Drinks International (DI), a trade newspaper for the alcohol industry, published its list of the world’s best-selling classic cocktails in January 2021. DI polls the world’s leading bars and asks them to name their best-selling beverages for the year in order to compile the yearly list. After that, the replies are weighted and ranked. The newspaper polled 100 bars for the newest edition to generate a rating of the year’s most-ordered beverages at leading venues throughout the world.
The Mojito, a Cuban icon, isn’t exactly trendy, but it still has a strong presence in cocktail establishments (bartenders may hate muddling mint, but consumers quite like the result). The white rum, lime, and mint long drink is a top-10 classic in almost one-quarter of the world’s best bars.
9. Spritz with Aperol
The Aperol Spritz is first on the list. Just under 30% of establishments ranked it in their top ten, indicating that we live in spritz-loving times. Aperol, which was invented by the Barbieri brothers in the 1900s, is clearly the star of this cocktail, which also includes prosecco and a dash of soda. The Aperol Spritz is best enjoyed during the day.
Manhattan is number eight.The whiskey classic, the Manhattan, is ranked eighth once more, with 36 percent of questioned bars ranking it among their top ten. This rye (and occasionally bourbon) and vermouth veteran combination may be second fiddle to the Old Fashioned in the whiskey cocktail rankings, but it remains one of the top three classics in more than 10% of bars.
7. Whiskey Sour
This old-timer, made with American whiskey and lemon, was first documented in Jerry Thomas’s book How to Mix Drinks or the Bon Vivant’s Companion in 1862. This isn’t many bars’ top service, but it was a top-10 classic in 40% of the bars questioned.
6. Martini EspressoDick Bradsell’s vodka-coffee drink, infamously concocted for a client to ‘wake her up and screw her up,’ holds a sixth place. It’s a top-10 serve in over 40% of questioned establishments, and the number one classic in 5%.
Margarita (5)The Margarita has risen two positions since last year to become tequila’s standard-bearer. Although just a small percentage of our sample named this tequila lime-triple sec cocktail their favorite, it ranks among the top five beverages in 17% of cases and in the top ten in 46%. It would have been higher if we hadn’t divided the votes for Tommy’s Margarita.
4. Martini (dry)
The Dry Martini, a purist’s gin drink, rounds out the top four this year. This boozy yet sophisticated gin-vermouth classic was among the top five in just under a quarter of the establishments we questioned, and just under half said it was their favorite.
3. The DaiquiriThe Daiquiri is back on top as the best rum cocktail. This Cuban white rum and a lime classic were among the two most often offered in nearly a third of the venues questioned, but seldom being the number one drink in a bar (just 3% claimed it was the top-seller).
Negroni No. 2This Campari-gin sweet vermouth Italian classic has won seven times in seven years. However, it has gained traction, with 22% of respondents naming it as their most likely serve (up from 13 percent last year). The Negroni’s popularity grows in tandem with the popularity of gin. It might yet come in first place on this list.
1. TraditionalThe Old Fashioned keeps its throne – it’s been king drink for the past seven years, according to our classics survey. However, for the first time, succession appears to be a viable option. This year, just 23% of establishments reported that the sweetened American whiskey cocktail was their top sale, down from 35% the previous year.