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Cocktails

Our 10 Most Popular Recipes of 2021

December 22, 2021

Story: Punch Staff

photo: Lizzie Munro

Cocktails

Our 10 Most Popular Recipes of 2021

December 22, 2021

Story: Punch Staff

photo: Lizzie Munro

The Death Flip, Gin Basil Smash, Pornstar Martini and more.

For the past several years, a number of cocktails appeared to have cemented their positions on our most-popular list, landing toward the top year after year. Drinks like the Jungle Bird and Polynesian Pearl Diver, a fictional recipe pulled from the script of Quentin Tarantino’s film Django Unchained, were regular features that showed no signs of waning. That is, until this year. 2021, it appears, was weird. Not only did those stalwarts lose rank, the drinks that took their places are, in several cases, ones that on paper simply should not work. The Chauncey, for example, calls on rye, gin and Cognac in equal measure, while the Death Flip combines tequila, Jägermeister, yellow Chartreuse and a whole egg. Naturally, however, the Pornstar Martini is still No. 1. After all, who doesn’t want a Pornstar Martini?

1

Pornstar Martini

pornstar martini cocktail

The evocatively named cocktail, created at the Townhouse in London in 2003 by Douglas Ankrah, is a Martini in name only, but has gone on to become a modern classic in the UK. Made with vanilla vodka, passion fruit liqueur and passion fruit purée, the final flourish is a shot of glass of chilled Champagne served alongside the drink (intended to alternate with the cocktail as a palate cleanser).

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2

Chauncey

Chauncey Cocktail Recipe

A supercharged formula dating back to the halcyon days of New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel, the Chauncey stands out due to its unusual triple base: gin, whiskey, and Cognac in equal measure, along with vermouth and orange bitters. Waldorf Astoria Bar Book author Frank Caiafa encourages experimentation and personalization when approaching this recipe. Though he opts for a bold gin in the 96-proof Bowling and Burch, matched with the gentler H by Hine Cognac and Ragtime Rye, you can just as easily emphasize a big-flavor brandy or whiskey.

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3

Death Flip

Death Flip Modern Classic Cocktail Recipe

When this cocktail first appeared on the menu at the Black Pearl in Melbourne, in 2010, no ingredients were listed. And if you asked what was in the drink, the bartender would not tell you. The only thing offering the customer a hint as to what they were getting into was the ominous description: “You don’t wanna meet this cocktail in a dark alley.”

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4

Siesta

Siesta Cocktail Recipe

This modern classic is a slightly bitter spin on the Hemingway Daiquiri, with tequila standing in for rum, and Campari taking the place of maraschino liqueur.

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5

Penicillin

Penicillin Cocktial

No new drink of the twenty-first century has gone further in terms of fame than this complex, spicy, smoky turn on a Whiskey Sour. The Australian Sam Ross created it while at Milk & Honey, just a year after he emigrated to the United States from Melbourne.

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6

Gin Basil Smash

Gin Basil Smash Cocktail Recipe

At Le Lion where the drink was created in 2008, 300 to 500 have been sold every week since its debut—22,000 a year—and the bar goes through more than 3,100 bottles of gin every twelve months. The drink is served at bars all across Germany—so much so that one bartender, griping about the amount of basil-muddling required to make it, once called it “Meyer’s curse.”

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7

Tommy's Margarita

Tommy's Margarita

This version of the Margarita was created in the early ’90s by Julio Bermejo of Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco. Bermejo omitted orange liqueur in favor of the natural honeyed flavor of agave nectar helping to create the West Coast style of bartending using fresh, seasonal ingredients. It’s no mistake that agave nectar finds a natural harmony with an agave-based spirit.

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8

Dan Sabo's Whiskey Sour

whiskey sour cocktail recipe dan sabo

In our blind tasting of nearly 20 Whiskey Sours, Dan Sabo’s unorthodox addition of a half-ounce of orange juice to the classic construction earned it the top spot.

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9

Employees Only's Mezcal Margarita

Mezcal Margarita

Steve Schneider, principal bartender at New York’s Employees Only, has a long history with Margaritas. “I love Margaritas, I always have,” he says. “The Margarita has been a progression of my career, because in my 13 years behind the bar, it’s been the drink I’ve always had to make, even if it was in a shitty dive bar, with 18 beers on tap, making disco drinks.”

Now, the mezcal-spiked version is a regular after-hours feature at EO, where the rest of the staff shares his love of the classic.

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10

Yellow Parrot

Yellow Parrot Absinthe Cocktail Recipe

Featuring the odd trio of absinthe, yellow Chartreuse and apricot liqueur, the Yellow Parrot is not your average equal-parts cocktail. While the ingredients read incongruously on paper, they unify in the mixing glass to create something unexpected in both taste and texture. The key to achieving the best results with this recipe, which first appeared in London bartender Robert Vermeire’s Cocktails: How to Mix Them (1922), is an extended stirring time of at least 1 minute. Dilution encourages latent flavors in the absinthe and Chartreuse to emerge, and causes an emulsifying louche effect that imbues the drink with a silky, almost velvety mouthfeel.

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