The 10 World’s Most Popular Classic Cocktails

Wednesday 26th Aug 2020 |

While the choice of cocktails and other alcoholic beverages is down to personal preference, some classic cocktails have stood the test of time and remain amongst the most popular cocktails ordered in bars around the world today. 

Here, Richard Sager, General Manager of NIO Cocktails U.K, talks us through the top 10 most popular cocktails in the world. 

1. Margarita

The classic Margarita cocktail reigns king of the cocktails for many reasons. The traditional recipe consists of tequila, Triple Sec and lime juice, and often served with a salt rim for a perfect balance between sweet and salty. 

For a refreshing take on the Margarita, that’s ideal for the summer months and allows the tequila to shine, try a Tommy’s Margarita. Who is Tommy I hear you ask? Well, it’s the name of a self-proclaimed premier tequila bar in San Francisco. Tommy’s Margarita adds a Mexican twist by replacing the Triple Sec with agave syrup – the perfect counterpart for the strong tasting tequila. 

2. Cosmopolitan

It wasn’t until the airing of Sex and the City that the Cosmopolitan really launched into pop culture icon status so it should come as no surprise to see this classy cocktail on our list. Blending vodka, Cointreau and cranberry juice, and traditionally served in a martini glass, the Cosmo is the cocktail of choice for many glamorous individuals. 

Created by The Martini Queen of South Beach, Cheryl Cook, in the 1980s, the Cosmo was designed to be aesthetically pleasing to appeal to more women but now it’s a drink everyone can raise a glass to. This modern classic cocktail is incredibly popular around the world and can be easily adapted by adding a splash of champagne to make it even more glitzy.

3. Daiquiri

When you think of a Daiquiri, you may think of a white sandy beach but did you know the Daiquiri is the most-ordered rum cocktail in pubs and bars across the globe? 

This classic, popular cocktail, which remains a Cuban speciality, combines just 3 very simple ingredients, rum, citrus juice and sugar for the fresh flavour we all enjoy. Typically garnished with a lime slice too, the Daiquiri is one of the most well-balanced cocktails around. 

4. Gimlet

The Gimlet is a simple but ultra-refreshing beverage, combining gin and lime to quickly become a firm favourite of cocktail connoisseurs. With its sharp kick, the Gimlet has an unmistakable flavour that’s ideal for sipping on during those warm summer evenings.

The Gimlet rose to popularity after it was mentioned in the 1953 Raymond Chandler novel The Long Goodbye. According to him the drink “beats martinis hollow” – a line which secured the Gimlets place in history. Prior to this, the classic cocktail was created in the late 18th century by Surgeon Admiral Sir Thomas Gimlette of the Royal Navy who added lime cordial to his sailors’ daily dose of gin to keep scurvy at bay. Although it was once drunk by sailors, the Gimlet has long been adopted as one of the most sophisticated drinks to order.

5. Manhattan

The classic Manhattan cocktail has survived countless trends, outlasted prohibition and is now known as one of the greatest cocktails ever made. I think we can all agree it deserves its spot amongst the world’s most popular cocktails! Made with whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters, the Manhattan is warm, rich and very highly regarded by both bartenders and patrons alike.

First mixed in 1870 at the Manhattan Club by Jennie Jerome, the mother of Winston Churchill, the cocktail was an instant hit and has remained just as popular ever since. 

6. Negroni

Combining a dry, sweet-sour balance of bitters, Vermouth and Gin, the Negroni is an iconic cocktail that will always be in style! Poured over ice and with a slice of orange to garnish, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the most popular cocktails not only in Italy but around the world.

The drink has a long history dating back 100 years to when Count Camillo is at the Caffè Casoni and is in the mood for something a little stronger than his customary Americano. Inspired by recent trips to London, he asks barman, Fosco Scarzelli, to replace the soda water with a dash of gin and voila, the Negroni was born. A staple on many menus, the cocktail is an Italian import that’s as popular as pizza and pasta.

7. Old Fashioned

With an air of class and sophistication, the Old Fashioned cocktail is the king of cocktails and just as popular now as it was over 200 years ago. Mixing Bourbon Whiskey, bitters, sugar and a dash of water led to this strong, complex and bittersweet cocktail.

The origins of this classic cocktail are a little foggy but the most common story is that it was invented in the late 1800s. This was when new liqueurs became available to bartenders, resulting in new and improved whiskey cocktails. Even today the Old Fashioned has been the number one selling cocktail in many bars. One sip and you’ll understand why!

8. Sex on the Beach

Despite its provocotive name, Sex on the Beach has proven time and time again to be a real crowd-pleaser. The delightfully fruity cocktail contains vodka, peach schnapps, orange and cranberry juice, and is likely to be the most refreshing and relaxed cocktail you come across. With this in mind, it should come as no surprise to know it’s loved around the world, particularly in warmer climates.

As far as cocktails go, Sex on the Beach is one of the youngest classics around but its popularity knows no limit. Created in the 80s by a bartender in Florida, the cocktail was named to target the spring-breakers. Perfect for those with a sweet tooth and on the menus in restaurants all over the world this cocktail is here to stay!

9. Passionfruit Martini

Named as the UK’s favourite drink, the Passion Fruit Martini has become the go-to tipple for many. This modern-classic popular cocktail is made with vanilla vodka, fresh passion fruit, passion fruit liqueur and lime juice. It’s also served with a shot of champagne or prosecco on the side to pour over the passion fruit to unlock all the flavours.

Created in London by the owner of the LAB bar, the Passion Fruit Martini was an instant hit and has stayed a firm favourite of Londoners. We’re certain the Passion Fruit Martini will remain highly popular for decades.

10. Mimosa

Rounding out our list is the humble Mimosa which has soared in popularity over the past few years! Traditionally served in a champagne flute at brunch, weddings or in first class on some airlines, the Mimosa combines just two ingredients, champagne and chilled orange juice. Simple but effective.

Invented by Frank Meier in 1925, the Mimosa was first served at The Ritz Hotel in Paris. Eventually, it was picked up by the British and was loved so much by the royal family that it took the rest of the world by storm. Nowadays, the concoction is served in nearly every bar and is so popular, there is even a National Mimosa Day to celebrate it (May 16th if you were wondering).

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