We Asked 7 Bartenders: What Is the Most Underrated Cocktail?

We’re living in a time of peak craft cocktail culture. It seems that every day you hear of a new liquor or a new pairing or a new ingredient making its way from the veg section into your drink. But what about the classics? What’s getting left behind with all this novelty? And what drinks have always gotten a bad rap, despite being delicious? We decided to go deep and ask some bartenders what they thought were the most underrated cocktails of all time. Their answers were all over the map. Here’s what they told us:

“A Daiquiri, served up in proper proportion, is a beautiful thing. Light rum, lime, simple syrup… super easy but unfortunately hard for some to get right.” — Gina Chersevani, Buffalo & Bergen at Union Street Market

“I would say tequila/mezcal [-based] drinks. It’s starting to become more popular, but mezcal and tequila have so much potential and their spectrum of flavors is really worth exploring more. In my opinion, tequila is the new whiskey; there is so much you can do with it.” — Kyle Delancey – Regency Hotel Bar

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“I’m going to go with two low-abv drinks here: the Chrysanthemum and the Bamboo. A Chrysanthemum is dry vermouth and benedictine (go easy on the benedictine) with a couple of dashes of absinthe, yielding a surprisingly herbaceous and light cocktail that feels far more serious than its proof. A Bamboo is sherry and sweet vermouth, and can achieve great depth if those are paired well. You need a good bar — at least one that stores its vermouth properly — for either of these cocktails, but they’re great choices for someone who doesn’t want to sacrifice complexity just because they’re trying to stretch their night out.” — Lana Gailani, Seamstress & Holiday Cocktail Lounge

“Whiskey Sours and Margaritas. A Whiskey Sour made with an egg white and just a touch of Angostura on top is a transcending experience. Fluffy, citrusy, refreshing, and complex. When a Margarita is made really well, there’s almost nothing better on a hot day.” — Joy Richard, Bar Mash

“I think more people should think about low-ABV drinks. These drinks are lighter in alcohol and can be great when you want to have many rounds of drinks but don’t want to be completely knackered. The Bamboo or Americano are great choices for that.”  — Tonia Guffey, Dram Bar

“Flips, an after-dinner favorite of mine, shaken with a whole egg and served up, are rarely ordered, delicious, and fun to make. I’ll make them for guests as a bartender’s choice, usually with dark rum and amaro as the spirit base. Also, a well-made Pisco Sour is delightful when the occasion calls for it, but these are rarely ordered.” — Meghan Kelleher, Distilled

“The Negroni is a classic in every sense of the word. Equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari (though some of us ramp up the gin a little), it combines bitter, sweet, and juniper, and is open for interpretation. Hard to fuck it up and always delicious. Also appealing to those both young and older. I’m also a fan of a dry gin Martini. With a lemon twist. Gin kind of has a stigma as an old timer’s choice, but it’s so much more interesting and workable than stupid ol’ vodka. I kind of hate cocktail olives and especially cocktail onions (which would technically make it a Gibson) but a twist along with the juniper from the gin make a delightful pairing. Leave the vermouth on the shelf.” — Jon Sodergren, Lolinda