World’s Top 100 Cocktails

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Words by Simon Difford

By the time Harman Burney Burke wrote his Burke's Complete Cocktail and Tastybite Recipe Book in 1936 there were already so many cocktails that he decided his readers needed a listicle, asserting "The following 15 mixtures are the most popular conventional drinks in the Western World." 86 years later, we have over 5,100 cocktails on Difford's Guide but what are our 100 most viewed?

During 2021, the Porn Star Martini was yet again our most viewed cocktail but if we were only counting the last quarter then it would be the Espresso Martini in pole position.

Viewing the stats by continent and individual countries also reveals different preferences, for example in the Americas the Cantaritos is by far the most viewed cocktail with the Porn Star relegated to sixth place.

Our "World's Top 100 Cocktails" (click the tabbed pages to view, 1-20, 21-40, 41-60, 61-80, 81-100) are generated by accessing the page view analytics from the truly international traffic to Difford's Guide.

Covid and the resulting Lockdowns around the world inevitably affected folks' online preferences and 2019 not only drove folk to start baking bread, but increased time at home also led many to become home cocktail enthusiasts. As a result, our traffic surged to over 1.3 million monthly users viewing over 4.4 million pages a month. Home cocktail making, as with home baking, is a trend that's set to endure beyond Covid and while our traffic settled during 2021, it remains over a million unique users a month viewing 3.5 million pages. And interestingly, our page views over the first seven days of 2022 are our biggest yet, up 6.17% on 2021.

The New Year is when folk like me write pieces such as this, looking back over the past year. It's also when we look forward and make predictions. After seven years as our most viewed cocktail, I predict that 2021 will be the Porn Star's last. The question is, what will be No.1 cocktail during 2022? The Espresso Martini perhaps?

As I said at the top of this page, listicles of the most popular cocktails are not a new thing, and below are extracts from Esquire in 1934 as well as the brilliantly named 1936 Burke's Complete Cocktail and Tastybite Recipe book.

Ten Best Cocktails of 1934 by Frank Shay, Esquire 1934

  1. The Old-Fashioned
  2. The Dry Martini
  3. Ward Eight
  4. The Vodka Cocktail
  5. Vermouth Cassis
  6. Champagne Cocktail
  7. Planters' Punch
  8. The Old-Fashioned Dutch
  9. Harvest Moon
  10. The Daiquiri

A cocktail if it is to be of any value must have the quality of revivifying the drinker; it must lift him out of the doldrums of the workaday world and give him rosy visions of himself and his fellow-man. He must be, for a short time, the man he thinks he is and after two of the foregoing, three if he is a hard case, he should be able to say: 'Here I come, head up, tail over the dashboard and all pores open.'
As we finish the first year of the Newer Freedom the ten cocktails listed and enumerated above hold the leading positions. They won their places on sheer merit and it will be well worth our while to watch them and see how they fare during the second year.
It would be difficult to close this piece telling of the good drinks without saying a word for those 'pansies'[*see below] that are now gone and well-forgotten. Even a list of the worst ten has a charm not unlike a file of the old Police Gazette. We might, in our day of victory, offer them an In Memoriam - with a Raspberry:
The Bronx
The Alexander
The Pousse Cafe
The Sweetheart
The Orange Blossom
The Pink Lady
The Clover Club
The Fluffy Ruffles
The Pom Pom
The Cream Fizz.
Requiescat in pace!

Frank Shay, 1934

Burke's 1936 most popular cocktails

  1. Martini cocktail (Dry or Sweet)
  2. Manhattan Cocktail (Dry or Sweet)
  3. Bronx Cocktail (Dry or Sweet)
  4. Old Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail (Sweet)
  5. Sidecar Cocktail (Sweet)
  6. Clover Club Cocktail (Dry)
  7. Gin Rickey (Dry)
  8. Gin Fizz (Sweet of Dry)
  9. Bacardi Cocktail (Dry)
  10. Alexander Cocktail No.1 (Sweet)
  11. Rock and Rye (Sweet)
  12. Whiskey Cocktail (Dry)
  13. Sherry Cocktail (Sweet or Dry)
  14. Dubonnet Cocktail (Sweet)
  15. Champagne Cocktail (Sweet)

*[The word "pansies" is referring to the short-lived perennial plant so indicating that these cocktails were short-lived.]