In January 2022, Drinks International (DI), a trade publication for the alcohol industry, released its list of 2021’s best-selling classic cocktails around the globe. To create the annual ranking, DI surveys the world’s top bars and asks each to name its best-selling drinks for the year. The responses are then weighted and ranked. For the latest version, the publication surveyed 100 bars to create a ranking of the year’s most ordered drinks at top establishments around the world.
This newly released list demonstrates that — like last year — imbibers can’t get enough of tropical flavors. Newcomers to the ranking include the Pisco Punch, Painkiller, Ti’Punch, and Old Cuban. Prohibition-era cocktails also enjoyed some time in the spotlight, with the Corpse Reviver, Bobby Burns, and Bee’s Knees making the cut this year.
But what really surprised us this year was the cocktail that earned the No. 1 spot. After eight years of holding the title of most popular cocktail in the world, the Old Fashioned was finally dethroned by the Negroni.
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Read on for this year’s top 50 most popular cocktails.
50. Pisco Punch
Created by famed bartender Simon Difford in 2004, the Pisco Punch is new to the list this year. But with its tropical combination of pisco, pineapple, lemon, orange, cloves, and a Champagne float, it’s not hard to see why its popularity is on the rise.
Brandy, tragically underrepresented on this list, earns a well-deserved moment in the spotlight as one of the world’s most ordered cocktails. The Sidecar is a good place to start for those not familiar with the category-spanning spirit: The drink mixes brandy, lemon, and triple sec, making a tart, refreshing tipple. While still making it into this year’s top 50, the Sidecar’s popularity seems to be waning — moving down from No. 34 in 2021 all the way to No. 49 this year.
Another new addition to the list, the Corpse Reviver #2 is making a comeback — perhaps due to its interesting twist: There are two versions. Corpse Reviver #1 (sitting at No. 30) calls for Cognac, Calvados, brandy, and vermouth; while Corpse Reviver #2 uses equal parts gin, lemon juice, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, and a dash of absinthe. Choose wisely.
47. Blood & Sand
This Scotch-based concoction has been around since the 1930s and has clearly stood the test of time. Made with the aforementioned whisky, sweet vermouth, cherry liqueur, and orange juice, the drink is a little sweet and a little smoky, making for a great year-round cocktail.
Developed by bartender Julio Bermejo of San Francisco’s Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant in the 1990s, the Tommy’s Margarita swaps out the orange liqueur in the traditional Margarita and doubles the amount of agave. You’ve probably had your share of Tommy’s Margaritas without even realizing it.
45. Irish Coffee
The Irish Coffee was pioneered by Irish chef Joe Sheridan in the 1940s. James Beard winner and author of “The Craft of the Cocktail” Dale DeGroff describes Irish Coffee as “cold cream, hot sweet coffee, laced with wonderful Irish whiskey.” What’s not to love? Exact proportions and types of whiskey, sugar, and cream preparations can vary slightly, but when done right, it’s delicious.
44. Bobby Burns
Made with blended Scotch, sweet vermouth, and Benedictine — an herbal French liqueur — this pre-Prohibition era tipple is making a comeback. A newcomer this year, the drink is a great alternative to a classic Manhattan.
43. Last Word
A drink from the days of Prohibition, the revival of the Last Word — which combines gin, green chartreuse, Maraschino liqueur, and lime juice — has been credited to bartender Murray Stenson, who came across the drink in an old bar manual while working at Seattle’s Zig Zag Café in 2004.
A 1970s staple, the Painkiller was first mixed up in the British Virgin Islands with Pusser’s Navy Rum. Add pineapple and orange juices, plus a dollop of coconut cream, and you’re instantly transported to the tropics.
41. Ti’ Punch
Bartenders around the world are increasingly showing their love for amari, pushing the category into the mainstream. This cocktail is a simple combination of gin, sweet vermouth, and a few dashes of Fernet-Branca.
The days of the Cosmo as the bartender’s piñata are over. You may even see crafted spins on this drink, but mostly, there’s indifference. If you need reminding, it’s vodka, triple sec, cranberry, and lime. The Cosmo has remained relevant — jumping up six spots since last year — meaning it might be time to give the pink drink a second chance.
38. Ramos Gin Fizz
Fluffy, striking, and endlessly delicious, the Ramos Gin Fizz was created by New Orleans bartender Henry Charles Ramos in the late 19th century. The drink has become somewhat notorious for being difficult and time-consuming to make, but any bartender will tell you that the bicep-straining efforts required to craft it are worth it in the end.
This famous Prosecco-based brunch staple was invented by Giuseppe Cipriani at Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy. The two-ingredient cocktail simply combines the Italian bubbly with peach puree in a flute glass.
36. Bee’s Knees
Honey is the star of this simply delicious Prohibition-era cocktail. Its combination of gin, lemon juice, and honey syrup is balanced and quaffable. Plus, it’s easy to make and perfect for batching at parties.
New to the list in 2020, the Long Island Iced Tea jumped from No. 49 to No. 35 this year. The drink combines four spirits: light rum, vodka, tequila, and gin. It’s the ultimate cocktail for indecisive imbibers. Love it or hate it, this saccharine drink is back.
After acquainting yourself with Tom Collins, meet an Aviation: Served up in a Martini glass, the gorgeous lavender-colored cocktail is made with crème de violette or crème Yvette, Maraschino liqueur, gin, and lemon juice. The Aviation has had a bumpy flight these past few years, descending 14 spots since 2020.
When James Bond wasn’t drinking terrible Martinis, he often ordered a Vesper, a drink invented by Bond author Ian Fleming. The cocktail first popped up in Fleming’s “Casino Royale” in 1953 and is made with gin, vodka, and Lillet.
32. Old Cuban
Famed bartender Audrey Saunders created the Old Cuban in 2001 at the now shuttered Pegu Club. A take on the classic Mojito, the drink combines aged rum, mint leaves, simple syrup, lime juice, Angostura bitters, and a Champagne floater. The result is a more celebratory version of the Cuban classic.
31. Vodka Martini
The Vodka Martini spiked in popularity this year, jumping up 11 spots since last year. It’s pretty basic — a shot of chilled vodka mixed with a little dry vermouth — but is somehow still in demand at the world’s best cocktail bars.
30. Corpse Reviver
Made with Cognac, brandy, Calvados, and vermouth, this cocktail fell 14 spots since last year but remains a popular order at haunts around the globe.
The Sazerac has slipped from its former top 20 status, but its staying power is clear. The drink originated in the 1850s in New Orleans, and remains deeply entwined with Crescent City culture. It can be made with rye or brandy, along with Demerara syrup, Peychaud’s Bitters, a lemon twist, and absinthe as needed.
Fruity, bright, and crushable, this tiki cocktail was first invented in Hollywood by bartender “Don the Beachcomber” in 1934. The cocktail consists of lime, lemon, and pineapple juices, passion fruit syrup, Angostura bitters, brown sugar, and three different types of rum (light, dark, and 151-proof). With those components, it’s no wonder that the Zombie rose 16 spots this year.
27. Vieux Carré
The Vieux Carré is an American cocktail invented in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Similar to the Manhattan, it’s made with brandy, whiskey, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, Angostura, and Peychaud’s Bitters.
26. Amaretto Sour
The Amaretto Sour is both a staple at the world’s best bars, and a drink we’ve compared to a liquid Sour Patch Kid. It’s both sweet from the nutty amaretto and sour from lemon juice, while egg white smooths out the tang.
25. Piña Colada
Another nod to the tropical cocktails resurgence, this 1970s-era Puerto Rican slushie pleasure is made with white rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice. It jumped up seven spots since last year.
Brazil’s national cocktail, the Caipirinha had its moment in the spotlight during the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The following year, it claimed the No. 25 spot on this list. It rose an additional spot this year — proof of the drink’s staying power. The cocktail is made with Brazil’s national spirit, cachaça, along with sugar and lime.
23. Gin Fizz
A delicious craft gin can make the Gin Fizz shine. The simple drink — rising five spots this year — is a mix of gin, lemon, sugar, egg, and soda.
22. Dark ’n’ Stormy
21. Clover Club
The Clover Club was originally named after a men’s club in Philadelphia, but for us is synonymous with the eponymous premiere cocktail club in Brooklyn. The bright pink drink contains gin, lemon juice, raspberry syrup, and an egg white.
20. Pisco Sour
The Pisco Sour, made with the Peruvian and Chilean national spirit pisco, along with lime, syrup, and an optional egg white, is appropriate for any occasion.
19. Mai Tai
Perhaps the tiki-est of tiki cocktails, the Mai Tai was hard to resist among the world’s drinkers last year. Its recipe typically includes different varieties of rum, orange juice, triple sec, and several sweeteners.
Two parts gin, one part lime juice, and one-half part sweetener, the Gimlet is an easy sipper that inspires many iterations, and has maintained its place in the top 20 for the third year in a row.
17. French 75
The French 75 calls for gin, lemon juice, sugar, and Champagne. It’s a classy affair, and works just as well for celebrations as it does for your Friday night cocktail. The drink rose four spots since last year.
Not to be confused with the espresso drink (in fact, it has nothing to do with coffee at all), this Italian cocktail was created by Gaspare Campari, who served it in his bar Caffè Campari in the 1860s. This Campari, vermouth, and soda water drink is quickly rising in popularity.
15. Bloody Mary
The Bloody Mary is as much an experience as a drink. The brunch-time staple is best enjoyed with a house mix of tomato juice, vodka, and spices. And, if it’s your thing, an array of garnishes — from celery and olives to bacon to entire cheeseburgers — are known to make appearances.
The Paloma is among the most loved tequila drinks at VinePair. It entered this list for the first time in 2017, and it has not only stuck around, but risen in rank, moving up eight spaces since last year. The Paloma mixes tequila and grapefruit — we think Avion, Spindrift grapefruit soda, and a squeeze of fresh lime work best — or you can switch it up with seasonal ingredients, or substitute tequila or slightly smoky mezcal.
Nothing cures the weary winter drinker like a Penicillin, made with blended Scotch, smoky Islay Scotch, lemon juice, and honey ginger simple syrup. Created by Sam Ross, co-owner of New York’s Attaboy, it’ll bring you back to life like a Z-Pack.
The Boulevardier is the Negroni’s fraternal twin that utilizes whiskey instead of gin. It’s equal parts rye, amaro, and sweet vermouth. Garnish with an orange twist, and you’ve got yourself an afternoon.
11. Moscow Mule
This famous mug-dwelling drink contains ginger, vodka, lime, and soda. It’s famously served in a Moscow Mule mug, which we venture to guess is much of its slushy appeal.
10. Whiskey Sour
This dependable drink is an easy fit for whiskey lovers, as well as those wary of the brown spirit: Its lemony lift and slight sweetness make it appealing for citrus lovers, too. The simple recipe calls for whiskey, lemon juice, and sugar.
The Mojito might be Cuba’s most popular contribution to cocktail culture. The mix of white rum, lime juice, cane sugar, and soda (with muddled mint, please) is fresh and tropical, and it’s a classic that we don’t expect to disappear any time soon.
It’s hard to stray from the Manhattan, and the ascent 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 class act.
Like a refined Red Bull and vodka for coffee lovers, the Espresso Martini promises a pick-me-up, calm-me-down effect in a tasty package. The after-dinner drink will wake you up while still keeping your buzz going. It’s also been called a Vodka Espresso and Pharmaceutical Stimulant.
If you haven’t noticed the Aperol Spritz, you haven’t been drinking (or on Instagram). Moving from No. 9 up to No. 6 this year, this popular aperitif is as visually pleasing as it is tasty and easy to make: a three-two-one ratio of Prosecco, Aperol, and soda.
The Daiquiri is often misunderstood. While many associate the drink with fruit and blenders, a true Daiquiri is simply made with white rum, lime juice, and simple syrup. It is a clean and refreshing drink for any occasion.
The Margarita, in its tart, tangy simplicity, is probably the most well-known tequila cocktail in the world. It’s also one of the most popular cocktails in America. It keeps its spot as the world’s top tequila-based classic in 2022.
3. Dry Martini
A well-made dry Martini is elegance in a glass. The classic mix of gin and dry vermouth ranks No. 3 in the top 50 cocktails of the year. Garnish with a lemon twist or a few olives to make it your own.
The Old Fashioned is timeless. Reigning as the most popular cocktail in the world for eight years running, this cocktail was finally beat out by the Negroni. This simple classic made with rye or bourbon, a sugar cube, Angostura bitters, a thick cube of ice, and an orange twist delivers every time.
We love Negronis at VinePair, and we’re sorely disappointed when a bartender doesn’t know how to make one. Thankfully, that shouldn’t happen much longer, as the Negroni claims the No. 1 spot for the first time this year. Gin, Campari, and vermouth come together in a perfect, punchy package.