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Friday Night Thirst: The 10 Most Popular Cocktails in the World

Alcoholic beverages have long been accepted as the perfect companion for date nights, dinners, and all-round social fun, but which are the most popular cocktails in the world? Do your bar buddies prefer vodka, tequila, rum, or whiskey?

Most countries have trademark drinks, the taste of which their populations have naturally adjusted and acclimated to over time, partially based on the accessibility of certain liquors in that region. A fernet with Coke, for example, is the most commonly ordered cocktail in Argentina, while a tamagozake is popular in Japan. Negroni’s are typically ordered in Italy as an apperitivo before dinner, and the famous Pisco Sour originated in Lima, Peru (or maybe in Chile, who really knows), making it the go-to choice in regional bars.

However, just as music has its ten most popular songs of all time, which we covered in a previous article, drinking habits and booze preferences also vary from one culture to another. Nonetheless, there are ten cocktails that never fail our alcohol cravings and are popular in any bar on the planet. So bartenders beware: if you can’t prepare at least eight of the following ten most popular cocktails in the world, you should seriously reconsider your profession (or learn how to serve them).


10. Piña Colada

This flavorful concoction reminds everyone of a sunny beach on a hot day, and has in fact been Puerto Rico’s official cocktail since 1978. The drink, however, was created in 1963 by the bartender of the island’s Barrachina Restaurant, Don Ramon Portas Mingot, who decided to serve the guests this refreshing mixture of rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice. While there are several variations of this drink, it’s commonly served blended or shaken with ice and garnished with fresh pineapple wedges. This cocktail is so popular it even entered into history, as the National Piña Colada Day is celebrated on July 10th in Puerto Rico.

9. Cosmopolitan

This elegant cocktail is a favorite drink of ladies, achieving its iconic status with the HBO show Sex and the City, where the cast almost exclusively drank “cosmos”. Classy, but powerful, this drink is made up of a full shot of vodka, triple sec, fresh lime juice, and finally cranberry juice, which gives it that trademark red coloring.


8. Daiquiri

Another golden oldie is the Daiquiri. Created by American mining engineer Jennings Cox during the Spanish-American war in Cuba, this simple concoction of rum, sugar, and lime juice has stood the test of time and bestowed many hangovers on the drinking population. Part of this cocktail’s popularity is due to the ample fruit combinations that can be added to it, as well as its frozen texture. Also, Earnest Hemingway quickly became a big promoter of the rum-based drink at El Floridita, his local hangout in Havana, Cuba.


Three popular drinks down the hatch, seven more yet to drain, on our list of the most popular cocktails in the world, continuing on the next page.

7. Caipirinha

This cocktail is considered a test cocktail for most bartenders. Just as every chef should be able to make a delicious soup, every proud bartender holds the key to a perfect Caipirinha. The blend of crushed limes and sugar, Cachasa, and lime juice is the go-to drink at outdoor parties and bars, especially amongst young crowds.


6.   Mojito

An all-round favorite, the Mojito is a sweet and fresh combination of white rum, sugar, lime, soda, and mint. This cocktail dates back to the 16th century, but earned its current popular status when Havana’s Bodeguita del Medio focused on rum and Yierba Buena as ingredients. Earnest Hemingway’s preference for the Bodeguita’s Mojito is well known, as he set it in stone, and this drink is also Cuba’s national cocktail.

5. Martini

Who wouldn’t want to feel like James Bond for a moment? While the Martini dates back to the turn of the 20th century, the world’s most popular spy certainly gave this cocktail its modern day allure. The traditional version combines gin with dry vermouth and is served with a lemon twist and the trademark olive; shaken or stirred. While this version is still one of the most-ordered, variations like the Appletini have also increased its popularity amongst the younger drinking crowd looking to get that 007 feel.


4. Cuba Libre

This simple highball only carries three ingredients, which makes it a never-failing party favourite. Mix Coke with white rum and add a dash of lime and voila; it’s a Cuba Libre.

3. Margarita

And now it’s time for tequila! That’s right, this salty-sweet concoction is one of the most popular choices in vacation spots and cities alike, due to its strong liquor combination. Tequila, Cointreau, and lemon or lime juice are the main components of this drink, but it’s best-known for the salt-rimmed glass in which it’s served. Like Daiquiris, Margarita’s also come in several fruity and sweet variations.


2. Long Island Ice Tea

This cocktail flirts with the innocent colour and taste of iced tea, but we all know it’s nothing short of a power-alcohol bomb. The mix of gin, tequila, vodka, rum, triple sec, sour mix, and Coke was created originally in the 1970’s and has since been the bringer of tremendous hang-overs all over the world.

1. Bloody Mary

Known as the most popular brunch cocktail worldwide, the Bloody Mary holds its birthplace in New York City’s St. Regis hotel bar, the King Cole. Introduced to this hotel’s audience in 1934 by bartender Fernand Petriot, this drink is marked by its simple ingredients, yet high flavor profile. Vodka, tomato juice, and lemon juice form the base, which is spiced up with salt, pepper, Tabasco sauce and oftentimes garnished with celery. Without a doubt, the Bloody Mary is the most popular cocktail – as well as the best hangover cure – around.