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Words by Simon Difford

The following 292 cocktails are the preeminent and best-known of the 5,800+ cocktails on Difford's Guide. Subject to ingredients, these are all cocktails that any bartender should be able to prepare on request. I consider at least 200 of these the cocktails you should try before you die, but that's a whole other compilation.

These "Hall of Fame" cocktails stand out because they:

  • are well-known by discerning drinkers, not just bartenders
  • appear on cocktail menus internationally
  • have proven enduring
  • have star appeal and have become household names with bars/products named after them
  • have been the subject of books and/or articles
  • have been copied and adapted by bartenders other than the originator
  • are good drinks worthy of the effort of remaking [Some more than others!]
  • can be made from readily available ingredients without pre-preparation. They are "make on-demand" cocktails.

Many of these are vintage "classics," but even these well-established cocktails have numerous recipes. With this in mind, the recipes in our Cocktail Hall of Fame tend to be my preferred, tried-and-tested version. In such cases, I have endeavoured to also give the original recipe or link to another page with the original recipe.

If you have a better version of any of these cocktails, then please use the comments box under every recipe to share your version with others. And if you think I have overlooked a cocktail that should be in the Hall of Fame, please let me know via the comments box below.

To present in a digestible manner, I have divided these cocktails alphabetically to present 30 to 50 on each page:
A-B cocktails
C-D cocktails
E-G cocktails
H-L cocktails
M-O cocktails
P-R cocktails
S-T cocktails
U-Z cocktails

Not to overstate numbers

The 292 cocktails in our Hall of Fame, include three versions of the Daiquiri (straight-up, on-the-rocks & frozen), two Manhattans (sweet & perfect), and ten Dry Martinis (with ratios ranging from Fifty-Fifty to Franklin's 15:1). As these are ostensibly different versions of the same cocktails, these could be considered as just three rather than 15 cocktails, reducing the number to 280 cocktails.


I foresee adding and removing cocktails as their perceived notoriety warrants (partly guided by page views on this site). I created this Hall of Fame in 2019 and then made the first update on 31st December 2021. Since then, I've made the following changes.

Inducted January 2022

Californian Margarita
Comte de Sureau
Fluffy Duck
Left Bank Martini
Man O' War
Maple Old Fashioned
Midnight Stinger
Pineapple Martini
Reggae Rum Punch

Removed January 2022

Angel Face
Brandy Daisy
Daisy de Santiago
Italian Margarita
Old Hickory (Britten's recipe)
P.S. I Love You
Yellow Daisy

Inducted June 2022

American Trilogy

Inducted January 2023

Bahama Mama
Closing Argument
Fancy Free
Ford cocktail
M & M
Passion Fruit Margarita
Rum Swizzle
Ultima Palabra

Inducted March 2023

Absinthe Drip

Inducted January 2024

Blue Hawaii
Cable Car
Toronto Cocktail

Removed January 2024

Dirty Banana

Inducted April 2024

Gold Rush

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