The Must-Try Classic Cocktails - Part II

In our September post, we began our exploration of the top 20 essential cocktails to try. These classics are the foundation of many other cocktails.  They are a great starting place to expand your palate and discover your new favorite drink.

Having covered the top 5 in our earlier post, let’s check out the next 5 cocktails that round out the top 10.  Quick caveat:  These 5 cocktails below are ordered based on what was hot in 2016.  However, just recently, the list of the world’s most popular cocktails was updated for 2017.  Luckily for us, the top 10 best-selling cocktails of 2016 are still the top 10 in 2017 – just reordered a bit.  Rest assured they are still essential and you should still try them all!

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6. Whiskey Sour – made with whiskey (most often bourbon), lemon juice and simple syrup, this classic drink is one of the most popular of the sour cocktails.  Its origins can be traced back to the 1700's when sailors got their vitamin C to prevent scurvy by mixing lemon or lime juice with liquor. Not a bad way to get your vitamins!  The beauty of a great whiskey sour is that it isn’t just sour as the name suggests, but a perfect balance of tart and sweet.  The whiskey sour is often dressed up with a maraschino cherry, lemon or orange rind.  Our favorite way to enjoy this delicious cocktail is with the addition of egg white which gives the drink a wonderful, velvety mouthfeel.

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7. Margarita – although #7 on the global list, this concoction of tequila, triple sec and lime juice is America’s favorite cocktail.  The margarita’s origin is a bit of a mystery, but by 1977 when Jimmy Buffet released his song Margaritaville, the cocktail was everywhere.  There is no denying America’s love for the margarita as evidenced by its numerous variations.  Flavors can be as tame as strawberry and pineapple or as unusual as aloe vera and coconut creamsicle!

8. Sazerac – originating in 19th century New Orleans and considered to be America’s first cocktail, this classic drink is a mixture of rye whiskey, sugar, bitters, absinthe and lemon peel.  Antoine Peychaud, an apothecary owner in 1830s New Orleans, is the namesake for the cocktail’s signature ingredient and credited as the Sazerac’s founding father.  A Creole immigrant from the West Indies, Peychaud brought with him an old family recipe for bitters.  When not prescribing antidotes for his customers’ various ailments, Peychaud would treat his friends to brandy toddies by combining his bitters with Sazerac de Forge et Fils cognac.  The increasingly popular concoction soon evolved to include rye whiskey in place of cognac to become the Sazerac cocktail we know today.

9.  Moscow Mule – a combination of vodka, spicy ginger beer and lime juice, the Moscow mule takes the prize for having the coolest vessel.  Its copper mug not only makes it visually distinct, but also actually creates a cooling effect as the metal retains the chilled temperature of the drink.  This makes for a satisfyingly refreshing cocktail beloved since the 1940’s.  Like other cocktails we’ve explored, the Moscow mule has multiple tales of its origin.  One common story describes a trio of hard up business men each with excess supplies of vodka, ginger beer and copper cups.  Long on supplies, but not short on creativity the group devised a cocktail using all three components.  The result was a delicious concoction with a unique, gingery kick that continues to be one of the most popular cocktails today.

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10.  Mojito – second only to the daiquiri, this Caribbean cocktail was also one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorites. The mojito is traditionally made of white rum, sugar, lime juice, soda water and mint.  As the story goes, back when the mojito was created in Cuba, the quality of rum was rather poor. As desperate times called for desperate measures, enterprising individuals began adding ingredients to hide the undesirable taste of the rum…and the mojito was born.   The mojito has become the most popular rum-based high ball and, like the margarita, has taken on many variations.  What’s more, its popularity in the last decade has even inspired the non-cocktail world. The mojito craze has led to the creation of mojito flavored foods, like popsicles and cream puffs, and mojito scented lip balms, candles and soaps.

That completes the list of the top 10 most popular cocktails in the world.  But, we're still only at the half-way point of our exploration.  In future blogs, we’ll continue our journey and check out the next 10 best-selling cocktails.  In the meantime, if you’ve got the taste for new experiences, but have neither the time nor energy to hit the bar scene, try one of our bottled, ready-to-drink cocktails.  Cheers, until next time!