Cocktail Culture may have only given rise to popular cocktails in the last two decades, but the phenomenon spread fast. Below we describe 25 of the world’s most beloved alcoholic concoctions:
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The world’s number one most-ordered drink is the margarita, and for a good reason: it’s got the basics (tequila, lime juice, Triple Sec) that can be expanded in many creative directions. For instance, you can make a spicy margarita for a bit of a burn, or you can take excursions into sweet, salty and sour. The world is your oyster with this drink.
2. Strawberry Daiquiri
The daiquiri is fruity, tropical and satisfying, so it’s no wonder it’s near the top of the list. This Caribbean delight is a perfect combination of rum, sugar and citrus that bartenders amend to fantastic effect.
The quintessential drink of the Big Apple, the Manhattan is the ruler of whiskey cocktails and one of the most popular cocktails out there. It’s pleasing to the palate, easy to drink and exquisitely boozy. Our favorite version of the drink contains whiskey (or bourbon or rye), vermouth and Angostura bitters, making it a lovely drink to class things up a bit.
You can probably guess which 90s TV show made the cosmopolitan popular (hint: its name is synonymous with “copulation and the metro area”). Vodka, cranberry juice and Cointreau join forces to make this cocktail a glamorous night-out event.
Gin and lime come together to make the gimlet, a time-tested and connoisseur-approved cocktail for the ages. The gimlet adds lime with gin for a sophisticated, lip-puckering flavor that is perfect for warm summer nights. Rumor has it this drink was invented in the late 1700s by a Royal Navy officer who needed to keep his sailors from getting scurvy.
As unique as it is simple, the negroni combines three different types of alcohol to create an unlikely flavor combination. It’s got citrus, cherry, wine and bitter notes all happening simultaneously, and it’s absolutely delightful. With equal parts vermouth, Campari and gin, this cocktail is unlikely to ever go out of style.
7. Old Fashioned
You can’t get more classic than the Old Fashioned. It’s a fact people around the world appear to agree on — and regardless of whether this drink got a boost from the hit show Mad Men, it was always bound for the top 25. You can probably taste that delightful mix of bourbon, sugar and bitters just at the mention of it.
8. Espresso Martini
The espresso martini was the result of lust at first sight. A London bartender with the telling name of Dick Bradsel looked up and noticed a supermodel walk into his bar. She strutted toward him and asked for a pick-me-up cocktail. Hence was born the espresso martini, which soon caught on and started picking the rest of us up — supermodels and generic models alike.
9. Porn Star
The porn star has been peddling its classy smut for only a decade or two, but it’s caught on like wildfire. Vodka, fruit liqueur, fruit puree and chilled sparkling wine join other ingredients to make this stand-out cocktail. It’s confident. It’s sexy. And it’s just downright fun.
The hurricane cocktail is one of the most popular cocktails, perhaps because it hits hard and takes no prisoners. It starts with a foundation of dark and white rum, on top of which grenadine and citrus join the party. It’s a true Category 5 drinking experience, and people love it the world over.
11. Moscow Mule
The iconic copper mug that houses the Moscow Mule has taken on a life of its own. This drink was actually not invented in Russia — rather, it was made in the LA bar The Cock ‘n’ Bull, where a bartender was trying to unload some surplus products on his customers. By combining Smirnoff and ginger beer, a happy accident was born.
The classic martini, also known as a dry martini, contains dry vermouth and dry gin — a somewhat mouth-puckering combo that many people worldwide find utterly delectable. This is a sippable, fancy drink that goes great with an olive and a tuxedo.
13. Dirty Martini
The Battle for the Ultimate Martini shall never be won, but both the original martini and the dirty martini are locked in close competition. This cocktail contains vodka or gin, olive brine, vermouth and garnish — and even that simple variation is enough to make martini purists refer to it as “dirty.”
14. Bloody Mary
The Bloody Mary ranks in the top 25 for so many reasons. It’s salty and full of vegetable goodness. You can make it spicy or sweet or sour or all three — there’s really no limit. The only rule is to go big or go home.
15. Aperol Spritz
The ultimate apéritif, the Aperol spritz, has taken on the world and come out on top. It’s a refreshing blend of bubbles, subtle sweetness and a relatively low ABV. That means better hydration and less chance of drunkenness. Perfect for summertime!
16. French 75
Though its origin is shrouded in mystery and may even have something to do with Charles Dickens, the French 75 is no mystery to cocktail lovers and is one of the most popular cocktails in the world. It’s got citrusy pizzazz and just the right amount of sweetness. Great for dinner parties and formal events alike, it’s a great way to blend gin and champagne.
The sidecar has been a hit for over a century and will likely continue to be until the sun burns out. Featuring cognac and orange liqueur, this drink came from New Orleans and was one of the first cocktails to use citrus recreationally.
18. Hot Toddy
The hot toddy is pure creature comfort: a blend of bourbon, spices, maple syrup and everything nice. Perfect for rainy days and winter chills.
The greyhound is living proof that the “less is more” axiom rings true. With little else than grapefruit juice and vodka in its DNA, the greyhound continues to be one of the most appreciated cocktails in the world.
20. Lemon Drop
It may surprise you to see the lemon drop on this list. Named after a candy that was popular over 200 years ago, the lemon drop employs vodka, Triple Sec, lemon juice and simple syrup to make a supremely satisfying cocktail for the world to enjoy. And don’t forget the sugar-crusted rim.
The Zombie may be the drink of choice for the living dead, but it apparently appeals to the living as well. A bunch of rum goes in a glass with lime, apricot brandy and pineapple juice — how could that not be good?
The drink that’ll fix what ails ya — including some minor cuts, if applied topically. However, we recommend enjoying it in a glass. Think blended scotch, honey-ginger syrup, lime juice, Islay whiskey, ginger, and whatever else your bartender puts in it.
23. Pisco Sour
San Francisco brought this cocktail to prominence in the ‘30s. Originally from Peru, the Pisco Sour includes pisco, lime juice, egg white, and bitters. Delicious and nutritious.
The Aviation keeps hanging out on the list. As a slightly more upscale version of the Tom Collins, the Aviation contains gin, creme de violette, maraschino liqueur and lemon juice.
25. Dark ‘n’ Stormy
Bermuda’s most popular cocktail is the Dark ‘n’ Stormy, which includes Gosling’s rum, a bit of lime and ginger beer. As the name suggests, it’s a stormy yet comforting ride.