The World’s Best-Selling Classic Cocktails 2019

04 January, 2019

40. Painkiller

Back in the exact place it left, number 40, is the Painkiller. Much like Dark ’n’ Stormy it is trademarked by a rum brand – this time Pusser’s. First made in the smallest of the British Virgin Islands, Jost Van Dyke, this tiki number was created by owner of the Soggy Dollar Bar, Daphne Henderson – who happened to be English. The Painkiller is now one of the most popular cocktails of the British Virgin Islands.

39. Bees Knees

This cocktail is the Bees Knees – literally. Re-entering the list this year is the gin, lemon and honey classic. Created in the Prohibition era, the Bees Knees was originally invented to disguise the smell and taste of homemade spirits, or ‘bathtub gin’ (not the brand), which were poorly made. The recipe is quite simply two parts gin, ¾ lemon juice and ¾ honey – just enough to mask the bitterness of Prohibition.

38. Ramos Gin Fizz

Is it a Gin Fizz? Is it a milkshake? No, it’s a Ramos Gin Fizz. This classic is not what we know it as today. Originally called the New Orleans Gin Fizz, it later took on the name of its creator, Henry C Ramos, who worked at the Imperial Cabinet Saloon in New Orleans. Slipping further down the list this year, maybe the 12 minutes of shaking is a little too much.

37. Bramble

Without a spring in its step, Bramble is down four places this year. Dick Bradsell created this cocktail back in the ’80s while working in Fred’s Club, London. He wanted to create a truly British cocktail and was inspired by his days of blackberry picking as a child in the Isle of White. While it dosen’t ranking too highly on this list, fellow foragers out there will relate.

36. Vodka Martini

All its hard work last year has been undone – the Vodka Martini is down 15 places to 36. While it’s losing popularity let’s not forget how James Bond liked his in the novel Dr No, by Ian Fleming: “A medium vodka dry Martini – with a slice of lemon peel. Shaken and not stirred please. I would prefer Russian or Polish vodka.” We have been told.

35. Hanky Panky

“By Jove! That’s the real hanky-panky” Charles Hawtrey proclaimed as he sipped a new drink at the American Bar. Little did Ada Coleman know how her hours of experimentation would pay off – it’s still a much-loved classic, just as in the 1920s. While only 6% of bartenders named the Hanky Panky in their top 10, it is up 11 places – ‘Coley’ would be proud.

34. Jungle Bird

Back in the bestselling classics, and up 10 from 2017, this tiki drink unusually contains Campari and, for some reason, isn’t promoted by the Italian company. While this Negroni-esque tiki drink was only included in the top 10 classics of 7% of bars polled, there must be some kind of resurgence as the Jungle Bird flew out of nowhere and back into the list.

33. White Lady

History suggests the mysterious White Lady comes from two Harrys. Was it Harry MacElhone or Harry Craddock? We don’t know who’s responsible but what we do know is it’s a cocktail that’s been around since the 1920s. Although the original recipe didn’t include a dash of egg whites, we’d recommend it – just thank Peter Dorelli, former manager of The American Bar.

32. Paloma

Paloma, the tequila and grapefruit tipple, is up 15 places to number 32. Is Don Javier Delgado Corona, owner of La Capilla bar in Mexico, the man to thank for the creation of this cocktail? We don’t know, but it’s a plausible idea. While there’s some hope for Paloma with 8% of bars ranking it in their top 10, it can never seem to shake off its more popular cousin, the Margarita.

31. Cosmopolitan

Popularised by the American TV show Sex and the City back in the ’90s, the Cosmopolitan is locking in at 31st after falling five places this year. While there aren’t any famous variations of the recipe, some have tried – the Cosmogroni by JP Fetherston and Alex Levy at Columbia Room, Washington DC, is one example. The Cosmo is not going anywhere.

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