Words by Simon Difford
Photography by Dan Malpass
'Classic' cocktails are drinks, such as the Daiquiri and Margarita, from a previous bartending age that continue to be made and enjoyed to this day. Contemporary, or 'renaissance classic' cocktails, are those created since the mid-1980s, the start of the present cocktail renaissance, that have also become internationally known, the earliest being Dick Bradsell's Espresso Martini.
By definition renaissance classic cocktails are well known, but which drinks served in bars today will go on to be internationally famous, the classic cocktails of the future? Creating such a cocktail is the dream of most bartenders and cocktail competitions such as Bacardi Legacy seek and promote such cocktails, over the past 10 years generating a plethora of potential future classics. [See Bacardi Legacy cocktails.]
To become a classic cocktail it helps if the drink can be easily replicated and made using globally available ingredients. The following drinks fit these criteria and are also known well beyond where they originated. A few could even already be considered renaissance classics.
By: Ezra Star, Boston, USA.
With: Mezcal, cognac, maraschino liqueur, Punt e Mes and Peychaud's bitters.
We say: Mezcal and cognac fuel this stirred spirit-forward nightcap.
By: Jeffrey Morgenthaler, Portland, Oregon, USA.
With: Bourbon, lemon juice, crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur), sugar syrup and Angostura bitters.
We say: Fruit supplements rather than dominates bourbon in this easy long drink.
By: T.J. Siegel, New York, USA
With: Bourbon, lemon juice and honey water.
We say: A Whiskey Sour with honey in place of sugar syrup.
By: Chris (Hasselhoff), Melbourne, Australia.
With: Tequila, Jägermeister, Yellow Chartreuse, sugar syrup, egg and freshly grated nutmeg.
We say: Challenging herbal and bitter complexity yet with endearing sweet creaminess.
By: Phil Ward, New York, USA.
With: Mezcal, aperitivo liqueur, maraschino liqueur and lime juice.
We say: Created back in 2009 this cocktail is well-known in the USA but is yet to hit Europe in a big way.
By: Chris Jepson, London, England.
With: Dry gin, fino sherry, lemon juice, sugar and orange bitters.
We say: This tasty cocktail has inspired riffs such as the Banana Calling.
Naked & Famous
By: Joaquín Simó, New York City, USA.
With: Mezcal, aperitivo liqueur, Yellow Chartreuse and lime juice.
We say: Another tasty agave Last Word riff (see Division Bell above).
Oye Mi Canto (Hear My Voice)
By: Alex Kratena, London, England
With: Blanco tequila, rosato vermouth, mezcal and mandarin bitters.
We say: This pale pink cocktail looks delicate and indeed is delicately balanced with a wisp of mezcal smoke.
Picante de la Casa
By: Chris Ojeda, Hollywood, USA.
With: Fresh chilli, coriander/cilantro, reposado tequila, agave syrup and lime juice.
We say: Basically a Tommy's with chilli and coriander/cilantro, the Picante de la Casa has grown along with the Soho House estate where it is the best-selling "House Tonic".
By: Max and Noel Venning, London, England.
With: Bourbon, crème de peche, lemon juice, sugar syrup, egg white, soda and cider.
We say: Peach and bourbon combine harmoniously in this easy-drinking well-balanced fizz.
Three Storms Flip
By: Ryan Chetiyawardana, London, England.
With: Golden rum, falernum, Islay single malt, orange bitters, salt, black pepper and egg (white & yolk).
We say: Peat smoky whisky subtly influences this complex and silky-smooth rum flip.
With: Three different rums, lime juice and sugar.
We say: I've no idea who or when somebody first made a Daiquiri using a combination of different rums but this has now become an established trend. Bartenders use different rums and in various proportions but three rums appears to be the most common number, hence I've termed this a Triple Daiquiri.
What notable cocktails have I missed, particularly in countries apart from the UK and USA which dominate above. Please email email@example.com