classic on our list.


This rum and cola with a dash of lime juice is not exactly the most complex creation ever, but 12% of our world’s best bars sample make it as a top 10 order. Likely they are responding to customers rather than suggesting it themselves – unless they are busy. Not one said it was their top selling classic serve, mercifull.


A watered-down Negroni, popular among sophisticated Italians and lightweight millennials, is the Americano. Simply sub the gin for soda in your Negroni spec and you have it, the 32nd most popular classic at the world’s best bars. A great aperitivo for a sunny and civilised day or an able Negroni stand-in for the drunk customer, whose palate will be overcome by the biting Campari and probably won’t know any different.


Five years ago this drink was as taboo as it was popular 10 years previous. But now there seems to be a softening of the mood. One reason is the moody mixologists have made way for more service-oriented bartenders and another is that emerging bartenders are too young to have witnessed the craze first time around. Still, the Cosmo is not totally free from stigma yet and certainly you won’t find too many menus sporting its name. Therefore, we’d better give you the recipe: vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and lime juice. Individually fine, together a Cosmo.

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