Classics and surprises: The UK’s five favourite cocktails

The frenzy around cocktails we’ve witnessed over the last few years has given rise to dozens of exciting new drinks, but the history of the cocktail goes back way further than you might imagine, even beginning in this century.

Inspired by British ‘punch’ – large bowls of spirits mixed with fruit juices, spices and over flavourings – US bartenders began producing their own spirit mixtures. The term ‘cocktail’ appeared in 1805 in Vol. IV of The Balance and Columbian Repository of Hudson, New York, defined as “a stimulating liquor composed of any kind of sugar, water and bitters, vulgarly called a bittered sling.”

From those humble beginnings, cocktails have ballooned in popularity, surviving through centuries of changing tastes and attitudes – proving that a good drink is eternal.  Here in the UK, our love affair with the cocktail might well be enjoying a peak, but we’ve never abandoned the cocktail – even in the deepest, darkest '70s when pints of bitter ruled the bar.

Today, you’ll find cocktails served almost everywhere you go, but which are the classics which continue to sell well in 2018? Join us as we run through the top five, starting with…

#5 – Daiquiri
The Daiquiri is the most popular rum drink in the world at the moment, part in thank to its versatility in supporting a huge number of fruit juices. Most commonly made with lime juice, white rum and sugar syrup, alongside a fruit juice of your choosing, the Daiquiri is a classic summer drink that the UK loves.

#4 – Dry Martini
The iconic Dry Martini cemented its place in history as the official drink of James Bond in the cinematic canon and today it remains a hugely popular drink. So much so in fact that it was recently named as one of the top casino cocktails, with Escape Magazine by Planet7 Casino describing it as perfect to accompany a game of baccarat. Made with gin and vermouth, the dry martini is a stone-cold classic.

#3 – White Russian
Cream and vodka? It might not sound like the ideal cocktail, but combined with coffee liqueur it makes a White Russian, one of the most popular drinks in the world. With delicious coffee flavours and no shortage of vodka, it’s an exceptionally drinkable cocktail that the UK has taken close to its heart.

#2 – Whiskey Sour
Sour drinks are enjoying a real moment as we leave 2018 and push towards 2019, and that’s reflected in the second most cocktail in the UK – the Whiskey Sour.  Made with whiskey or bourbon, a generous serving of lemon juice, a teaspoon of sugar and egg whites, its sugar content ensures that it’s not a relaxation cocktail, but it’s a delicious favourite nonetheless.

#1 – Old Fashioned 
A bartender’s worst nightmare thanks to the several minutes of stirring required by its recipe, the Old Fashioned is nevertheless the most popular cocktail in the UK. This delicious, caramel-ly whiskey drink is made by muddling sugar with bitters and whiskey, garnished with freshly peeled orange skin and finished with soda. It’s a sophisticated, complex cocktail which highlights just how knowledgeable the UK cocktail market has become.

What’s your favourite cocktail? Tell us in the comments below!

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