The World’s Best-Selling Classic Cocktails 2020

06 January, 2020

40. Vesper 

Most bartenders agree the story is a good one, but this vodka-gin-Lillet drink is something of a mongrel. The gin and vodka Martini is named after the fictional character Vesper Lynd in the Bond novel Casino Royale. The creator is, unusually, not a bartender, but author of the novels Ian Fleming. In the book he calls for: “Three measures of Gordon’s; one of vodka; half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it over ice, and add a thin slice of lemon peel.”

39. Cosmopolitan 

With a shift to what the customer wants, not what bartenders think they want, the Cosmo has an occasional presence in the world’s best bars. Bartenders are past their hate phase and now residing somewhere around indifference. You won’t find too many menus sporting its name, therefore you might not know the ingredients: vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and lime juice. Individually fine, together a Cosmo.

38. White Lady 

The White Lady returns, having dropped five places this year. Harry Craddock is said to have made it for F Scott Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda. They still do good White Lady business at the Savoy’s American Bar, where Bombay Sapphire, dry orange liqueur, fresh lemon juice and a dash of egg white are the favoured ingredients.

37. Rum Old Fashioned 

This variation on an Old Fashioned has dropped back a little from last year’s lofty 15th place, but is a popular option for the rum drinker. Use two parts aged rum, two dashes Angostura bitters, one splash of water, one or two teaspoons sugar, ice and garnish with an orange peel.

36. Paloma 

This Mexican two-piece grapefruit and tequila drink is often seen with more complex riffs. Freshly squeezed grapefruit, lime juice and agave syrup, topped with grapefruit soda, really make the drink take flight. Though down four places, this is a great simple serve that goes down too easily on a warm day.

35. Tom Collins 

The Tom Collins is still quenching thirsts in the bars we polled – up six places this year. Purists reckon Old Tom, rather than London Dry, is the gin to use here, but most will reach for the speed rail. This is a drink that has procreated – the 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. Use good ones.

34. Vieux Carré

Named after New Orleans’ French quarter, the Manhattan-esque classic returns this year but further down the list. 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 – not least its revolving bar. Made from brandy, American whiskey, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, Angostura and Peychaud’s, its ingredients are enough to put you in a spin.

33. Pornstar Martini

It’s the first time the Pornstar Martini has shown up in our list. The passion fruit and vanilla vodka cocktail (with bubbles on the side), invented by Douglas Ankrah at LAB in London in 2002, was always assumed to be more of a mainstream cocktail in recent years, but is clearly made in the world’s best bars on occasion too. The customer is always right.

32. The Southside 

This gin, mint and lime drink is a sort of Daiquiri with gin and mint and perfectly fi ts the bartender penchant for sours and gin. Its popularity has been simmering for a few years, but it finally makes its debut this year. Apparently the drink of mobsters in Chicago during Prohibition – those from the south side.

31. Piña Colada

Down five places, the Piña Colada is no longer the 70s cloying coconut cream fest of old. It’s been rebooted in many a bar, but the best is Chris Moore’s. His Champagne Piña Colada uses a mix of Bacardi, Trois Rivières Blanc, pineapple, coconut sorbet and Moët & Chandon.

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