Top 100 most frequently appearing cocktail ingredients

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Crunching the data resulting from our cocktail database can throw up some surprising results and as we put the finishing touches to our Cocktails #12 book I was interested to see what ingredients appear the most frequently among our 3,392 cocktail recipes.


This 'most frequently appearing' list is very different the 'most used' list we'll publish next week. For example, Southern Comfort liqueur presently lies at 79th place (appearing in 36 cocktails), while freshly made espresso coffee languishes at 96th place (appearing in just 29 cocktails), but the reality is that many of the cocktails on the database using Southern Comfort are now infrequently made or viewed, while by contrast, the Espresso Martini (AKA Vodka Espresso) using espresso coffee is currently one of the world's most popular cocktails.

I suspect that over the coming years, as we refresh this list, we'll see Southern Comfort fall down the placings to join the likes of sour apple liqueur at 136th place (appearing in 19 cocktails). Meanwhile other ingredients are coming into fashion, quickly rising up the list as bartenders create new cocktails. One such ingredient to watch is jenever at 84th place (presently in 34 cocktails) along with mezcal and chili liqueur, the latter led by the popularity of Ancho Reyes.

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.

Due to my recent past, I'm personally responsible for many of the 125 elderflower liqueur recipes on the database, but even then I suspect that given the popularity of this "bartender's ketchup" its 29th place on the list may still be understated.

Over the months and years we'll update this listing and I'll be watching new ingredients, such as birch water (presently 276th place) and black tea liqueur (yet to make it into the top 500) to see what the fast risers are and what will be the next bartender's ketchup.

Judging by the number of cocktails it is used in, and despite talk of a sugar tax, anyone considering launching a new product should perhaps first consider a super-premium sugar syrup.

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Ingredients with number of cocktails they appear in shown in square brackets


1. Sugar syrup [911]
2. Lime juice [796]
3. Lemon juice [775]
4. London dry gin [631]
5. Vodka [511]
6. Light white rum [366]
7. Angostura Aromatic Bitters [337]
8. Orange juice [327]
9. Triple sec liqueur [318]
10. Dry vermouth [316]
11. Cognac V.S.O.P. [269]
12. Pineapple juice [257]
13. Sweet vermouth [239]
14. Bourbon whiskey [224]
15. Apple juice [210]
16. Pomegranate (grenadine) syrup [206]
17. Tequila (reposado) [205]
18. Egg white [194]
19. Orange bitters [194]
20. Cranberry juice (red) [192]
21. Grand Marnier liqueur [179]
22. Soda (club soda) [171]
23. Cream [171]
24. Maraschino liqueur [139]
25. Blended Scotch whisky [138]
26. Fresh mint leaves/sprigs [135]
27. Brut champagne [128]
28. Grapefruit juice (pink) [128]
29. Elderflower liqueur [125]
30. Absinthe [123]
31. Apricot brandy liqueur [116]
32. Coffee liqueur [106]
33. Campari Bitter [100]
34. Calvados apple brandy [97]
35. Amaretto liqueur [92]
36. Milk [91]
37. Black raspberry liqueur [88]
38. Runny honey [85]
39. Bénédictine D.O.M. liqueur [83]
40. White crème de cacao liqueur [82]
41. Peychaud's aromatic bitters [78]
42. Aged rum (+7 year old) [78]
43. Citrus flavoured vodka [73]
44. Chartreuse Vert (green) [68]
45. Cherry brandy liqueur [65]
46. Irish cream liqueur [63]
47. Almond (orgeat) syrup [60]
48. Cachaça [58]
49. Lime cordial [57]
50. Raspberries (fresh) [54]
51. Golden rum [54]
52. Ginger ale [53]
53. Crème de cassis [52]
54. Melon liqueur (green) [52]
55. Galliano L'Autentico liqueur [52]
56. Blue curaçao liqueur [51]
57. Drambuie liqueur [50]
58. Vanilla infused vodka [50]
59. Straight rye whiskey [48]
60. Hazelnut liqueur [46]
61. Żubrówka bison grass vodka [46]
62. Fino sherry [45]
63. Maple syrup [45]
64. Islay single malt Scotch whisky [45]
65. Agave syrup [44]
66. Chartreuse Jaune (yellow) [44]
67. Peach Schnapps liqueur [44]
68. Crème de banane liqueur [44]
69. Port wine [44]
70. White wine (Sauvignon Blanc) [43]
71. Pisco [41]
72. Apple schnapps liqueur [41]
73. Ginger beer [41]
74. Falernum liqueur [40]
75. Lemonade/Sprite/7-Up [39]
76. Coconut rum liqueur [39]
77. White crème de menthe [38]
78. Ginger liqueur [37]
79. Southern Comfort liqueur [36]
80. Dark crème de cacao liqueur [36]
81. Basil leaves [36]
82. Dubonnet Red [35]
83. Passion fruit syrup [34]
84. Jenever [34]
85. Vodka raspberry flavoured [33]
86. Sake [32]
87. Overproof rum (white) [31]
88. Strawberries (fresh) [31]
89. Ginger (fresh root) [31]
90. Navy rum [31]
91. Prosecco sparkling wine [31]
92. Vanilla sugar syrup [31]
93. Passion fruit (fresh) [31]
94. Lillet Blanc [30]
95. Honey sugar syrup [29]
96. Espresso coffee (freshly made) [29]
97. Black pepper [28]
98. Tonic water [28]
99. Anise liqueur [28]
100. Crème de framboise liqueur [28]

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