The Must-Try Classic Cocktails - Part I

Discovering a new type of cocktail that you like, especially as your palate evolves, is pretty fun. When we’re novices, it’s the sweeter drinks that we tend to crave.  Then, as we become more discerning drinkers, we begin to appreciate the more complex creations.

So, what cocktails should you be sure to try?  In four separate blog installments, we’ll explore the 20 essential cocktails that should be on your list. They also happen to be the top 20 best selling drinks in the world.  These classics are the foundation for many other cocktails, so they are a great place to start expanding your palate.  Let’s begin with the top 5.

Top 5 Best-Selling Drinks in the World

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1.    Old Fashioned – made with whiskey, bitters, simple syrup and garnished with a citrus twist, this quintessential cocktail is a well-respected old timer of the cocktail world having been enjoyed since the 1800s.   It’s so revered, it’s even got a glass named after it.  The Old Fashioned is a cocktail you really want to slowly sip and savor. Look no further than the once popular TV-series Madmen to see how it’s done.  After all, it was Don Draper’s favorite cocktail.

2.    Negroni – Born in Florence in the early 1900s, the Negroni was named after the Italian Count Camillo Negroni.  Created with equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari, the Negroni is elegant in its simplicity.  It is often served in an Old Fashioned glass and garnished with an orange peel. A classic Italian aperitif, the Negroni is the “perfect drink,” according to celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain who’s a big fan.  

3.    Manhattan – A whiskey lover’s cocktail, the Manhattan is a classic whether enjoyed with rye or bourbon. Combined with sweet vermouth and bitters, the Manhattan is served straight up and garnished with a maraschino cherry.  This classic cocktail has inspired many variations including the Rob Roy (features scotch) and the Metropolitan (brandy replaces whiskey).

4.    Daiquiri – Tracing its roots to Cuba, the daiquiri may be more familiar to people as a frozen drink associated with tropical islands.  In its classic form, the daiquiri is a refreshing concoction of rum, lime juice and simple syrup.  Mixed in a shaker with ice and then strained, the daiquiri is served in a chilled martini or cocktail glass.  Ernest Hemingway, notorious for his love of good drinks, was especially fond of the daiquiri.  He even inspired a bartender in Cuba to create a variation, called the Hemingway Daiquiri, in his honor.  

5.    MartiniJames Bond’s drink of choice, the martini is one of the most iconic cocktails.  Like the Old Fashioned, it also has a glass named after it. Traditionally made with gin and vermouth and garnished with an olive, martinis can be enjoyed dirty (with a splash of olive brine), dry (has little to no vermouth) or with a twist (garnished with lemon peel).  To be like 007, you could also swap in vodka for gin. However, while Bond preferred his martinis “shaken, not stirred,” the classic martini is made by stirring all the ingredients in a mixing glass.

In a future blog, we’ll be exploring the next five must-try classic cocktails.  In the meantime, we know time and energy can be in short supply with all you've got going on.  If you have neither the time to hit the bar, nor the energy (or ingredients) to make a cocktail at home, but looking to experience something new, there’s still hope.  Try one of our bottled, ready-to-drink cocktails. Cheers to new experiences!