The 50 Most Popular Cocktails in the World in 2017


8 minute Read

The 50 Most Popular Cocktails in the World in 2017

Photo Credit: Helena Yankovska

Every year, Drinks International, a trade publication for the alcohol industry, gathers data on the top bars around the world. The result is an ever-shifting who’s who of cocktails that tells the story of which drinks are in vogue and which are falling out of favor.

To create the list, surveyors culled responses from 108 bars in the running for the World’s 50 Best Bars list. The owners were asked to list their top 10 best-selling cocktails, and then those answers were ranked. Looking at the results, one thing is clear: It’s hard to get away from the classics. Still, a few innovative and unusual drinks shine through.

Here are the top 50 cocktails of 2017.

50. Godfather

More of a Scotch-forward mixed drink than a cocktail, the Godfather is an easy equal parts Scotch whisky and amaretto. It made the World’s 50 Best Selling Classic list for the first time this year.

49. Ti’ Punch

If you’re unfamiliar with the Ti’ Punch, think of it sort of like a love child of a Daiquiri and a Caipirinha. It hails from the French-speaking Caribbean islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, Haiti, and French Guiana, and means “small punch.” To make one, simply mix agricole rhum, cane syrup, and a lime wedge.

48. Rob Roy

The Rob Roy is a Top 50 Cocktail in the world

The Rob Roy is the Scotch version of the classic Manhattan. It was invented at the Waldorf hotel in New York in 1894, and calls for a blended Scotch rather than rye whiskey.

47. Hanky Panky

When London bartender Ada Coleman was asked to make a drink with a little kick to it, she shook up dry gin, Italian vermouth, and some Fernet-Branca. A customer, as the story goes, exclaimed, “By Jove! That is the real hanky panky!” and the name stuck.

46. Old Cuban

The Old Cuban was invented in 2004, and is kind of like a mix between a Mojito and a French 75. It uses aged rum, lime, mint, Angostura bitters and sparkling wine.

45. Champagne Cocktail

The Champagne Cocktail is naming at its most simplistic, and it’s not too complicated of a drink, either. It’s simply Cognac, sugar, bitters and Champagne.

44. Jungle Bird

The Jungle Bird is a throwback to the 1970s tiki movement. This one — made with rum, Campari, lime, pineapple juice, and sugar — stuck better than some of the other uber-sweet concoctions, and it made it on to the list of the top 50 for the first time this year. (It also happens to be a bartender’s favorite stateside.)

43. White Russian

The White Russian is is a Top 50 Cocktail in the world

The Dude would be proud. The White Russian is a creamy milk, vodka, and coffee liqueur drink that by no means is designed for all drinking occasions, but does have a time and a place.

42. Vesper

James Bond may like his vodka Martinis shaken, but every sensible Martini drinker likes theirs with gin and stirred. The Vesper is somewhat of a compromise, using both vodka and gin as well as Lillet vermouth.

41. Amaretto Sour

The Amaretto Sour is the drink version of a Sour Patch Kid. It’s both sweet from the nutty amaretto and sour from the lemon juice. Egg white smooths out the drink and makes it endlessly sippable.

40. Painkiller

Another tropical tiki drink, the Painkiller is a mix of Pusser’s Rum, coconut cream, pineapple juice, and orange juice. It’s a sweet, fruity drink that will will leave you feeling beachy in no time.

39. Long Island Iced Tea

Usually served with a tinge of regret, the Long Island Iced Tea moved from No. 49 in the Top 50 last year to its current spot at No. 39. It’s not for the faint of heart, and features rum, gin, vodka, tequila, and triple sec mixed into cola and citrus.

38. Vodka Martini

Plenty of people out there enjoy the taste of vodka — or at least deal with it. The Vodka Martini is essentially a chilled vodka shot with a little dry vermouth. It can feel like a third-degree burn going down if the wrong cheap vodka is used, but there are some bottles out there that make the drink enjoyable.

37. Bramble

People might not be the most familiar with blackcurrant, but when it’s mixed with gin, it makes the venerable Bramble. All it takes is some blackcurrant liqueur (Merlet Crème de Mures is a favorite of some bartenders, although crème de cassis works as well), gin, lemon, simple syrup, and plenty of crushed ice.

36. Sidecar

the sidecar is a Top 50 Cocktail in the world

Throw it back to the early days of America when brandy was the king spirit. The Sidecar is essentially a brandy sour, mixed with brandy, triple sec, and lemon.

35. Mint Julep

Popularity of the Mint Julep resurges once a year around the time of the Kentucky Derby, but it’s a drink that can be enjoyed all summer long. A Mint Julep is characterized by big mint flavors, sugar, and bourbon served over crushed ice in a frosty Julep tin.

34. Paloma

Forget about the Margarita for a second, because the Paloma is the tequila cocktail that you should be paying attention to. Making it on the Top 50 list for the first time this year, the Paloma is, at its most basic, a tequila and grapefruit mix. You can make it more complex, however, by adding grapefruit soda, bitters, swapping out seasonal ingredients, or substituting tequila for slightly smoky mezcal.

33. Cuba Libre

Sometimes simple just works. At least it does when a double shot of rum, some cola, and a dash of lime are involved.

32. Americano

The Americano is a Top 50 Cocktail in the world

Given the rise in popularity of the Negroni over the past couple of years, it’s no wonder that the Americano is on this list. The slightly lesser-known bitter aperitif is essentially a Negroni (equal parts gin, amaro, and sweet vermouth), but the gin is replaced with soda.

31. Cosmopolitan

Made iconic in “Sex and the City,” the Cosmo is filled with vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, and lime juice. It’s the liquid soul of the early aughts and New York City, and it refuses to go away.

30. French 75

The French 75 is a classic, and is a strong case for saving some of your Champagne instead of savoring it all on its own. The classy bubbling cocktail uses gin, lemon juice, sugar, and Champagne.

29. Clover Club

Today, the name Clover Club is nearly as synonymous with the premiere cocktail bar in Brooklyn as it is with the drink. Yet the Clover Club cocktail is still one to seek out — and as the No. 29 cocktail on the list, it shouldn’t be too hard to find.

28. Vieux Carre

Despite its French name, the Vieux Carre is a classic American cocktail. It was invented in New Orleans’s French Quarter, and is similar to the Manhattan. It’s made with brandy, whiskey, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, Angostura, and Peychaud’s bitters.

27. Ramos Gin Fizz

Another New Orleans cocktail, the Ramos Gin Fizz is a smooth, creamy take on the classic fizz. It’s named after its creator, a bartender from the late 1800s named Henry Charles Ramos, and is now hated almost universally by bartenders for its labor-intensive procedure. To make a proper Ramos Gin Fizz, shake gin, simple syrup, lemon juice, lime juice, egg white, heavy cream, and orange flower water for a full 12 minutes. It’s a cocktail and a workout.

26. Corpse Reviver

The Corpse Reviver can’t actually bring back the dead, but it can bring a person back from a terrible hangover. One look at the ingredients and you can see why: Cognac, calvados, sweet vermouth. Refreshing and reviving.

25. Caipirinha

The Caipirinha is a Top 50 Cocktail in the world

Brazil’s national cocktail, the Caipirinha, had its time in the spotlight during the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and drinkers didn’t forget it. The cocktail is made with Brazil’s national spirit, cachaça, sugar, and lime.

24. Tom Collins

Thirsty? You and Tom Collins belong together. The original Tom Collins made with gin, lemon, and soda water is the adult lemonade you’ve been looking for.

23. Gin Fizz

Plain Jane gin doesn’t work with the Gin Fizz, but a delicious craft gin can make the drink shine. The simple drink is a mix of gin, lemon, sugar, egg, and soda.

22. Aperol Spritz

The Aperol Spritz is one of the most well-known and popular aperitifs. It’s also easy as all get out to make, with the three-two-one ratio of Prosecco, Aperol, and soda. Let the Summer of Spritz fade into the fall, winter, and spring of Spritz.

21. Rum Old Fashioned

While not a unique cocktail, it shows how far rum has come to tacky pirate characterizations and heavy spices. The Rum Old Fashioned is simply an Old Fashioned made with high-grade rum.

20. Zombie

The current cultural obsession with zombies may or may not be related to the popularity of the Zombie cocktail. Light fire into your life with apricot brandy, lime, and pineapple juice.

19. Penicillin

The Penicillin is the highest Scotch cocktail on the list, and for good reason. It’s made with blended Scotch, smoky Islay Scotch, lemon juice, and honey ginger simple syrup. It also has a big enough kick to make you feel at your best in no time.

18. Pisco Sour

The Pisco Sour is a Top 50 Cocktail in the world

The category of sours is hard to top. The Pisco Sour, which utilizes the Peruvian and Chilean national spirit pisco, is one of the best. It’s a before-dinner cocktail, during- dinner cocktail, and after-dinner cocktail.

17. Aviation

After making friends with the Tom Collins, take some time to appreciate the Aviation. Served up in a Martini glass, the gorgeous lavender-colored Aviation is made with Crème de Violette or Creme Yvette, Maraschino liqueur, gin, and lemon juice.

16. Gimlet

One sip of a Gimlet and it’s apparent why the classic cocktail is a favorite. Think of a proper Daiquiri, just with gin.

15. Espresso Martini

Want to feel both alert and relaxed? The Espresso Martini has been here for you for decades, and it’s still one of the most popular cocktails at the world’s top bars. The after-dinner drink will wake you up out of your food coma while still keeping your buzz going.

14. Dark ’N’ Stormy

The Dark ’n’ Stormy, like the Cuba Libre, is a simple drink, yet it has all that it needs. It’s a mix of Gosling’s rum (and only Gosling’s rum) and ginger beer.

13. Boulevardier

The Boulevardier is the Negroni’s forgotten brother that utilizes whiskey instead of gin. It’s simply equal parts whiskey, amaro, and sweet vermouth.

12. Bloody Mary

Brunch and breakfast will never let the Bloody Mary die. What else besides a house mix of tomato juice, vodka, and spices could make drinking in the early sunlight hours acceptable?

11. Mai Tai

Nothing represents the tiki movement quite like the Mai Tai. It’s hard to resist the lifeline to the tropics that is the Mai Tai — kitsch be damned.

10. Sazerac

The Sazarac is a Top 50 Cocktail in the world

The hefty Sazerac is a drink that can take you through anything. Breaking into the top 10, many of the drinks fade into classics. Few classics have the staying power of the Sazerac, which originated in the 1850s in New Orleans. Originally made with Cognac, it’s also made with whiskey today.

9. Mojito

The Cuba Libre may have the actual name of Cuba in it, but the Mojito is the island nation’s most popular contribution to cocktail culture. The simple mix of white rum, lime juice, cane sugar, and soda is fresh and tropical without being cloying.

8. Moscow Mule

Whether you consider vodka a flavorless hinderance of the spirits world or the perfect quiet mixer, there’s no denying the joy of a well-made Moscow Mule. The ginger, vodka, lime, and soda mix is famously served in a Moscow Mule mug.

7. Margarita

Are you even a bartender if you don’t know how to make a Margarita? Tequila’s favorite vessel is one of the most well-known and craved cocktails in America.

6. Dry Martini

A well-made dry Martini is elegance personified. The classic mix of gin and dry vermouth ranks No. 6 in the Top 50 cocktails.

5. Whiskey Sour

The Whiskey Sour is always dependable, nearly always present at bars around the world. The simple drink is a fit for whiskey lovers and haters alike.

4. Manhattan

the manhattan is a Top 50 Cocktail in the world

It’s hard to move on from the Manhattan, and the recent rise of rye whiskey makes it even more difficult. Spicy rye, sweet vermouth, and two dashes of Angostura, stirred, strained, and garnished with a brandied cherry can make you feel like a true gentleman.

3. Daiquiri

The Daiquiri is often abused with fruit and blenders, but a true Daiquiri made with white rum, lime juice, and simple syrup is a clean and refreshing drink for any occasion.

2. Negroni

Just 10 years ago, you’d be hard-pressed to find a proper Negroni. Now the drink is ordered nearly everywhere and frequently featured in pop culture in shows like “Master of None.”

1. Old Fashioned

the old fashioned is a Top 50 Cocktail in the world

The Old Fashioned is a drink that seems like it doesn’t get old for consumers. It’s simple — rye or bourbon whiskey, a sugar cube, Angostura bitters and an orange twist — and it’s classic. It’s also beloved worldwide.

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From canonical classics to obscure tiki drinks, these are the 50 most popular cocktails served at the world's best bars in 2017. See all the cocktails now!

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