The World’s Best-Selling Classic Cocktails 2020

10. Aperol Spritz 

The Aperol Spritz remains in the top 10, though it’s down a place from last year. Just under 30% of bars named it in their top 10. Created by the Barbieri Brothers in the 1900s, the Aperol Spritz was their answer to a lighter pre-dinner tipple. Aperol, prosseco and a splash of soda – one of the easier mixed drinks in this list.

9. Mojito 

This Cuban classic may seem out of step with the current cocktail fashion – a vestige of the noughties not the teens – yet it remains a true classic, much loved by the consumer. It is a top-10 classic in about 30% of top bars. Havana’s La Bodeguita is the place for a mouthful of mint and, though it’s never been a top 50 bar, it’s received a few votes over the years. It makes its Mojitos with rum, lime juice, soda, brown cane sugar, fresh mint and ice.

8. Manhattan 

Eight seems a little low for this venerable classic but 37% make it one of their top 10. Bitters and sweet vermouth are most frequently partnered with Bulleit, Woodford Reserve or Rittenhouse. Jim Meehan of PDT has the recipe: rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and two dashes of Angostura, stirred with ice, strained into a chilled coupe and garnished with brandied cherries.

7. Margarita 

The Margarita is the top tequila classic in our sample of the world’s best bars. Very few made it their top classic served, but it’s in the top three in almost 10% of those polled. This year we split out the votes for Tommy’s Margarita from its mother mix, which didn’t seem to impact the Margarita’s ranking – it moved up from eighth to seventh.

6. Espresso Martini

Up one place into the top six, you can track the meteoric rise of this coffee and vodka cocktail from the passing of its inventor Dick Bradsell. In 2017 it was no.27 and is now fighting it out with the grand old classics. Infamously made for a customer who wanted a drink that would “wake her up and fuck her up”, this modern-age classic was found to be the number one cocktail in 6% of bars and a top-10 serve in almost 40%.

5. Whiskey Sour 

The name and recipe might vary slightly but this classic cocktail remains a consistent in our list, albeit down from third to fifth place this year. It is said the Whiskey Sour recipe was first published in Jerry Thomas’s book How to Mix Drinks or the Bon Vivant’s Companion in 1862. This isn’t too many bars’ top serve – it’s an everyman drink, rather than a house signature – but was a top-10 classic in just under half of the bars polled. The recipe is bourbon, lemon juice and a teaspoon of sugar. Egg white is optional, though this is a drink that benefits from texture.

4. Dry Martini

The Dry Martini, beloved of gin fans, gains two places this year. This boozy yet refined favourite was among the top five classics in just under a fifth of our polled bars, while just under half said it figured in their top 10. There are many bars that might claim to make the exemplar but Barcelona’s Dry Martini (multi-time member of The World’s 50 Best Bars) is one. It uses half-and-half gin to French vermouth, a dash of orange bitters, a squeeze of lemon and a green olive.

3. Daiquiri 

Bartender favourite the Daiquiri is the most ordered rum drink in the world’s best bars, up a place this year. Interestingly only 6% said this was their top classic, but 27% named it in their top three and almost a half in their top 10 most-made. At the drink’s home, Havana’s La Floridita, they prefer the frozen version, but mostly this is lime juice, white rum and sugar syrup, shaken and served. In the bars we poll, strawberries are left in the fridge.

2. Negroni 

Things are looking pretty sweet for the bitter Negroni – for six years now it’s been the number two, though never really challenging the top spot. Like the Old Fashioned, the Negroni’s strength has been its transition from bartender to consumer favourite – 13% of bars said it was their number one classic and it was among the top three served in 42% of bars. It’s ironic really, if ever there was a cocktail that could be thrown together at home, it is the Negroni – classically, it’s a third, a third, a third of Campari, sweet vermouth and gin.

1. Old Fashioned 

King of the cocktails is the Old Fashioned – and that’s six years straight this vanguard drink of the classic cocktail revival has topped our poll. The Old Fashioned shows no sign of waning – indeed, this American whiskey classic is picking up pace, says our poll. Almost 35% of bars said it was their top selling classic. Make it with bourbon, or rye as they probably did way back when. Mastermind of the classics David Wondrich says: “One sugar cube wetted with three dashes of Angostura bitters and a little soda, crushed, stirred with a large ice cube and two ounces of rye.”