The World's Top 10 Most Famous Cocktails

The World's Top 10 Most Famous Cocktails

The world of cocktails is a vibrant, ever-evolving landscape of flavour, innovation, and creativity. At its heart, however, are a select few classics; timeless beverages that have transcended trends and fads to remain constant fixtures on bar menus worldwide. These iconic concoctions are as diverse in their origins and flavours as they are in their stories and the cultures they represent. Each has played a part in shaping the history of mixology and in turn, has been shaped by the eras and places from which they emerged.

From the chic lounges of New York City to the sun-soaked beaches of the Caribbean, from the glamorous casinos of Monte Carlo to the lively cantinas of Mexico, these drinks have travelled through time and space, gathering fans and influencing cocktail trends wherever they have gone.

Whether you're a seasoned mixologist, an enthusiastic home bartender, or someone who simply enjoys a well-made drink, these cocktails offer a glimpse into the rich tapestry of global mixology. They're more than just recipes - each one is a narrative, offering insights into the tastes, techniques, and sensibilities of their time.

Now, let's take a journey through the top 10 most famous cocktails in the world - beverages celebrated not only for their unforgettable flavours but also for their unique histories and enduring popularity.

1. Martini

When it comes to iconic cocktails, few can rival the sophistication and simplicity of the Martini. This cocktail, with its crystal-clear appearance and distinctive glassware, has long been a symbol of elegance and refinement. Whether it's James Bond famously ordering his "shaken, not stirred" or F. Scott Fitzgerald's characters sipping it in the decadent parties of 'The Great Gatsby', the Martini has woven itself into popular culture and secured its place in cocktail history.

A classic Martini is composed of gin and dry vermouth, stirred over ice, strained into a chilled Martini glass, and garnished with either a twist of lemon or a single green olive. The ratio of gin to vermouth varies according to taste - some prefer a 'wet' Martini with a higher proportion of vermouth, while others opt for a 'dry' Martini with less vermouth. There is even the 'dirty' Martini which includes a splash of olive brine for a savoury twist.

One of the great debates surrounding the Martini is its origin. Some say it evolved from a cocktail called the Martinez served in the mid-1800s in San Francisco, while others believe it was created by a bartender named Martini in New York. Despite its uncertain origins, what is clear is that the Martini has become a timeless classic, offering a pure, unadulterated marriage of spirits that is as stylish as it is satisfying.

The Martini is a testament to the art of mixology - a showcase of balance and simplicity. Its charm lies in its versatility, allowing for endless variations. Whether you prefer it with gin or vodka, dry, wet, or dirty, garnished with a lemon twist or olive, the Martini is a cocktail that can be tailored to the individual's taste. So, here's to the Martini - a drink that truly encapsulates the spirit of cocktail culture.

Classic Martini Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 60 ml Gin
  • 10 ml Dry Vermouth
  • Lemon peel or Green Olive for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Pour the gin and dry vermouth into a mixing glass.
  2. Fill the glass with ice and stir well to chill the mixture.
  3. Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass.
  4. Garnish with a lemon twist or a green olive according to your preference.
  5. Serve immediately and enjoy your classic Martini!

Remember, the ratio of gin to vermouth can be adjusted to taste. Some people prefer a "wetter" Martini with more vermouth, while others prefer a "dry" Martini with less. This is the traditional recipe, but feel free to experiment and find the balance that suits your palate best.

2. Mojito

Born in the vibrant city of Havana, Cuba, the Mojito is a cocktail that truly embodies the spirit of its tropical surroundings. This refreshing blend of white rum, lime, sugar, fresh mint, and soda water is a perfect balance of sweetness, citrus, and herbaceous mint flavors - a combination that dances on the palate and leaves you longing for more.

The origins of the Mojito are steeped in history and folklore, with some accounts tracing its roots back to the 16th century when an early version of the drink was used as a medicinal remedy against tropical illness. Over time, it evolved into the delightful cocktail we know today, enjoyed globally for its refreshing taste and connection to Cuban culture.

The Mojito gained fame through its association with the renowned American author, Ernest Hemingway, who was a regular patron of El Floridita and La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, where Mojitos are said to have been his drink of choice.

The key to a great Mojito lies in the balance of its ingredients and the careful muddling of lime, sugar, and mint to release the essential oils from the mint leaves without over crushing them. Served over crushed ice and topped with a splash of soda, the Mojito is the embodiment of summer in a glass.

Mojito

Classic Mojito Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 50 ml White Rum
  • 1 Lime (cut into wedges)
  • 2 Teaspoons of White Sugar
  • Handful of Mint Leaves
  • Soda Water
  • Mint sprig for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Place the lime wedges, sugar, and mint leaves into a sturdy glass.
  2. Use a muddler to gently press the ingredients in the bottom of the glass to release the lime juice and to breakdown the sugar. You want to press enough to release the essential oils from the mint but not too much as to shred it.
  3. Add the rum and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. Fill the glass almost to the top with crushed ice and then top up with soda water.
  5. Gently stir the mixture to combine, garnish with a sprig of mint, and enjoy your homemade Mojito!

The Mojito, with its lively flavors and rich history, truly is a cocktail that has stood the test of time, captivating taste buds and hearts around the world. It is not just a drink, but a story of Cuba's rich cultural history and the joyous spirit of its people.

3. Margarita

Hailing from Mexico, the birthplace of its primary spirit - tequila, the Margarita is a cocktail that shines in its boldness and vibrancy. A harmonious blend of tequila, fresh lime juice, and orange liqueur, it offers a tangy, zesty sip with a subtle sweetness that rounds it out perfectly.

The history of the Margarita is somewhat clouded with various tales of its origin. Some stories suggest that it was created by a bartender in Tijuana for a customer who was allergic to all spirits except tequila. The bartender mixed up a classic highball recipe, substituting in tequila, and the Margarita was born. Another tale posits that a socialite invented the drink when she made her guests a cocktail using what she had on hand - tequila, lime, and Triple Sec.

Regardless of its origin, the Margarita has undeniably become one of the most popular and enduring cocktails on the planet, a beloved staple at summer gatherings, beach parties, and Mexican-themed fiestas.

A traditional Margarita is served in a distinctive, wide-rimmed glass, often with a salted rim to enhance the drinking experience. The slight saltiness counterbalances the tartness of the lime and the punch of the tequila, making for a truly unique and invigorating flavour profile.

Margarita

Classic Margarita Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 50 ml Tequila
  • 20 ml Fresh Lime Juice
  • 20 ml Orange Liqueur (such as Cointreau)
  • Salt (for rimming the glass)
  • Lime wheel for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Take your Margarita glass, run a lime wedge around the rim, and dip it in a plate of salt to coat the rim.
  2. In a shaker, combine the tequila, lime juice, and orange liqueur.
  3. Fill the shaker with ice and shake well to chill the mixture.
  4. Strain the mixture into your prepared glass.
  5. Garnish with a wheel of lime, serve immediately, and savour the refreshing tang of your homemade Margarita!

The Margarita, in all its tart, salty, and spirited glory, is a testament to the beauty of simplicity in cocktail creation. It’s a celebration of its Mexican roots and a joyous expression of the fun and warmth that cocktails can bring.

4. Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is a cocktail that has not only withstood the test of time but has triumphed over it. It's the very embodiment of what a cocktail is - a stimulating liquor, combined with water, sugar, and bitters. This classic concoction, often made with bourbon or rye whiskey, celebrates the spirit in its purest form, with just a few simple ingredients enhancing its rich flavours.

The Old Fashioned is said to have been born in the early 19th century in Louisville, Kentucky, and is one of the few cocktails that has remained largely unchanged since its creation. It's a testament to the timeless allure of simplicity and balance.

The ritual of making an Old Fashioned is as satisfying as the drink itself. It begins with a sugar cube soaked in bitters, gently muddled until dissolved. Then, a measure of whiskey is added, along with a few cubes of ice. The drink is gently stirred to combine and chill the ingredients, and traditionally garnished with an orange slice and a cocktail cherry.

Old Fashioned

Classic Old Fashioned Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 50 ml Bourbon or Rye Whiskey
  • 1 Sugar Cube
  • 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
  • A few dashes plain water
  • Orange Twist and Cherry for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Place the sugar cube at the bottom of a rocks glass.
  2. Add the Angostura bitters and a dash of water.
  3. Muddle until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  4. Add the whiskey and give it a gentle stir.
  5. Add a large ice cube and stir the drink a bit more to chill it down.
  6. Garnish with a twist of orange and a cherry. Serve your homemade Old Fashioned immediately and savour the rich and complex flavours.

The Old Fashioned is more than just a cocktail; it's a piece of history in a glass, a tribute to the art of mixology in its most fundamental form. It's a reminder that, sometimes, the simplest things are the most enjoyable.

The Tonka Old Fashioned is a nice variation of the classic version. With our ready to drink cocktail, just pour over ice and enjoy.

5. Negroni

The Negroni, with its distinctive red hue and complex flavour profile, is a cocktail that is both sophisticated and daring. Originating in Italy, this classic cocktail is a perfectly balanced blend of gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, resulting in a drink that is bitter, sweet, and refreshingly aromatic all at once.

The creation of the Negroni is widely attributed to Count Camillo Negroni, who, in the early 20th century, is said to have asked his bartender to strengthen his favourite cocktail, the Americano, by replacing the soda water with gin. The result was a new cocktail that was stronger and more complex, which was eventually named after the Count himself.

The Negroni is traditionally stirred, not shaken, and is served over ice in an old-fashioned glass, garnished with a slice of orange. The citrusy aroma of the orange slice complements the bitterness of the Campari and the botanicals in the gin, creating a cocktail experience that is robust and multi-layered.

Negroni

Classic Negroni Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 30 ml Gin
  • 30 ml Sweet Vermouth
  • 30 ml Campari
  • Orange Slice for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Add the gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari to a mixing glass filled with ice.
  2. Stir the mixture for about 20 seconds until it is well-chilled.
  3. Strain the mixture into an old-fashioned glass filled with large ice cubes.
  4. Garnish with a slice of orange and serve your homemade Negroni immediately. Enjoy the bold and balanced flavours of this classic Italian cocktail!

The Negroni is a cocktail for those who appreciate strong, complex flavours and aren't afraid to venture into the world of bitter spirits. It's a drink that commands attention and respect - a true icon of Italian aperitivo culture. It may be an acquired taste for some, but those who develop a palate for Negroni rarely turn back.

A pre mixed option is available at our shop. We make a delicious citrus Negroni ready to drink.

6. Cosmopolitan

The Cosmopolitan, often simply referred to as a 'Cosmo,' is a sophisticated and contemporary cocktail that enjoyed a surge of popularity in the 1990s, thanks largely to its frequent appearance in the hit television show "Sex and the City." This stylish pink drink is known for its balance of sweet and sour flavours, combining vodka, cranberry juice, triple sec, and a dash of fresh lime juice.

Although its exact origins are debated, many attribute the Cosmopolitan's popularization to a bartender named Toby Cecchini, who in 1988 in New York City, modified an existing, lesser-known Cosmopolitan recipe by swapping Rose's Lime Cordial for fresh lime juice, and adding Cointreau and cranberry juice, thereby creating the version of the Cosmo that we know today.

The Cosmopolitan is traditionally served in a chilled martini glass and garnished with a twist of lemon peel. The crispness of the vodka, the tanginess of the cranberry and lime, and the subtle sweetness of the triple sec all harmonize to create a cocktail that is both elegant and delightfully refreshing.

Cosmopolitan

Classic Cosmopolitan Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 40 ml Vodka
  • 15 ml Triple Sec (such as Cointreau)
  • 15 ml Fresh Lime Juice
  • 30 ml Cranberry Juice
  • Lemon Twist for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Add the vodka, triple sec, lime juice, and cranberry juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake the mixture for about 15 seconds until well-chilled.
  3. Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass.
  4. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel and serve your homemade Cosmopolitan immediately. Enjoy the bright and balanced flavours of this modern classic!

The Cosmopolitan is more than just a cocktail; it's a symbol of modern sophistication and urban chic. Whether you're a seasoned cocktail enthusiast or new to the world of mixology, the Cosmo is a delightful choice that never goes out of style.

7. Daiquiri

A daiquiri is an iconic rum cocktail that perfectly balances sweetness, sourness, and the potent charm of rum. This Cuban classic is deceptively simple but exceptionally refreshing, making it a favourite in hot climates and beach resorts around the world.

The Daiquiri was reportedly invented by an American mining engineer, named Jennings Cox, who was in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. It was named after the Daiquiri iron mines near Santiago, Cuba. The drink gained widespread popularity in the US in the early 20th century and was a favourite of President John F. Kennedy and writer Ernest Hemingway.

Served traditionally in a cocktail glass and garnished with a lime wheel, the Daiquiri is a celebration of minimalism and precision. The sharpness of the lime juice combined with the sweet undertones of the simple syrup and the depth of the rum creates a cocktail that is both sophisticated and easy to enjoy.

Daiquiri

Classic Daiquiri Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 60 ml Light Rum
  • 30 ml Fresh Lime Juice
  • 15 ml Simple Syrup
  • Lime Wheel for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Add the rum, lime juice, and simple syrup to a shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake the mixture vigorously for about 10 seconds until well-chilled.
  3. Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with a lime wheel and serve your homemade Daiquiri immediately. Enjoy this refreshing classic!

The Daiquiri is an embodiment of tropical elegance, with its refreshing citrus tang and rum's soothing warmth. It's a cocktail that transports you to sun-drenched beaches with each sip, making it a must-have for your home cocktail repertoire. Whether you're hosting a summer party or just enjoying a quiet evening, the Daiquiri is a delightful choice.

At EAST DROPS we make a variation of the classic Daiquiri. The Lavender Daiquiri is the perfect option for a quick and delicious tipple.

8. Piña Colada

The Pina Colada is a sweet, rum-based cocktail that has become synonymous with tropical vacations and beach-side relaxation. Hailing from Puerto Rico, the Pina Colada is a blissful blend of light or gold rum, cream of coconut, and pineapple juice, often served blended with ice to create a refreshingly cool and frothy drink.

The Pina Colada has been the national drink of Puerto Rico since 1978, but its origins date back to the 1950s, where it was purportedly created by a bartender named Ramón 'Monchito' Marrero at the Caribe Hilton Hotel. After spending months perfecting the recipe, Marrero wanted to capture all the flavours of Puerto Rico in one glass, and the Piña Colada was born.

Traditionally, a Pina Colada is served in a hurricane glass, garnished with a pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry. The creamy sweetness of the coconut, the tang of the pineapple, and the warmth of the rum harmonize to create a drink that is truly indulgent and wonderfully tropical.

Piña Colada

Classic Pina Colada Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 50 ml Light or Gold Rum
  • 50 ml Cream of Coconut
  • 100 ml Pineapple Juice
  • Half a cup of crushed ice
  • Pineapple Wedge and Maraschino Cherry for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Add the rum, cream of coconut, pineapple juice, and crushed ice to a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth and frothy.
  3. Pour the mixture into a hurricane glass.
  4. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a maraschino cherry and serve your homemade Pina Colada immediately. Enjoy the tropical bliss of this iconic cocktail!

The Pina Colada is the epitome of a fun, carefree cocktail that transports you to a tropical paradise with each sip. It's the perfect choice for those warm summer days or whenever you need a mini-vacation in a glass.

9. Bloody Mary

The Bloody Mary is a savoury, spicy, and somewhat unconventional cocktail that is often associated with brunch or as a hangover cure. Its unique blend of vodka, tomato juice, and an array of spices and flavourings like Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, celery salt, and Tabasco sauce, makes it a cocktail experience quite unlike any other.

The origins of the Bloody Mary are somewhat murky with multiple claims to its creation. However, one popular theory credits a bartender named Fernand Petiot at Harry's New York Bar in Paris in the 1920s. It was later popularized in the United States at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City.

A classic Bloody Mary is served in a highball glass and garnished extravagantly with celery stalks, lime wedges, and sometimes even pickles or olives. The beauty of the Bloody Mary lies in its customizability; you can adjust the seasonings to your taste, making it as mild or as fiery as you like.

Bloody Mary

Classic Bloody Mary Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 50 ml Vodka
  • 100 ml Tomato Juice
  • 1 dash Lemon Juice
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 dashes Tabasco Sauce
  • 1 pinch Celery Salt
  • 1 pinch Black Pepper
  • Celery Stalk and Lime Wedge for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Add the vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, celery salt, and black pepper to a shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake the mixture for about 10 seconds until well-blended.
  3. Strain the mixture into a highball glass filled with ice cubes.
  4. Garnish with a celery stalk and a lime wedge and serve your homemade Bloody Mary immediately. Enjoy this savoury classic at your leisure!

The Bloody Mary is a cocktail that pushes the boundaries of flavour, offering a savoury, spicy kick that is both refreshing and invigorating. It's not just a cocktail, it's a meal in a glass! Whether you enjoy it as a morning pick-me-up or a bold pre-dinner aperitif, the Bloody Mary is a versatile classic that always makes a statement.

10. Manhattan

The Manhattan is a timeless and sophisticated cocktail that blends the warmth of whiskey with the sweetness of vermouth and the aromatic complexity of bitters. Hailing from the New York club scene in the mid-19th century, the Manhattan has since earned its place as a true classic in the cocktail world.

While there are several stories about the origin of the Manhattan, most accounts point to New York City in the mid to late 1800s, potentially created for a banquet hosted by Winston Churchill's mother. Regardless of its true origins, the Manhattan has been enjoyed by cocktail enthusiasts for over a century and continues to be a go-to choice for many.

Traditionally served straight up in a cocktail glass and garnished with a maraschino cherry, the Manhattan is a cocktail of elegance and simplicity. The sweetness of the vermouth perfectly complements the depth of the whiskey, while the bitters bring an additional layer of complexity, resulting in a cocktail that is both refined and robust.

Manhattan

Classic Manhattan Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 60 ml Whiskey (Rye, Bourbon, or Canadian Whisky)
  • 30 ml Sweet Vermouth
  • 1-2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Maraschino Cherry for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Add the whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters to a mixing glass filled with ice.
  2. Stir the mixture for about 30 seconds until well-chilled.
  3. Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and serve your homemade Manhattan immediately. Enjoy this enduring classic!

The Manhattan is a cocktail that showcases the harmonious combination of whiskey, vermouth, and bitters, providing a symphony of flavours with every sip. It's a cocktail that radiates sophistication, making it a perfect choice for dinner parties or quiet evenings at home. Whether you're a whiskey connoisseur or a cocktail enthusiast, the Manhattan is a magnificent testament to the art of mixology.

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3 comments

Very good summary, quite informative. Thank you very much:)

Peter Shoua

I love to learn

Manguilung kamei

This is so good for learning

Kasule Ivan

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