“Martini.””Old Fashioned.” “Mojito.” If top-ten lists offer insight into the defining features of the previous year, it’s fair to conclude from Google’s most-searched cocktails of 2016 that, two decades into our cocktail renaissance, the taste for classics has finally gone mainstream. And here at PUNCH, our readers dug in even deeper, seeking out historic, lesser-known and even nearly-forgotten recipes to satisfying their drink needs.

Though perhaps not canonical, many of our most popular recipes this year can certainly be considered classics, like the 19th-century staple, the Sherry Cobbler, or the colonial-era Philadelphia Fish House Punch—both of which have remained some of the highest-searched recipes on our site for several years running. In the tiki realm, revived classics like the Three Dots and a Dash and the Jungle Bird made the cut, perhaps unsurprising given the latter’s ascent in recent years.

(Common ground with Google’s results can be found, however, in the demand for provocatively named drinks: The Porn Star Martini clocks in at our second most popular recipe, while Sex on the Beach is Google’s fourth most-searched cocktail.)

Finally, at the top of our list sits the Polynesian Pearl Diver—neither classic nor obscure, but rather, not a “real” drink at all. Based on the mid-century Pearl Diver, a Don the Beachcomber classic, a variation by this name appears in the film Django Unchained and has sparked numerous drinkers to seek it out, making it PUNCH’s most popular recipe.

From the Mezcal Mule to the Mexican Firing Squad, here are the cocktail recipes that were viewed the most over the past year.

Polynesian Pearl Diver

In Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 antebellum film, Django Unchained, this fictional variation of the Don the Beachcomber classic appears in the coolly vicious hands of plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio)—never mind the fact that tiki was not invented until the 1930s.

Porn Star Martini

Giuseppe González, Suffolk Arms | New York
(adapted from Douglas Ankrah, Townhouse)

This ostentatious, two-vessel assemblage—vodka, passion fruit, lime and vanilla in one glass, a shot of sparkling rosé Champagne on the side—was a sensation at London’s Townhouse and its sister bar, LAB. This adaptation from Giuseppe González of New York’s Suffolk Arms may be its U.S. debut.

Mezcal Mule

Adapted from The PDT Cocktail Book, by Jim Meehan

In this take on a mule—a lime and ginger-based libation—Jim Meehan was set on developing a cocktail for Richard Betts of Sombra Mezcal. “When I went about conceiving this drink, I wanted to use a lot of traditional Oaxacan flavors,” Meehan says.

Sherry Cobbler

The Sherry Cobbler—an American-born cocktail, by most accounts, thought to have originated sometime in the 1820s or early 1830s—is simply sherry, sugar and citrus, shaken, poured over crushed ice and slurped through a straw.

Black Yukon Sucker Punch

Maxwell Britten | Brooklyn, NY

In Twin Peaks, Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) encounters Twin Peaks’ local specialty, the Black Yukon Sucker Punch: a split-level drink with a tar-colored bottom and a foamy, blue upper. New York City bartender Maxwell Britten brought this cocktail to life with a mix of coffee bean-infused sweet vermouth, bourbon and crème de cacao, all topped with blue-tinted whipped cream.

Mexican Firing Squad

Adapted from St. Mazie | Brooklyn, NY

The drink is recorded as having been discovered at the La Cucaracha Bar in Mexico City in 1937. A dry formula, the Firing Squad is almost a rickey with the addition of grenadine to sweeten only slightly.

Philadelphia Fish House Punch

As David Wondrich suggests in Imbibe!, Philadelphia Fish House Punch “deserves to be protected by law, taught in the schools, and made a mandatory part of every Fourth of July celebration.”

USS Bomber

Maxwell Britten | Brooklyn, NY

This red-white-and-blue layered cocktail is a refreshingly bitter, yet subtly sweet mix of absinthe, gentian-flavored Suze, blue Curaçao and Peychaud’s bitters. The addition of house coconut syrup adds a tropical element, much like that of standing on the deck of a United States ship in some exotic harbor.

Jungle Bird

With a base of Jamaican or blackstrap rum, the Bird is more bracing than the average tiki cocktail due to the addition of bitter Campari. Pineapple and lime smooth any rough edges and add a characteristically tropical vibe to this classic.

De La Louisiane

Adapted from The PDT Cocktail Book, by Jim Meehan 

Traditionally, it’s equal parts rye, Bénédictine and sweet vermouth—a simple ratio that can skew syrupy-sweet. In this version, the amount of rye is upped to cut the saccharine notes.

Three Dots and a Dash

Paul McGee, Lost Lake | Chicago, IL

Created by tiki founding father Don the Beachcomber, the Three Dots and a Dash originally contained orange juice, but bartender and owner Paul McGee replaces this with dry orange Curaçao and a bit more citrus. The best part of the drink is its over-the-top garnish, which can include everything from pineapple leaves to orchids and brandied cherries.

Planter’s Punch

Planter’s Punch can be traced back to a time when the West Indies were considered exotic, and recipes were written in verse. “Two of sour, one and a half of sweet, three of strong and four of weak,” directed one description from a 1908 article in the New York Times. Ingredient ratios vary from account to account, as does the drink’s name, but it almost always contains rum, lime, sugar and water.

Gin and Grapefruit Radler

The Radler | Chicago, IL

Typically, a radler (the German word for “cyclist”) is known for being light in alcohol, but the addition of a shot of juniper-driven German gin ups the gear ratio.

Corn ‘n’ Oil

Adapted from Bitters, by Brad Thomas Parsons

The “oil” in the Corn ‘n’ Oil is a reference to blackstrap rum, which sits atop this Bajan cocktail like a puddle of petroleum.

Smoking Bishop

In a final scene from A Christmas Carol, Scrooge turns to Bob Cratchit, his belittled employee, with new eyes and invites him to be merry over a bowl of Smoking Bishop—the word “bishop” was 19th-century code for port—which referred to a roasted clove and orange-infused port punch, warmed and mulled with baking spices and further fortified with red wine.

Related Articles

Tagged: cocktail recipes, cocktails

FROM AROUND THE WEB