DI Annual Bar Report: All Time- Leagues

It takes a lot to make it on to a bars report list and even more to repeat the process. Hamish Smith salutes the brands with the staying power

Bartenders of the world’s best bars are the most discerning buyers you will find – the liquid has to pass more than muster before a brand can get down to talking price. So to be a top seller in one of these bar is tough, but to do it consistently, over a number of years, is the ultimate feat. These pages are designed to give those consistently high-preforming brands recognition.

For our All-Time tables we assigned 10 points for a first place finish in a single year, counting down to one point for finishing 10th. Rankings are based on aggregates of a brand’s points accrued over the years of polling.


Overwhelmingly, Tanqueray has been the Bartender’s Choice over the past eight years. With four first-place finishes and one second in the past five years in the bartender vote, it is well ahead of Havana Club, which scored well in the early years of this poll.

Likewise, Bacardi’s top spots from 2010-2011 are the major reason for it lying in third, though with a sixth-place finish in this year’s Bartender’s Choice, it has kept ahead of the chasing pack. But only just. Two points separate Bacardi, Beefeater, Grey Goose and Del Maguey, so whichever brand performs strongest next year will take its place on this hall of fame podium.


With Ketel One having topped our vodka charts for the past five years it seems something of anathema to see the brand down in third, but Absolut has always been in the running, posting top-three rankings for eight years straight. Grey Goose too has been a constant presence, with second-place finishes in the past two years. If Ketel One can keep up the dominance it has wrought since 2013, it will slowly climb the all-time table.


Havana Club and Bacardi are even in the all-time rum list, with aggregate scores precisely the same. We give the nod to Havana Club as the form brand – it’s made up the gap on Bacardi, beating it in each of the past three years. It’s a chasm to third, where Appleton, though featuring in every top 10 rum list for eight years, is under pressure from Zacapa, which has slowly been building up its total score. Probably not next year, but expect Zacapa to join Havana Club and Bacardi in the all-time top three soon. Plantation, our 2017 rum champion, didn’t register scores from 2010-2014, so is fifth in the field.


Hennessy, with its flawless record in our poll, will be the all-time brandy leader for a long time to come. Rémy Martin is not going to contend for first spot for a while, having been beaten every year so far. The Rémy-Cointreau brand is a solid second, ahead of Martell, which, though comfortably on the podium, has Courvoisier for company in fourth.