Words by: Simon Difford
As in previous years, the following ‘Top 100 Cocktails from 2016’ are based on a combination of the number of visits to individual cocktail pages on this website, frequency of appearance on cocktail menus in bars in Europe, North America and Asia, and search engine stats.
From nearly 4,000 cocktails on Difford's Guide, the Porn Star Martini continues to reign while the previously dominant Mojito has declined for a second year. All manner of ginger beer-charged Mules continue to do well, as do gin based cocktails. It is also good to see so many Scotch whisky cocktails in the top 100.
We've not included any in the top 100 but non-alcoholic cocktails are also on trend.
1. Porn Star Martini - the most visited cocktail on Difford's Guide for a second year. Proof that either sex sells or folk like vanilla flavoured vodka and passion fruit.
2. Amaretto Sour - the 2nd most visited cocktail on Difford's Guide during 2016 and one of the best-selling cocktails of 2016. We recommend Morgenthaler Formula
3. Margaritas and Tommy's Margaritas - continue to drive tequila sales. Tommy's Margarita receives more hits than the classic Margaritas (straight-up, on-the-rocks and frozen) on Difford's Guide.
4. Bramble - gin's popularity across Europe helps push this contemporary classic by the legendary Dick Bradsell.
5. Espresso Martini - the second drink from Dick Bradsell in the top 10. Not actually a 'Martini' at all but this stimulating cocktail is fabulous all the same (yes I know it should be called a 'Vodka Espresso' but consumers love the word 'Martini').
6. Moscow Mule - we noticed a huge resurgence for this drink during 2015 and it has continued to climb, as has every flavoursome derivation of Mule. The Mexican Mule (see below) was actually the 5th most visited cocktail on Difford's Guide during 2016 while the classic Moscow Mule only made it to 47th place.
7. Old-Fashioned - we've also taken the Maple Old-Fashioned and Benton's Old-Fashioned serves into account to bring the Old-Fashioned into the top ten for another year.
8. Negroni - It is now more than just bartenders who enjoy this easy to make bitter-sweet drink - we think now more than the Aperol Spritz below which seems to be declining.
9. White Lady - this vintage classic continues to rise up this chart, perhaps helped by the popularity of gin.
10. Manhattan - We've combined Dry, Perfect and Sweet serves to bring the Manhattan in at No. 10, but the Sweet Manhattan is by far the most popular on Difford's Guide (the 17th most visited cocktail during 2016).
11. Dry Martini - the various styles of Martini such as Vodkatini and Vesper combine to push the Dry Martini near the top of our chart. The Vesper leads the Martini pack on Difford's Guide at 29th of all cocktails during 2016.
12. Daiquiri - the Hemingway Special helps drive the combined Daiquiri category and this is presently the most popular style of Daiquiri on Difford's Guide at 14th most viewed cocktail during 2016.
13. Mai Tai - commonplace on bar menus around the world, helped by the Tiki revival. (Trader Vic's recipe is by far the most popular on Difford's Guide and the 16th most viewed cocktail during 2016.)
14. Aviation - this gin classic was the 22nd most viewed cocktail on Difford's Guide during 2016, up two places from 2015 but it was 15th in 2014.
15 . Penicillin - this whisky-based cocktail was the eighth most viewed on Difford's Guide during 2016 and we saw it in many more bars. This is a cocktail to watch.
16. Spritz - we've grouped Aperol Spritz and Spritz al Bitter together but while Aperol previously led, the drier Campari 'Spritz Al Bitter' now receives more than twice as much traffic on Difford's Guide.
17. French Martini - not actually a Martini and perhaps driven by sales of Chambord liqueur, this fruity drink has wide appeal. Try a Very French Martini with cognac.
18. White Russian - popular since its 1998 cameo appearance in The Big Lebowski this drink appears to be enjoying a resurgence.
19. Dirty Banana - helped by a One Direction blog referring to Harry Styles, this continues to be one of the most visited cocktails on Difford's Guide.
20. Mexican Mule - Summer 2016 saw the Moscow Mule climb in popularity and with it variations such as this tequila based mule.
21. Sazerac - Louisiana's official state cocktail is now also being enjoyed elsewhere in the world.
22. Cantaritos - the 13th most viewed cocktail on Difford's Guide during 2016 is spreading its influence from a strong Mexican base.
23. Martinez - of the many recipes with genever the Martinez is by far the most popular on Difford's Guide
24. Screaming Orgasm - the Porn Star Martini isn't the only lewd named cocktail that proved popular during 2016. Screaming Orgasm was our 15th most viewed cocktail.
25. Mojito - the Mojito has dramatically fallen out of favour and during 2016 it was the 76th most viewed cocktail on Difford's Guide. Flavoured variations remain popular and interestingly a non-alcoholic Apple Mojito was our 59th most viewed cocktail. Non- and low-alcohol cocktails are seeing dramatic rises. That said the classic Mojito remains a much requested bar drink. However perhaps opt for a Royal Mojito with champagne rather that soda - this was our 149th most visited cocktail (out of nearly 4,000 recipes).
26. Vieux Carré - another cocktail from New Orleans. Surely bartender driven.
27. Gin Fizz and Ramos Gin Fizz - shaker boys at the ready, the Ramos was the 19th most viewed cocktail on Difford's Guide during 2016, up from 29th in 2015.
28. Whisky Mac - it's great to see this old Scotch whisky based cocktail doing so well. Our 20th most viewed cocktail during 2016.
29. Pickle Back - one of the most popular shots of 2013, left the top 50 during 2015 but came back in 2016 to be our 21st most viewed drink.
30. Old Cuban
31. Lynchburg Lemonade - Up from No. 41 in 2015 and No. 72 in 2014.
32. Trinidad Sour
33. Gin Basil Smash
35. The Last Word
37. Brandy Crusta
38. Caipirinha - the 2016 Olympics helped drive this cocktail.
39. Pimm's Cup
40. Breakfast Martini - this drink has inspired many other marmalade/jam cocktails.
41. Abbey Martini
42. Slow Comfortable Screw Against The Wall - While bars strive to write highfalutin menus with sophisticated drinks made using house-made ingredients, it would appear many consumers are looking for something a lot more basic. This was the 15th most visited cocktail on Difford's Guide during 2016.
43. Jack's Godfather - Jack Daniel's is one of the world's best-selling spirits brands, people love the almondy taste of amaretto, and they like cola. This drink has all three, a combo that helped make it the 17th most viewed cocktail on Difford's Guide during 2016.
44. Fog Cutter #1 - we prefer Fog Cutter #2
45. Blood & Sand
47. Bloody Mary - An incredibly popular cocktail in North America and the UK, and even on aeroplanes making the transatlantic crossing between the two. However, it is less popular elsewhere and languished at 146th place on Difford's Guide during 2016.
48. Irish Coffee - perhaps due to the popularity of Irish whiskey we noticed a jump in this warming drink's popularity.
49. Snowball - such was the popularity of this drink over Christmas 2016 that we felt it deserved a place in the top 50. The first recipe we link to was the 23rd most viewed cocktail on Difford's Guide but predictably I much prefer my own Snowball recipe.
50. Collins - flavoured variations led by the Elderflower Collins are propelling the popularity of this tall refreshing cocktail
51. Alaska - we have two recipes for Alaska on Difford's Guide but the Savoy Recipe is the most popular
52. Absolutely Fabulous
53. Jamaican Mule
54. Cosmopolitan - Still lingering on but now out the top 50.
57. English Garden
58. Hanky Panky
59. French 75 - we've also noticed the elderflower based French 77 doing well (it's our 175th most viewed cocktail).
60. Mint Julep - a great drink served in a fancy tin. Given the rise of American whiskies this will surely continue to grow in popularity.
61. The Alexander - leads numerous creamy variations with the Brandy Alexander - and the vodka-based Alexander the Great also heavily hit on Difford's Guide.
62. Russian Spring Punch - yet another Dick Bradsell cocktail in the top 100.
63. Blazer (Blue Blazer)
64. Bellini - given the present popularity of Prosecco we'd have expected better of the Bellini
65. Alabama Slammer
66. Dark 'n' Stormy
68. Piña Colada
70. Singapore Sling - we've included stats for the Gin Sling in our placing of the Singapore Sling.
71. Negroni Sbagliato
72. Mary Pickford
73. Passion Fruit Cocktail - people like passion fruit (see No.1).
75. Tom Collins
76. Jammie Dodger
77. Vodka Collins
78. P.S. I Love You
79. Ace - who'd have guessed this pink gin drink was so popular?
80. Missionary's Downfall
81. Champagne Cocktail
83. Bee Sting
84. Pisco Sour
85. Long Island Iced Tea
86. Army & Navy
86. Gin & It
88. After Eight
89. Whiskey Sour
90. Flaming Ferrari
91. Gin Garden
92. Anejo Highball
94. Batida de Coco
95. The Bird is the Word
97. Adam & Eve
98. Agent Orange
99. Raspberry Mule
100. Corpse Reviver - of the various recipes it is the No.2 (Savoy Recipe) that is by far most popular on Difford's Guide