The World's 50 Best Selling Classic Cocktails 2017

15 February, 2017

30. FRENCH 75

Made popular in Paris in the ’20s, it’s possible the French 75’s heyday is behind it. Down 15 places in our top 50 list, it retains some of its charm, with around 15% of bars saying it’s among their most-made classics. Indeed, in two of the world’s top bars, this London dry gin, lemon juice, sugar and champagne drink is their number one classic. At Arnaud’s – home of the drink in New Orleans – the French 75 is made with Courvoisier VS, sugar, lemon juice and Moët & Chandon champagne.


This pink pre-Prohibition classic is the child of Philadelphia but today can be found around the world, and just under 15% of the bars we polled named it a top 10 tipple. Julie Reiner’s bar Clover Club – which is a five-time member of the World’s 50 Best Bars – is, of course, named after the drink. The Brooklyn bar uses gin, dry vermouth, raspberry, lemon juice and egg white.


Named after New Orleans’ French quarter, this sweetheart sister to the Manhattan returns this year with 15% of polled bars naming it among their top ten. It was invented by Walter Bergeron, head bartender at the now Monteleone hotel bar in New Orleans, which is home to all manner of activity during Tales of the Cocktail. It’s made with brandy, American whiskey, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, Angostura and Peychauds bitters. The three top brands to find their way into the Vieux Carre glass are Hennessey, Pierre Ferrand and Bulleit.


This half milkshake, half Gin Fizz concoction was named after the New Orleans bartender who created it in 1888, Henry Charles Ramos. The original saw silky smooth cream and orange flower put a new spin on the fizz. In that transformative vein let’s look to Dead Rabbit’s rendition, which brings leaves and nuts into the fold and replaces lemon with lime. The Pistache Fizz is: eucalyptus tincture, pistachio syrup, green tea-infused Tanqueray, egg white, cream, lime juice and soda.


There is scarce evidence that the Corpse Reviver has sprung any posthumous people into animation, yet it is a drink that remains a pep to hungover people. There are many versions but the original is cognac, calvados and sweet vermouth, stirred with ice and strained into a cocktail glass. Harry Craddock recommends you drink one before 11am. We don’t.


We’ve been predicting for years the Caipirinha would make a comeback, or at least a cameo. 2016 was, of course, marked by the Rio Olympics and there’s nothing better to drink while watching others exercise than the Caipirinha. Up from 47th it proves Brand Brazil has had an effect. It’s a drink to be enjoyed as the Brazilians do – strong with lots of cachaça, sugar and lime. Muddle using a strong glass to avoid a fourth ingredient.


Essentially alcoholic lemonade, the Tom Collins is quenching thirsts in about 15% of the bars we polled. Traditionalists reckon Old Tom is the one to use here, but most will hit the speed rail gins. This is a drink that has procreated – now the Collins family includes the Pedro Collins (rum), Pepito Collins (tequila), Colonel Collins (bourbon) and Captain Collins (Canadian whisky). Whatever spirit you use, the hero here is the humble lemon. Get good ones.


Down six places, the Gin Fizz seems to have lost some of its… customers. But with 15% of the world’s best bars attesting to its selling prowess, it’s a classic that remains popular globally. It’s gin, lime or lemon, sugar, egg (optional) and soda. This is more of a blank canvas drink, yearning for embellishment.


The making of an Aperol Spritz is not a badge of honour for a bartender, but if things are getting a little out of hand, an order of these three-piece drinks will put smiles on faces. With wine, Aperol and soda all making friends in one glass, it is a refreshing Italian-style aperitivo perfect for the more sober, hot- weather occasion. It has its roots in northern Italy, so to be authentic the wine should be from Veneto. For bubbles add prosecco, for still try Soave or Pinot Grigio.


OK, with just a change of spirit this could have been classed as an Old Fashioned but it has taken a life of its own in recent years and takes its place in the list. Perhaps it’s a case of bartenders pleading with customers to accept a variation on their best seller. Either way, a fifth of bars polled said this was among their top selling classics. Try yours with overproof white rum, dark rum and Taylor’s Velvet Falernum liqueur.

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