Words by Simon Difford
The following 273* cocktails are preeminent and best-known of the 5,000+ cocktails on Difford's Guide and, subject to ingredients, these are all cocktails that any bartender should be able to prepare on request. I consider at least 200 of these as being 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 my Cocktail Hall of Fame are my own preferred, tried and tested versions. In some cases, these differ considerably from the commonly accepted norm but hopefully, they are special rather than merely normal. In such cases, I have endeavoured to also give the original recipe under my 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, then please let me know via the comments box below.
To present in a digestible manner, I have divided these cocktails alphabetically with the aim of presenting 30 or so on each page.
Number of cocktails
There are actually 283 (not *273) cocktails in this Hall of Fame but this includes 10 ratios for a Dry Martini, so ostensibly the same drink. Hence, to allow for these I've counted as 273 rather than overstating.
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 have made the following changes.
Inducted January 2022
Comte de Sureau
Left Bank Martini
Man O' War
Maple Old Fashioned
Reggae Rum Punch
Removed January 2022
Daisy de Santiago
Old Hickory (Britten's recipe)
P.S. I Love You
Inducted June 2022
Inducted January 2023
M & M
Passion Fruit Margarita
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