Drum roll please!  And the winner is…well not so much one winner as a set of them.  The most popular cocktails of the year according to www.liquor.com who are always great for this kind of information.  But why do I need to know this, you may wonder?  Well think of those Christmas and New Year parties, for starters.  You want to serve cocktails but which ones?  By opting for one or more of the most popular ones, there’s a strong chance you will have the perfect drink for your guests.

Famous names

The Margarita is undoubtedly one of the most well-known cocktails and the great thing about it is that there are so many variations.  The standard margarita uses tequila, Cointreau and fresh lime juice, though other orange liqueurs such as triple sec are also popular.  Add the salt around the rim of the glass if you want the contrasting flavour or just enjoy the taste of the drink itself.  Then there are the variations and plenty of them.  some sound to die for while others sound a little weird, such as the cherry beer margarita.  But if you know your guests love a particular flavour, then there is a recipe to suit them.

Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the Mojito but I know lots of people are.  The combination of white rum with mint leaves, lime juice and sugar syrup make for an interesting combination and the top up with club soda turns it into a pleasant long drink.

Tequila is always top of my list of spirits and the Tequila Sunrise is simple and very tasty.  All it needs is tequila, fresh orange juice and a dash of grenadine to give it the distinctive look.  Grenadine is a pomegranate syrup that is heavier than the tequila so always sinks to the bottom, giving the drink its two-tone look.  Top it with a cherry and a slice of orange to complete the style.

The Black and White Russian drinks are another that are simple to make and tasty.  The White Russian makes use of vodka, Kahlua and double cream for a coffee flavoured short drink.  The Black Russian is even simpler – just mix two parts vodka to one part Kahlua, or any combination you prefer.

The Gimlet was born as a remedy for scurvy in sailors but somewhere along the lines, people realised it actually tasted good.  It is a simple drink using gin, lime juice and sugar syrup or even simpler, use lime cordial with the gin.

Modern classics

The Lemon Drop is likened to those sweet we all got as kids but is definitely for the adults.  It blends vodka, triple sec and sugar syrup with fresh lemon juice and ice while for an extra lemon kick, you can always use a lemon flavoured vodka in place of the normal version.

The Tequila Mockingbird is another fresh idea, though some ingredients may not be for everyone.  Take 2 oz. and 1.5 oz. of watermelon-basil puree along with .75 oz. of agave syrup and the same amount of fresh lime juice.  Mix them altogether with a slice of jalapeno pepper and pour over ice.

If you are a fan of the Bloody Mary, then the Bloody Bulldog is another similar type of cocktail.  It uses tomato juice, Bulldog gin, lemon juice then the it gets strange.  Add half a clove of minced garlic, a tablespoon of prepared horseradish and the same balsamic vinegar, one teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce and a few dashes of black pepper and tabasco sauce.  There are various strange garnishes to add including a pickled okra, a celery stalk or even a skewer with cherry tomatoes on!

Pretty drinks

The Aviation cocktail offers a gorgeous violet shade due to the use of crème de violet or crème Yvette liqueur.  To this is added gin and maraschino liqueur as well as lemon juice to create a really notable looking drink.

Always one of the popular cocktails - The Aviator
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© Erich Wagner (www.eventografie.de) / , via Wikimedia Commons

Martinis are cocktails with a thousand faces, of which the Vodka Martini is doubtless one of the most famous.  For a pretty drink for your party, the Summer Martini brings a little summer sun to the winter.  It uses 3 oz. of gin and 1 oz. of dry vermouth but the colour comes from the garnish – one blackberry and one raspberry added on a toothpick, giving the drink a warm pink glow.

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