Top 100 cocktail ingredients

Words by Simon Difford

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Crunching the data resulting from the over 5,000 recipes on our constantly changing and growing cocktail database can throw up some surprising and very interesting results which can help inform decisions made by professional bartenders, home cocktail enthusiasts and drinks marketers.

This 'most frequently appearing' top 100 cocktail ingredients is quite different to the top 100 by volume of use. For example, orange bitters appear in three times the number of cocktails as calvados but while the bitters are used in dashes the calvados is poured in ounces. That said, despite only being used in dashes, you'd be surprised how much orange bitters we go through.

Obviously, base spirits have something of an advantage over liqueurs and other modifiers, and barring the cocktail requisites: lime, lemon and sugar, it will surprise few that presently gin sits atop the list, just ahead of vodka which is still holding its own with new recipes still frequently calling for this most versatile of spirits.

Ingredients according to the number of cocktails they are used in

1. Sugar syrup 'rich' (2 sugar to 1 water)
2. Lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
3. Lime juice (freshly squeezed)
4. Gin (dry)
5. Vodka
6. Aromatic bitters (e.g. Angostura)
7. Cognac (brandy)
8. Dry vermouth
9. Rosso/rouge (sweet) vermouth
10. Orange bitters
11. Orange juice (freshly squeezed)
12. Triple sec liqueur (e.g. Cointreau)
13. Pineapple juice
14. White (charcoal-filtered) 1-3 year old light rum
15. Bourbon whiskey
16. Egg white (pasteurised)
17. Soda water (club soda)
18. Tequila reposado
19. Grenadine/pomegranate syrup
20. Grapefruit juice (pink)
21. Apple juice (apple cider) unsweetened & cloudy
22. Maraschino liqueur
23. Absinthe verte (green)
24. Cranberry juice (sweetened)
25. Italian red bitter liqueur (e.g. Campari)
26. Scotch blended whisky
27. Cream single / half and half
28. Elderflower liqueur
29. Brut sparkling wine (e.g. champagne)
30. Cognac orange liqueur (e.g. Grand Marnier)
31. Calvados & straight applejacks
32. Rye whiskey (100 proof / 50% alc./vol.)
33. Apricot (brandy) liqueur
34. Mint leaves (fresh)
35. Creole bitters (e.g. Peychaud's)
36. Gold rum 1-3 year old mellow light
37. Coffee liqueur
38. Bénédictine D.O.M. liqueur
39. Amaretto liqueur
40. Well-aged rum 6-10yr old molasses Caribbean blended
41. Orange Curaçao liqueur
42. Chartreuse Verte (green)
43. Mezcal (joven)
44. Crème de cacao liqueur (white)
45. Cherry brandy liqueur
46. Gentian liqueur (e.g. Suze, Salers etc)
47. Honey syrup (3 honey to 1 water)
48. Black raspberry liqueur (e.g. Chambord)
49. Orgeat (almond) syrup
50. Blanco tequila
51. Agave syrup
52. Saline solution
53. Cachaça (unaged)
54. Fino sherry
55. Chartreuse Jaune (yellow)
56. Ginger ale
57. Falernum liqueur
58. Crème de banane liqueur
59. Lillet Blanc (or other aromatized wine)
60. Peated Scotch whisky
61. Maple syrup
62. Orange-red aperitivo (e.g. Aperol)
63. Crème de cassis liqueur
64. Irish cream liqueur
65. Irish blended whiskey
66. Oude genever
67. Tawny port
68. Bianco vermouth
69. Tonic water
70. Citrus-flavoured vodka
71. Lime cordial (sweetened lime juice)
72. Raspberries (fresh)
73. Galliano L'Autentico liqueur
74. Prosecco sparkling wine
75. Blue curaçao liqueur
76. Peach schnapps liqueur
77. Espresso coffee (hot)
78. Drambuie liqueur
79. French rouge aromatised wine (e.g. Dubonnet Red)
80. Ginger liqueur
81. Pisco
82. Vanilla-flavoured vodka
83. Chocolate bitters
84. Limoncello liqueur
85. Honey (fresh)
86. Milk (whole milk/full 3-4% fat)
87. Sauvignon Blanc white wine
88. Carciofo amaro (e.g. Cynar)
89. White crème de menthe liqueur
90. Melon liqueur
91. Ginger beer
92. Vanilla sugar syrup
93. Sloe gin liqueur
94. Bison grass vodka
95. Coconut rum liqueur (35-40% alc./vol.)
96. Amaro Montenegro
97. Dark crème de cacao liqueur
98. Overproof white rum
99. Lemon-lime soda (e.g. Sprite, 7-Up)
100. Pedro Ximénez sherry

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