The World’s Best-Selling Classic Cocktails 2020

06 January, 2020

20. Aviation 

Gaining altitude in the list this year – nine places – is the Aviation. The recipe first appeared in Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks, where crème de violette provided an extra floral dimension. It is one of 16 cocktails that call for gin and at number 20, according to our poll, the fifth most frequently made In the world’s best bars.

19. Dark 'N' Stormy 

This Bermuda highball is almost too simple for the label ‘cocktail’. In essence, it is rum’s version of the Moscow Mule. The history goes that British seafarers brought the ginger beer and local distiller Goslings met them halfway with its rum. They threw in some lime, and there you have it, the Dark ’n’ Stormy. Twists aside, this is a recipe blokes with beards and tats use on and off land.

18. Penicillin

Invented by the ex-Milk & Honey now Attaboy owner Sam Ross, this drink uses blended scotch, lemon juice, honey-ginger syrup and peated scotch and is garnished with candied ginger. It says a lot that this is the highest-placed scotch classic – ahead of the Blood & Sand in 50th. The Rob Roy was nowhere to be seen.

17. French 75 

Jumping 12 places, the French 75 in its earliest form was created by Harry MacElhone in Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. The cocktail was popularised by The Savoy Cocktail Book and later appeared in The Stork Club, New York, which contributed to its popularity. At Arnaud’s – the adopted home of the drink in New Orleans – the French 75 is made with Courvoisier VS, sugar, lemon juice and Moët & Chandon champagne.

16. Clover Club

Up three places, this classic has been around since pre-Prohibition and was named after a men’s club in Philadelphia. Despite being very popular in its heyday, it fell away until reappearing during the cocktail renaissance 15-20 years ago. Julie Reiner’s bar Clover Club – which is a fivetime 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.

15. Boulevardier

Bored of the Negroni? If you replace the gin with American whiskey you have a Boulevardier. Up five places, a quarter of our polled bars had it among their top-10 repertoire. This whiskey classic was created by Erskine Gwynne, an American writer in the 1920s. The Boulevardier was named after his Parisian monthly magazine of the same title.

14. Bloody Mary

This boost to the spirits and the morning economy is up a place, and never really goes out of fashion. It is among the top 10-selling classics in a little less than a quarter of bars we polled. If you are in crawling distance of the Connaught, London, its Bloody Mary is legendary. Devised by Ago Perrone and Erik Lorincz a decade ago, it calls for Ketel One vodka, fresh tomato juice, a homemade spice mix, fresh lemon juice and celery air.

13. Tommy's Margarita 

This cult twist on the Margarita by Julio Bermejo of Tommy’s in San Francisco has almost become the blueprint recipe for many in the high-end bar community. We split it out from its parent this year for the first time and hey presto, it’s in the top 15. Bermejo’s twist sees 100% agave tequila, plus fresh lime juice and agave syrup.

12. Gimlet 

This gin-turned-vodka-turned-gin-andlime cocktail has rebounded this year, with a quarter of bars naming it among their 10 most-served classics. The ratio was originally 50/50 gin-to-lime cordial, but that was when people didn’t care much for their teeth. Now a 75/25 gin-tolime cordial is what the dentist ordered. Many, though, go fresh lime juice, making this is a Daiquiri for gin drinkers.

11. Moscow Mule 

Down three, the Moscow Mule still occupies a lofty station in this list. It’s a crowd pleaser in more than a quarter of our 100 bars, with popularity emanating from the US. It’s vodka, lime, ginger and soda – one for the less adventurous punters. Still, great for bulk orders on busy nights.

Digital Edition

Drinks International digital edition is available ahead of the printed magazine. Don’t miss out, make sure you subscribe today to access the digital edition and all archived editions of Drinks International as part of your subscription.


La'Mel Clarke

Service isn’t servitude: the skill of hosting

La’Mel Clarke, front of house at London’s Seed Library, looks at the forgotten art of hosting and why it deserves the same respect as bartending.