The 14 Most Popular Cocktails In America
You’ll find more alcoholic beverages than you can shake a stick at, but only a select few are local favorites. Here are the most popular cocktails in America.
American cocktails come in a dazzling array of colors, flavors, and presentations, mixing distilled spirits, non-alcoholic mixers, bitters, and ice. This isn’t to say most common mixed drinks don’t have variety, but these top cocktails? They take it to another level.
Unfortunately, the sheer number of options may paralyze you with indecision. If you’re ordering a new drink or making one yourself, here are the most popular cocktails in America to inspire you.
Aperol Spritz is an orange Italian cocktail served as an appetizer before a meal. In recent years, the drink has grown increasingly popular in the United States thanks to its zesty, refreshing taste. A Spritz is an excellent drink for summer days or a Californian vacation, so don’t worry — the American-ness lives in its versatility and popularity. They’re made from Aperol, chilled prosecco, and club soda, garnished with an orange slice and served cold.
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Negroni is another Italian cocktail with a long, rich history and a popularity level that extends past its prevalence in Italian-American restaurants. It’s become a bar staple since migrating across the Atlantic thanks to its bitter, sophisticated flavors, and you’ll find it on any menu — from Manhattan to Houston to Seattle. It’s made of gin, Campari, and dry vermouth and served with ice, and a traditional negroni has a lemon wedge as garnish.
Campari cocktails recipes are a bit of an oddball. There are many options out there, and for this particular recipe, you’ll find a small drink, sitting at 2 ounces in total. Its sharp taste is designed as a palette cleanser consumed before a large meal. The drink is made from vodka, Campari, aromatic bitters, and a lemon twist for a garnish.
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Need a burst of energy to make it through the evening? The espresso martini is a famous cocktail that rises to any occasion. It’s made from a mix of vodka, coffee liqueur, and espresso. You can also froth an egg white on top to give it a foamy look.
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The daring daiquiri is a simple drink and one of the most common cocktails in America; it includes a mix of light rum, simple syrup, ice, and half a lemon squeezed to a pulp. The chilled citrus flavor makes them perfect for the hotter months, so if you want some classic cocktails to sip at while sitting on the porch, look here.
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Long Island iced tea is a sweet cocktail blend deceptively high in alcohol content. It’s one of the strongest drinks out there, and is a mix of gin, fresh lemon juice, tequila, triple sec, vodka, and white rum, topped off with cola and served chilled. The iced tea has more than earned its spot as one of the most ordered cocktails, but remember: all that sweetness can mask how hard this drink can punch.
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Manhattans are — like the name suggests — a drink designed for urban living. Bold, elegant, and with a high-class edge, this cocktail is a smooth blend of rye whiskey or bourbon, sweet vermouth, and orange bitters. It’s sometimes topped with brandied cherries as a garnish to give it a more sophisticated, New York City appearance.
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This cocktail needs little introduction, even if you’re unfamiliar with the world of mixed drinks at large. The margarita combines lime juice, tequila, triple sec or cointreau, and ice. You can use an enhanced, premade margarita mix if you’re making this at home and want to skip a few steps. Finish off with a garnish like a lime wedge.
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Few drinks are more closely associated with upscale American leisure than the mimosa, a go-to cocktail of expensive brunches, fancy lunch parties, and springtime events. This drink is straightforward to make and only requires two ingredients: orange juice and champagne. They’re poured into a flute and decorated with an orange wheel.
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10. Old fashioned
The old fashioned is an early cocktail creation on the historical timeline, and its simple construction has cemented its status as a favorite of whiskey drinkers. This simple recipe combines simple syrup or sugar, angostura bitters, bourbon, ice, and an orange twist garnish.
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11. Bloody Mary
Sharing a namesake with the infamous murderer — but far less dire — the bloody Mary is a hearty brunch cocktail made from tomato juice and vodka. It’s finished off with celery sticks, asparagus, or olives as a garnish, and its tart taste is as striking as its unforgettable appearance.
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12. New York Sour
New York sours are another favorite of American cocktail drinkers, and good reason. Acting like the fancy cousin of the traditional whiskey sour, New York sours mix whiskey, lemons, sugar, egg whites, ice, and dry red wine. It’s served in a rocks glass.
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13. Whiskey sour
Of course, if we mention New York, we can’t skip its predecessor, the whiskey sour. This simple cocktail is a blend of whiskey, fresh lemon juice, ice, and egg whites, topped off with a maraschino cherry.
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14. Fourth of July shot
Sometimes the most popular drinks in America aren’t a cocktail, but a patriotic-looking layered shot. Out of those shot ideas, one of the most patriotic-looking is the Fourth of July cocktail shot, which is a mix of Jell-O, Malibu rum, and milk.
Make sure you refrigerate each layer between colors to keep them separate and enjoy your newfound mixology skills with this patriotic drink.
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Tips for finding the perfect American cocktail
Just because a drink is popular doesn’t mean you have to stick with it. If you’re browsing a list of cocktails online or a drink menu at a restaurant, feel free to experiment.
Cocktails are often more expensive than your average American beer and some have higher alcohol content. Keep your limits in mind when ordering.