The Top 50 Cocktail List and Recipes
When looking at a bar menu, the cocktail list can seem endless, but you can never go wrong with a classic. Every year, Drinks International announces its top 50 list of the world's bestselling classic cocktails. A sample of 100 bars from across the globe ranked their bestsellers, and we've compiled the cocktail list for you. From margaritas to martinis, scroll through to see the world's bestselling cocktails and get the recipes to make them at home.
Top Cocktails of 2021
1. Old Fashioned
Just as the name suggests, the Bourbon Old Fashioned is quite an old drink. In fact, it can be connected to the first recorded definition of a cocktail over 200 years ago, which called for spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. The Old Fashioned ticks all those boxes with whiskey, sugar, water, and bitters.
Get the Recipe: Classic Old Fashioned
As the story goes, the Negroni was invented in a bar in Florence in the early 20th century by Italian Count Camillo Negroni. He asked the bartender to strengthen his cocktail, an Americano, so the bartender replaced the soda water with gin and added an orange peel instead of the Americano's typical lemon peel. Now the experimental drink of gin, vermouth, and Campari has become a popular cocktail even outside of Italy.
Get the Recipe: Negroni Cocktail I
Daiquiris can get a bad rep for being fruity slushies that you only drink on the beach. But this Cuban rum cocktail was a favorite of some of America's biggest names — including President John F. Kennedy and Ernest Hemmingway. Let the tasty simplicity of the Daiquiri change your mind with the sweet, fresh flavors of light rum, sugar, and lime.
Get the Recipe: Classic Daiquiri
4. Dry Martini
A James Bond favorite, the Dry Martini is simple and elegant. While we don't know the exact origin story of the Dry Martini, we do know that the cocktail made with dry gin, dry vermouth, and orange bitters is best served with a lemon twist.
Get the Recipe: Martini
The Margarita originated in Mexico and sparks a lot of debate about the way it's served. Whether you like it with or without a salt rim, frozen or on the rocks, or with triple sec, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier, you can't go wrong with a classic Margarita. The tequila is key, so opt for blanco tequila and start with the 3-2-1 ratio of three parts tequila, two parts orange-flavored liqueur, and one part lime juice.
Get the Recipe: The Perfect Martini
6. Espresso Martini
Straight from London, the Espresso Martini is sure to get you buzzing with a shot of espresso, coffee-flavored liqueur, and vodka. This smooth cocktail is a great after-dinner pick-me-up, and you can use espresso, strong coffee, or cold brew to get that caffeine boost.
Get the Recipe: Espresso Martini Cocktail
7. Whiskey Sour
The first printed recipe for a Whiskey Sour appeared in the Jerry Thomas Bartenders Guide, which was the first-ever cocktail book released in 1862. A mixture of whiskey, sugar, and lemon, the Whiskey Sour used to be made with egg white, but that ingredient isn't as common anymore.
Get the Recipe: Classic Whiskey Sour
The Manhattan has been famous since its alleged invention in the late 1800s in New York City's Manhattan Club. We may not know who invented the once-exclusive cocktail, but it is now a common cocktail served worldwide. The classic Manhattan is two parts whiskey, one part sweet vermouth, and bitters.
Get the Recipe: Manhattan Cocktail
9. Aperol Spritz
Served as an aperitivo, a light pre-meal drink, the Aperol Spritz originated in Italy in 1919. While you'd find Europeans enjoying this cocktail with Aperol, bubbly wine, and sparkling water ever since, the Aperol Spritz didn't make it big in the U.S. until the 2010s. But with only three ingredients and a light alcohol content, this easy-to-drink cocktail can now be found at brunches and happy hours around the world.
Get the Recipe: Aperol® Spritz
Dating back to 16th-century Cuba, the Mojito — made from rum, lime, mint, and sugar — was supposedly consumed for medicinal purposes. Eventually, it became known as the Mojito, as it first appeared in the 1932 edition of Sloppy Joe's Bar Cocktails Manual. Sloppy Joe's was a famed bar in Havana and the Mojito only consists of ingredients native to Cuba.
Get the Recipe: The Real Mojito
11. Bloody Mary
A classic brunch cocktail, the Bloody Mary is traditionally made with vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, celery salt, Tabasco, and lemon juice. Although numerous renditions use different types of alcohol. And the best part about the Bloody Mary is its garnish — you can top this cocktail with almost anything, like bacon, pickles, and even cheeseburger sliders.
Get the Recipe: Classic Bloody Mary
The simple and refreshing Gimlet is made with gin, lime juice, and sugar. As the story goes, this gin sour dates back to the 18th century when British sailors needed citrus to prevent scurvy, a disease caused by the deficiency of vitamin C, so they mixed the citrus juice with gin.
Get the Recipe: Gimlet Cocktail
13. Moscow Mule
While the Moscow Mule's origin story has nothing to do with Moscow or mules, this vodka-based cocktail has become a classic. Served in an ice-cold copper mug, the Moscow Mule is composed of vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. Allegedly this drink was created by two men who were just trying to get rid of their respective vodka and ginger beer collections and they decided to combine the two — a happy accident that bar-goers have been enjoying ever since.
Get the Recipe: Moscow Mule Cocktail
The Penicillin may not offer the cures of the antibiotic it's named for, but it's basically just as famous. This Scotch-based cocktail originated in New York in the mid-2000s. While it's a fairly new creation, the Penicillin has made its way into bars around the world proving its status as a top classic cocktail.
Get the Recipe: Shake 2 ounces of blended Scotch, ¾ ounce of lemon juice, and ¾ ounce of honey-ginger syrup together with ice. Strain and top with ¼ ounce of single malt scotch and garnish with a piece of candied ginger.
To make the honey-ginger syrup add 1 cup of honey, 1 6-inch piece of peeled and sliced ginger, and 1 cup of water in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain and store in the refrigerator overnight.
15. Dark 'n Stormy
Although the Dark 'n Stormy's origin story is about as hazy as the name suggests, it is thought to have been a popular cocktail in the sailing community. It's believed that sailors combined rum and ginger beer for the stomach-settling qualities of ginger and the obvious effects of rum. It is also the national drink of Bermuda, where Gosling's Black Seal rum is from — and technically Gosling's is the only rum you can use to make a true Dark 'n Stormy as the company has a trademark saying any drink with that name must be made with Gosling's dark rum.
Get the Recipe: Dark 'n' Stormy Cocktail
16. Corpse Reviver
The Corpse Reviver No. 2 is a pre-Prohibition era cocktail that was used for "reviving a corpse," so basically it was a drink to cure a hangover. While the absinthe, gin, Lillet blanc, and orange liqueur cocktail disappeared for decades, its resurrection was driven by Harry Craddock's The Savory Cocktail Book, published in 1930.
Get the Recipe: Corpse Reviver #2
17. Clover Club
Invented in Philadelphia in the late 1800s, the Clover Club was a drink enjoyed by the elite crowd at the Bellevue-Stratford hotel. Like most pre-Prohibition era drinks, the Clover Club faded away for decades. The raspberry, gin, and egg white cocktail was reintroduced in a modern cocktail book, Joy of Mixology, and became the namesake of a popular Brooklyn bar in 2008.
Get the Recipe: Clover Club
The Boulevardier is a simple whiskey variation of the classic Negroni. The cocktail originated at a bar in Paris during the 1920s and became popular thanks to the book Barflies and Cocktails. Its creation is credited to Erskine Gwynne who was the founder of Boulevardier, a magazine for expats living in Paris.
Get the Recipe: Boulevardier Cocktail
19. Mai Tai
The Mai Tai is made with rum, orange curaçao, orgeat (almond syrup), and lime juice and is one of the most famous Tiki cocktails in the world. This cocktail was created in the San Francisco Bay Area, although there are two stories on how it originated. Both Victor J. Bergeron (Trader Vic) and Donn Beach claim to have made the Mai Tai. No matter who created it, this Tiki drink is paradise in a glass.
Get the Recipe: Mai Tai
Similar to an Old Fashioned, the Sazerac is composed of rye whiskey, sugar, and bitters. The Sazerac cocktail can be traced back to the 1800s, and it was trademarked by Sazerac Co., a New Orleans company, in 1900. The cocktail was named the official cocktail of New Orleans in 2008, but it has always been a large part of the city. It's believed the first versions of this cocktail were made with French brandy from Sazerac Co. and Peychaud's bitters, which were invented by a resident of New Orleans.
Get the Recipe: Sazerac Cocktail
21. French 75
Dating back to World War I, the French 75 is made with gin, fresh lemon juice, sugar, and Champagne. The bubbly cocktail is hard-hitting, but nothing like the French's 75-millimeter field gun it was named after — and the name and origin story are shrouded in mystery, as there is no clear history for how this drink came to be.
Get the Recipe: French 75
Another Mexican favorite, the Paloma consists of tequila, fresh lime juice, and grapefruit soda. Jarritos soda is the most popular choice in Mexico — and you can typically find it in the U.S. — but you can also use Squirt, Ting, or Fresca. While the Paloma takes a back seat to the Margarita, it is just as refreshing and delicious in a salt-rimmed glass.
Get the Recipe: Paloma
23. Pisco Sour
The Pisco Sour is a favorite cocktail native to Peru or Chile, as both countries claim to have created the drink. By mixing pisco, lime juice, egg white, and bitters, you get a tangy, smooth, and bold Pisco Sour cocktail. Pisco is a South American grape brandy that is made from distilled wine, its main flavor being grapes as there are about 15 pounds of grapes in a bottle — but it can also have subtle nuances of lime, orange, pecans, almonds, apple, peach, vanilla, or syrup.
Get the Recipe: Pisco Sour
24. Vieux Carré
The Vieux Carré originated at a legendary New Orleans' bar, the Carousel Bar, during the 1930s. The cocktail is named Vieux Carré, which means "old square" in French and refers to New Orleans' French Quarter. To make this cocktail, combine rye whiskey, Cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine liqueur, and bitters, and garnish with a lemon twist or maraschino cherries.
Get the Recipe: Vieux Carre Cocktail
Like the coffee drink of the same name, the Americano cocktail originated in Italy and was popular amongst Americans. The Americano is thought to be the base recipe for the Negroni and is made with Campari, sweet vermouth, and club soda. This cocktail is an apéritif that you can enjoy before any meal just as the Italians do.
Get the Recipe: Americano Cocktail
26. Amaretto Sour
Amaretto is a sweet Italian liqueur known for its almond or apricot flavors. The Amaretto Sour is an easy cocktail to make, but it can often be overpowered by store-bought sweet and sour mix. The best way to make an Amaretto Sour is with fresh juice instead of the mix. Just like the base recipe for other sours, the Amaretto Sour is made with amaretto, lemon juice, and sugar — and you can also add the egg white if you like.
Get the Recipe: Amaretto Sour Cocktail
27. Rum Old Fashioned
The Old Fashioned is about as classic a cocktail as you can find. It uses the same formula as the first recorded cocktail over 200 years ago, which is spirit, sugar, water, and bitters. Some people don't think the traditional Old Fashioned recipe should be tampered with, but you can really make an Old Fashioned with any spirit. The Rum Old Fashioned is made with (you guessed it) rum, and it's the perfect cocktail to expand your Old Fashioned horizons.
Get the Recipe: Place a large ice cube into a glass. Add 2 ounces of dark rum, 1 teaspoon of allspice dram, 1 teaspoon of demerara syrup, 2 dashes of Angostura bitters, and 2 dashes of orange bitters. Stir and garnish with an orange peel.
28. Gin Fizz
Fizzes, which feature spirits, citrus, sugar, and sparkling water, have been enjoyed in the U.S. for decades. They were especially popular during the early decades of the 20th century. The Gin Fizz has quite a few variations, including the Ramos Gin Fizz and the Sloe Gin Fizz, but to make the traditional you need gin, lemon juice, sugar, club soda, and egg white.
Get the Recipe: Dry shake 2 ounces of gin, 1 ounce of lemon juice, ¾ ounce of simple syrup, and 1 egg white for about 15 seconds. Add 3 or 4 ice cubes and shake. Double-strain and top with club soda.
The Bramble was created in London in 1984 by Dick Bradsell — the same bartender who created the Espresso Martini. The idea for the Bramble came from Bradsell's childhood when he used to pick fresh blackberries. Once he got crème de mûre (a blackberry liqueur) at his bar he started experimenting with it, and thus the gin, lemon juice, sugar, and crème de mûre Bramble was born.
Get the Recipe: Add 2 ounces of gin, 1 ounce of lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons of simple syrup into a shaker with ice and shake. Fine strain into a glass over crushed ice. Slowly pour ½ ounce of crème de mûre over the top and garnish with a lemon wheel and a fresh blackberry.
30. Brandy Crusta
The Brandy Crusta was invented in the 1850s in New Orleans, and although the Sazerac is the official cocktail of the city, the Brandy Crusta came first. The Crusta was in its prime during the 19th century and became famous for its intricate garnishes and sugar-crusted rim — which is also where it gets its name. While the Brandy Crusta was formally introduced in 1862 in How to Mix Drinks, it died out in the early 20th century. But the Brandy Crusta — made with brandy, curaçao, lemon juice, sugar, maraschino liqueur, and bitters — made a comeback in New Orleans in 2004, and this time it's here to stay.
Get the Recipe: Rim a glass with sugar and set aside. Shake 2 ounces of brandy, ¼ ounce of curaçao, ½ ounce of fresh lemon juice, ½ ounce of simple syrup, 1 teaspoon of maraschino liqueur, and 1 dash of Angostura bitters together with ice. Strain and garnish with a lemon twist.
The classic sparkling Bellini was first poured at Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy, in 1948. The wine cocktail is made with Prosecco and white peach puree, giving it a light and refreshing taste that's perfect for brunch. As the story goes, the Bellini was named after Italian painter Giovanni Bellini because the drink's color reminded the bartender of Bellini's warm-toned paintings.
Get the Recipe: Classic Bellini Cocktail
32. Piña Colada
The Piña Colada is the poster child for tiki drinks and island vacations. The tropical cocktail, first blended in the 1950s in Puerto Rico, combines rum, coconut, pineapple, and lime juice. Don't let the premade mixes fool you: the best Piña Coladas are made from scratch in the blender or shaker.
Get the Recipe: Pina Colada III
33. Porn Star Martini
Despite its interesting name, the Porn Star Martini has become a favorite in the UK and beyond since its 2002 inception in London. Douglas Ankrah, the cocktail creator, says he chose the name because he believed it was something a porn star would drink as it's "pure indulgence, sexy, fun, and evocative." And even though it's called a martini, this cocktail is far from a traditional martini. But after you try one, you won't think twice about the name.
Get the Recipe: Shake 1 ½ ounces of vanilla-flavored vodka, ½ ounce of passion fruit liqueur, 1 ounce of passion fruit puree, ½ ounce of lime juice, and ½ ounce of vanilla simple syrup together with ice. Strain and garnish with a passion fruit half. Serve with a sparkling wine sidecar (on the side).
A descendant of the Brandy Crusta, the Sidecar is one of the most famous Cognac cocktails you can order. It is believed the Sidecar was invented around World War I as it was featured in two cocktail books from the era. This cocktail features Cognac, orange liqueur, fresh lemon juice, and a sugared rim — the sugared rim is optional, but it adds a sweetness to the dry cocktail.
Get the Recipe: Sidecar
This favorite pre-Prohibition era gin cocktail vanished from menus during the 1960s when its main ingredient, crème de violette, disappeared from the market. But in the early aughts, a Minneapolis importer began importing crème de violette from Austria, and the Aviation made it back to bars. You can make the cocktail with or without the floral liqueur, but the traditional Aviation includes gin, maraschino liqueur, crème de violette, and lemon juice.
Get the Recipe: Aviation Cocktail
36. Irish Coffee
Irish Coffee is the perfect way to start — or end — your night as it has a delicious jolt of both coffee and Irish whiskey. Legend has it the first Irish Coffee was served at a restaurant in County Limerick in the 1940s and has since made its way across the world. The Irish Coffee is served hot, so it's great on a cold winter day or whenever you need something to warm your spirits.
Get the Recipe: Irish Coffee
37. Last Word
The Last Word was created right before Prohibition, and it became one of the most successful Prohibition-era cocktails. But like most Prohibition cocktails, it faded away during the mid-1900s. The Last Word — made with gin, green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, and lime juice — made a swift comeback in the early aughts and was one of the first Prohibition-era cocktails revived in bars. The cocktail really did get the last word!
Get the Recipe: Shake ¾ ounce of gin, ¾ ounce of green Chartreuse, ¾ ounce of maraschino liqueur, and ¾ ounce of lime juice together with ice. Strain and garnish with a brandied cherry.
38. Tommy's Margarita
Tommy's Margarita originated at Tommy's Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco and has since become a worldwide favorite. In Tommy's version, the orange liqueur is omitted completely — instead, you rely on agave nectar for the sweetness.
Get the Recipe: Shake 2 ounces of blanco tequila, 1 ounce of lime juice, and ½ ounce of agave nectar together with ice. Serve on the rocks in a salt-rimmed glass.
The Bamboo cocktail has hints of floral and herbal flavors thanks to its ingredients of dry sherry, dry vermouth, and bitters. While the cocktail's origin story is a bit clouded by many people claiming to have created it (plus, it's been referred to as different names) the Bamboo remains the best-known sherry cocktail today.
Get the Recipe: Stir 1 ½ ounces of dry sherry, 1 ½ ounces of dry vermouth, 1 dash of Angostura bitters, and 1 dash of orange bitters in a mixing glass. Strain and garnish with a lemon twist.
40. Tom Collins
As it turns out, Tom Collins is not a real person. Instead, the cocktail was allegedly named after a nationwide practical joke called "The Great Tom Collins Hoax of 1874." Another story alleges the cocktail was originally named the John Collins, after a barkeep, but because the drink was made with Old Tom gin, bar-goers started asking for the Tom Collins. Either way, the classic cocktail made with gin, lemon juice, sugar, and club soda is a beloved item on any bar menu.
Get the Recipe: Tom Collins Cocktail
Brazil's national cocktail is refreshing and simple to make with lime juice, sugar, and cachaça. Cachaça is a spicy, sweet, and fruity Brazilian liquor made from fermented sugarcane juice comparable to rum. Cachaça is produced exclusively in Brazil and is the country's national spirit.
Get the Recipe: Caipirinha
42. Vodka Martini
Some cocktail aficionados will argue you can't stray from the traditional dry martini. But if it was good enough for 007, it's good enough for us. But this martini with vodka, dry vermouth, and orange bitters should be stirred, not shaken.
Get the Recipe: Vodka Martini Cocktail
43. Hanky Panky
The Hanky Panky is a signature drink at London's longest surviving cocktail bar, the American Bar. As transatlantic travel became popular in the late 19th century, American Bars, which are bars that served American-style drinks, began popping up around London, and with them came the Hanky Panky cocktail. As the story goes, after trying this cocktail with gin, sweet vermouth, and Fernet-Branca, celebrated actor Sir Charles Hawtrey yelled out, "That is a real hanky-panky!" And the name stuck.
Get the Recipe: Stir 1 ½ ounces of gin, 1 ½ ounces of sweet vermouth, and 2 dashes of Fernet-Branca in a glass with ice. Strain and garnish with an orange twist.
The Zombie was created by Donn Beach, a legendary Tiki bar owner, and has since become a favorite Tiki cocktail. It features three kinds of rum, lime juice, falernum, grenadine, simple syrup, and pineapple juice. But be warned, after too many of these you could be walking around like a zombie.
Get the Recipe: Zombie Cocktail
The pink Cosmopolitan's claim to fame came from HBO's Sex and the City. While it made a quiet entrance into the series, bars couldn't stop making Cosmos for everyone who wanted to be like Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda. This NYC staple cocktail is composed of vodka, Cointreau, lime juice, and cranberry juice.
Get the Recipe: Cosmopolitan
46. El Diablo
Margaritas and Palomas may be the most memorable tequila drinks, but the El Diablo is still a fan favorite. The cocktail, which combines tequila, crème de cassis, lime juice, and ginger, was created by Trader Vic in the 1940s. Vic's original recipe used ginger ale, but nowadays the El Diablo is typically made with ginger beer or ginger syrup.
Get the Recipe: Shake 1 ½ ounces of reposado tequila, ½ ounce of crème de cassis, and ½ ounce of lime juice together with ice. Strain and top with ginger beer, and garnish with a lime wedge.
47. White Lady
The original White Lady cocktail was created in London and composed of crème de menthe, triple sec, and lemon, but this version didn't last. It wasn't just because of the strange combination of ingredients, but instead bartender Harry MacElhone changed his original recipe. The new (and improved) White Lady that we know today is made with gin, orange liqueur, lime juice, and egg white.
Get the Recipe: Dry shake 2 ounces of gin, ½ ounce of orange liqueur or triple sec, ½ ounce of lemon juice, and one egg white. Add ice and shake, strain into glass.
48. Gin Gin Mule
The Gin Gin Mule is a combination of a Mojito and a Moscow Mule that is a perfect introduction to the world of gin. As the name states, there are two "gins" in this cocktail — the first is dry gin and the second is ginger beer. In addition to the "gins," this Mule also contains mint, lime juice, and simple syrup.
Get the Recipe: Muddle 1 ounce of simple syrup, ¾ ounce of lime juice, and 1 mint sprig in a shaker. Add 1 ¾ ounces of dry gin, 1 ounce of ginger beer, and ice and shake. Strain over fresh ice.
49. Long Island Iced Tea
Straight from the bars of Long Island, the Long Island Iced Tea was popularized in the 1970s. When looking at a Long Island Iced Tea recipe, this cocktail can seem daunting. It has four different spirits — vodka, rum, gin, and tequila — that don't seem to go together. But mix those with triple sec, lemon juice, and cola and you've got a cocktail that everyone from coast to coast loves.
Get the Recipe: The REAL Long Island Iced Tea
50. Jungle Bird
The Jungle Bird cocktail originated at the Kuala Lumpur Hilton hotel in Malaysia in the 1970s. The cocktail is served in the Aviary Bar, which is how it got its name, and contains rum, Campari, pineapple juice, lime juice, and demerara syrup. While the Jungle Bird was extremely popular in Malaysia for years, it took decades before it made a splash in the U.S. — now the drink is a staple at Tiki bars.
Get the Recipe: Shake 1 ½ ounces of dark rum, ¾ ounce of Campari, 1 /12 ounces of pineapple juice, ½ ounce of lime juice, and ½ ounce of demerara syrup together with ice. Strain and garnish with a pineapple wedge.