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." 84 years later, we have 4,933 cocktails on Difford's Guide and these are our 100 most popular.

During 2020, the Porn Star Martini was yet again our most viewed cocktail with 873,396 page views.

Covid and the resulting Lockdown helped drive our monthly users to over 1.2 million viewing over 4.4 million pages a month. And what did folk stuck at home look at, well the Porn Star was in good company with the Screaming Orgasm (16th place), Cheeky Vimto (25th place), and Slow Comfortable Screw Against The Wall (26th place) all proving popular.

Our top 100 cocktails are generated by accessing the analytics from truly international traffic to this website with the UK and USA jointly comprising a little over 55% of cocktail page views. Lists by others, which include the Irish Car Bomb, are perhaps more US centric. How this drink would have done on Difford's Guide we'll never know as due to its name being in such bad taste we've refused to include it on our site.

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' 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!"

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)