The World’s Best-Selling Classic Cocktails 2018

31 January, 2018

10. Mojito

Down one to number 10, the cocktail of the indiscriminate masses is still looking pretty stable in the upper reaches of this list. Almost a third of bars said the Cuban classic is in the top 10 of their repertoire. Bacardi and Havana Club are the first choices, but Plantation gets a shout too. For authenticity the rum should be of Cuban style, the greenery is best in spearmint form and the sugar dissolved – it’s amazing how this last step is neglected. Not in the world’s best bars, of course.

9. Espresso Martini

Perhaps its renaissance was triggered by the sad passing of Dick Bradsell, its creator, because the Espresso Martini has been one of the most talked about drinks in the last year. Led by the UK bar industry, this after-dinner cocktail of espresso coffee, vodka and coffee liqueur is among the top-3 classics in 13% of polled bars but among the regular top-10 roster in 40%. Whichever way you play it, its back and will likely continue to rise up the charts.

8. Moscow Mule

Frozen in eight is the Moscow Mule. A high ranking for such a simple drink, and perhaps evidence of thawing attitudes towards vodka. The Mule is the top vodka serve this year and present as a top-10 classic in almost 40% of our polled bars, with 8% having it down as their top classic serve. It’s vodka, lime, ginger and soda – one for the less adventurous punters.

7. Manhattan

Seventh seems a little low-rise for the Manhattan – it’s only ever been placed high up in the top four. Around 9% say it’s a top-three classic in their bar but 45% count it within their top 10. The mix of peppery rye, bitters and sweet vermouth are most frequently partnered with Rittenhouse, Bulleit and Woodford Reserve. Jim Meehan of PDT has the recipe: rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and two dashes of Angostura, stirred with ice, strained into a chilled coupe and garnished with brandied cherries.

6. Margarita

The Margarita, up one from last year, is the top tequila classic in our sample of the world’s best bars. This is the sort of drink that every bar can make, so long as they have tequila and limes. Very few made it their top classic served, but it’s in the top three in more than 10% of those polled. Let’s head to San Francisco for a Tommy’s Margarita recipe. Owner Julio Bermejo uses 100% agave tequila, plus fresh lime juice and agave syrup.

5. Daiquiri

The Daiquiri is the most ordered rum drink in the world’s best bars. A surprisingly low 5% said this was their top classic, but 17% named it in their top three and more than half in their top 10. At the drink’s home, Havana’s La Floridita, they prefer the frozen version, but mostly this is lime juice, white rum and sugar syrup, shaken and served.

4. Dry Martini

The Dry Martini – made with gin, not vodka – gains two places this year. This boozy yet refined favourite was the top classic in 7% of our polled bars and among the top three in 20%. Just over half said it figured in their top 10. There are many bars that might claim to make the exemplar but Barcelona’s Dry Martini (multi-time member of The World’s 50 Best Bars) is one. It uses half-and-half gin to French vermouth, a dash of orange bitters, a squeeze of lemon rind and a green olive. If it’s a Martini for bar owner Javier de la Muelas, drop the lemon.

3. Whiskey Sour

The Whiskey Sour is up from no.5 this year, leapfrogging the Daiquiri and Manhattan. Only 5% of our poll said it was their top classic but 19% of those polled said it was a top-three serve and almost 60% made it in their top 10. That’s not too surprising as this is an everyman’s drink, hardly a house signature. The recipe is bourbon, lemon juice and a teaspoon of sugar. Egg white is optional, though this is a drink that benefits from texture.

2. Negroni

It’s looking pretty sweet for the embittered Negroni – that’s four years in a row as the runner-up in this list. The Negroni is no longer a bartender drink – it’s now a firm consumer favourite. 16% of bars said it was their number one classic and it was among the top three served in 45% of bars. It’s ironic really, if ever there was a cocktail that could be thrown together at home, it is the Negroni – it’s a third, a third, a third of Campari, sweet vermouth and gin.

1. Old Fashioned

Hello old friend. That’s four years straight this vanguard drink of the classic cocktail revival has topped our poll. The Old Fashioned shows no sign of waning – indeed, this American whiskey classic is picking up pace, says our poll. Almost 30% of bars said it was their number one-selling classic. Make it with bourbon, or rye as they probably did way back when. David Wondrich says: one sugar cube wetted with three dashes of Angostura bitters and a little soda, crushed, stirred with a large ice cube and two ounces of rye.

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