Difford's Cocktail Hall of Fame - best known cocktails

Words by Simon Difford

Difford's Cocktail Hall of Fame - best known cocktails image 1

The cocktails you should know about and know how to make.

Of the over 4,000 cocktails on our database, the following stand out as the most eminent. We have selected drinks which:
1. Are well-known by discerning drinkers, not just the bar industry.
2. Appear on cocktail menus internationally.
3. Have proven to be enduring.
4. Have star appeal with bars and products named after them.
5. Have been the subject of books and/or articles.
6. Have been copied and twisted by other bartenders other than the originator.
7. Are worth the effort of making.

Cocktails inducted into Difford's Cocktail Hall of Fame

Amaretto Sour
Origin: 1970s by unknown
Our preferred Amaretto Sour recipe

Origin: 1860s at Gaspare Campari's bar, Milan, Italy
Our preferred Americano recipe

Aperol Spritz
Origin: 1920s-1930s in Venice, Italy
Our preferred Aperol Spritz recipe

Appletini / Sour Apple Martini
Origin: Before the Cosmo had its moment in 1990s cocktail history, the Appletini was the fashionable bar call in America.
Our preferred Appletini recipe

Origin: Early 1900s by Hugo Ensslin at Hotel Wallick, New York City, USA
Our preferred Aviation recipe

Between the Sheets
Origin: Created in the 1930s by Harry MacElhone of Harry's New York Bar in Paris, decades later this cocktail was a huge in the 1980s.
Our preferred Between the Sheets recipe

Bamboo Cocktail
Origin: "Introduced by some Englishman" in the mid-1880s, probably in USA
Our preferred Bamboo Cocktail recipe

Origin: 1945 by Giuseppe Cipriani at Harry's Bar, Venice, Italy
Our preferred Bellini recipe

Blood & Sand
Origin: 1922 and named after Rudolph Valentino's Blood & Sand movie
Our preferred Blood & Sand recipe

Bloody Mary
Origin: 1920s-1950s by George Jessel, USA
Our preferred Bloody Mary recipe

Origin: created in the mid-80s by Dick Bradsell at Fred's Club, Soho, London, England.
Our preferred Bramble recipe

Brandy Alexander
Origin: 1930s and originally known as Alexander #2
Our preferred Brandy Alexander recipe

Brandy Crusta
Origin: 1950s by Joseph Santini in New Orleans. USA
Our preferred Brandy Crusta recipe

Breakfast Martini
Origin: late 1990s by Salvatore Calabrese Library Bar, Lanesborough Hotel, London, England
Our preferred Breakfast Martini recipe

Brooklyn Cocktail
Origin: before 1908 by Jacob 'Jack' Grohusko, New York City, USA
Our preferred and the original Brooklyn recipe

Buck's Fizz & Mimosa cocktails
Origin: 1920's London and Paris
Our preferred Buck's Fizz recipe

Origin: circa 1920 by unknown, São Paulo, Brazil
Our preferred Caipirinha recipe

Champagne Cocktail
Origin: mid-1800s by unknown, USA
Our preferred Champagne Cocktail recipe

Origin: mid-1990s by Toby Cecchini at The Odeon, New York City, USA
Our preferred Cosmopolitan recipe

Corpse Reviver
Origin: mid-1800s in England
Our preferred Corpse Riviver No.2 recipe

Cuba Libre
Origin: 1898 by Captain Russell at The American Bar, Havana, Cuba
Our preferred Cuba Libre recipe

Origin: Early 1900s by Jennings Stockton Cox at Venus bar, Santiago, Cuba
Our preferred Daiquiri recipe

Dark 'n' Stormy
Origin: Bermuda
Our preferred Dark 'n' Stormy recipe

Dry Martini
Origin: early 1900s USA
Our preferred Dry Martini recipe

Espresso Martini
Origin: 1983 by Dick Bradsell at the Soho Brasserie, London, England
Our preferred Espresso Martini recipe

French 75
Origin: 1925 by Harry MacElhone at Harry's American Bar, Paris, France
Our preferred French 75 recipe

French Martini
Origin: late 1980s at one of Keith McNally's bars, New York City, USA
Our preferred French Martini recipe

Origin: 1800s, perhaps in International Waters
Our preferred Gimlet recipe

Gin & Tonic
Origin: mid-late 1800s by unknown probably in India
Our preferred Gin & Tonic recipe

Gin Basil Smash
Origin: July 2008 by Jörg Meyer at Bar Le Lion, Hamburg, Germany
Our preferred Gin Basil Smash recipe

Hanky Panky
Origin: early 1900s by Ada 'Coley' Coleman at The Savoy's American Bar, London, England
Our preferred Hanky Panky recipe

Harvey Wallbanger
Origin: Donato "Duke" Antone at Blackwater Bar on Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, USA
Our preferred Harvey Wallbanger recipe

Hemingway Special Daiquiri (Papa Doble)
Origin: 1930s by Constantino (Constante) Ribalaigua Vert at La Floridita, Havana, Cuba
Our preferred Hemingway Special recipe

Hot Toddy
Origin: lost in time
Our preferred Hot Toddy recipe

Irish Coffee
Origin: early 1940s by Joe Sheridan at Foynes' Port, Ireland
Our preferred Irish Coffee recipe

Kir & Kir Royale
Origin: 1904 by a waiter named Faivre at Café George, 42 Rue de Montchapet, Dijon, France
Our preferred Kir & Kir Royale recipe

Last Word
Origin: Circa 1920s perhaps by Frank Fogarty at Detroit Athletic Club, New York City, USA
Our preferred Last Word recipe

Long Island Iced Tea
Origin: late 1970s perhaps by Robert (Rosebud) Butt at Oak Beach Inn, Babylon, New York, USA
Our preferred Long Island Iced Tea recipe

Mai Tai
Origin: 1944 by Victor Jules Bergeron, California, USA
Our preferred Mai Tai recipe

Origin: mid-late 18oos by unknown probably in New York City, USA
Our preferred Manhattan recipe

Origin: mid-1900s by unknown somewhere in USA
Our preferred Margarita recipe

Origin: 1860s - early 1870s as a riff on the Manhattan
Our preferred Martinez recipe

Mint Julep
Origin: late 1700s by unknown
Our preferred Mint Julep recipe

Origin: Probably mid-1800s Havana, Cuba
Our preferred Mojito recipe

Moscow Mule
Origin: 1941 - 1946 by Wes Price at the Cock 'n' Bull, Hollywood, California or by several at New York City's Chatham Bar
Our preferred Moscow Mule recipe

Origin: early 1900s by numerous candidates and claimants in Italy
Our preferred Negroni recipe

Nuclear Daiquiri
Origin: Created in 2005 by Gregor de Gruyther at LAB bar, London, England
Our preferred Nuclear Daiquiri recipe

Oaxaca Old-Fashioned
Origin: Created 2007 by Philip Ward at Death & Co., New York City, USA
Our preferred Oaxaca Old-Fashioned recipe

Origin: late 1700s/early 1800s, USA
Our preferred Old-Fashioned recipe

Origin: 1980s at Soggy Dollar bar, Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands
Our preferred Painkiller recipe

Origin: Don Javier Delgado Corona at La Capilla, Tequila, Mexico
Our preferred Paloma recipe

Pegu Club
Origin: 1920s by unknown at Pegu Club, Rangoon, Burma
Our preferred Pegu Club recipe

Origin: Created in 2005 by Sam Ross at Milk & Honey, New York City, USA
Our preferred Penicillin recipe

Pimm's Cup
Origin: 1860s by Samuel Morey at Pimm's Oyster Warehouse, London, England
Our preferred Pimm's Cup recipe

Piña Colada
Origin: 1950s/1960s perhaps by one of several claimants, Puerto Rico
Our preferred Piña Colada recipe

Pisco Punch
Origin: Late 1800s by either Duncan Nicol or George Brown at the Bank Exchange, San Francisco, USA
Our preferred Pisco Punch recipe

Pisco Sour
Origin: pre-1903 by unknown in Peru
Our preferred Pisco Sour recipe

Porn Star Martini
Origin: 2002 by Douglas Ankrah at The Townhouse, London, England
Our preferred Porn Star recipe

Ramos Gin Fizz
Origin: 1888 by Henry Charles Ramos at the Imperial Cabinet Saloon, New Orleans, USA
Our preferred Ramos Gin Fizz recipe

Rum Punch
Origin: 1670s by unknown, probably in the Caribbean
Our preferred Rum Punch recipe

Origin: 1850-1859 by unknown at Exchange Coffee House, or circa 1870 by Leon Lamothe at Pina's Restaurant, also in New Orleans, USA
Our preferred Sazerac recipe

Origin: 1990s New York City, USA
Our preferred Seabreeze recipe

Sex On The Beach
Origin: 1980s USA
Our preferred Sex On The Beach recipe

Sherry Cobbler
Origin: Mid-1880s by unknown, probably in London, England
Our preferred Sherry Cobbler recipe

Origin: Pre-1919 by either Harry MacElhone at his Harry's New York Bar, Paris, or by Pat MacGarry at Buck's Club, London, England
Our preferred Sidecar recipe

Singapore Sling
Origin: 1899-1915 by Chinese-born Ngiam Tong Boon at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel, Singapore
Our preferred Singapore Sling recipe

Slow Comfortable Screw Against The Wall
Origin: A Screwdriver will bells on, during the 1970s and 80s this cocktail was so popular that a family of Slow Comfortable Screw cocktails emerged.
Our preferred Slow Comfortable Screw Against The Wall recipe

Origin: UK in Late 1940s or early 1950s
Our preferred Snowball recipe

Strawberry Daiquiri
Origin: 1930s at La Floridita, Havana, Cuba.
Our preferred Strawberry Daiquiri recipe

Ti' Punch
Origin: Created before records began.
Our preferred Ti' Punch recipe

Tom Collins
Origin: early to mid-1800s by John Collins at Limmer's Hotel, London, England
Our preferred Tom Collins recipe

Tommy's Margarita
Origin: 1990s by Julio Bermejo at Tommy's, San Francisco, USA
Our preferred Tommy's Margarita recipe

Turf Club
Origin: A close relitive of the Martinez and Martini, the Turf Club is, or could be, the first cocktail to combine gin and vermouth.
Our preferred Turf Club recipe

Origin: early 1950s by Ian Fleming, Jamaica
Our preferred Vesper recipe

Vieux Carré
Origin: 1938 by Walter Bergeron at Carousel Bar, Monteleone Hotel, New Orleans, USA
Our preferred Vieux Carré recipe

Vodka Collins
Origin: 1930s by unknown, probably in New York City or London
Our preferred Vodka Collins recipe

Vodkatini / Vodka Martini
Origin: 1930s by unknown, probably in New York City, USA
Our preferred Vodkatini recipe

Watermelon Martini
Origin: 1990s in London, England. Probably at the Met Bar.
Our preferred Watermelon Martini recipe

Whiskey Smash
Origin: 1998/9 by Dale DeGroff at The Rainbow Room, New York City, USA.
Our preferred Whiskey Smash recipe

Whiskey Sour
Origin: unknown
Our preferred Whiskey Sour recipe

White Lady
Origin: 1929 either by Harry MacElhone at his own Harry's New York Bar, Paris, France, or by Harry Craddock at the American Bar, Savoy Hotel, London, England
Our preferred White Lady recipe

White Russian
Origin: 1950s - early 1960s by unknown, probably in USA
Our preferred White Russian recipe

Woo Woo
Origin: 1980s USA
Our preferred Woo Woo recipe

Origin: late 1930s by Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt at Don the Beachcomber, Hollywood, USA
Our preferred Zombie recipe

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