It’s the most reflective time of year, and we can’t help but marvel at the cocktail creations that stole the show in 2022.
We ran the numbers, and our most popular drinks recipes spanned both classic cocktails and unexpected newcomers. Some drinks, like hot buttered rum, offered a timeless appeal, while others, like the emerald-hued Grinch Cocktail, revealed how tastes are constantly evolving. When viewed together, they represent a mixology of a different kind: The blending of old and new, equally able to capture the attention (and taste buds!) of our thirsty audience.
Here, we’re counting down the creations that readers like you couldn’t get enough of this year. Did your favorite make the cut? We can only wonder what drink trends will reign supreme in 2023.
15. The Classic Hot Toddy
It makes sense that hot toddies are a cold-weather staple. The combination of booze and warm, lemony water is deeply comforting, plus the recipe is endlessly customizable—brandy, whiskey and rum are all acceptable base spirits.
Get the Recipe: The Classic Hot Toddy
14. The Real Long Island Iced Tea
Long Island iced tea has a reputation for being dangerously delicious. This is a fair assumption, considering its recipe combines vodka, gin, tequila and rum in the same glass. (Basically everything but the kitchen sink!) But this perennial favorite isn’t actually any boozier than other drinks, like a Cosmo or a margarita. Perhaps the myth of its perceived strength lies in its easy-drinking flavor profile.
Get the Recipe: The Real Long Island Iced Tea Recipe
13. The Penicillin Cocktail
The name of this drink does indeed refer to the antibiotic that transformed modern medicine, but don’t expect the Penicillin cocktail to cure what actually ails you. However, the pleasing elixir of honey, ginger, lemon and Scotch offers a sweet and soothing prognosis.
Get the Recipe: The Penicillin Cocktail
12. Hot Grog
By some modern definitions, grog is any alcoholic drink cut with water. But in 15th and 16th-century Europe, the term referred to a rum-based formula perfected by sailors in the British Royal Navy. Our version reimagines the drink as a sort of rum-based hot toddy enhanced with aromatic spices like cinnamon and anise.
Get the Recipe: Hot Grog
11. Gin Gimlet
If a martini and margarita had an unrelated cousin, it might just be a gimlet—a classic cocktail that combines gin from the former and lime juice from the latter. The history of the gin gimlet is much more complex, though, with hazy narratives that hint at British naval origins. One thing is clear, though: This sweet-sour concoction has a timeless appeal.
Get the Recipe: Gin Gimlet Recipe
10. The Bijou Cocktail
The drink’s name—“Bijou” (pronounced BEE-shoo), from the French word for “jewel”—is inspired by its jewel-toned ingredients. Similar to a Negroni, the Bijou calls on crystalline gin and ruby-hued sweet vermouth. But instead of Campari, it substitutes emerald-colored Green Chartreuse, a highly aromatic liqueur that adds notes of licorice and herbs.
Get the Recipe: How to Make a Bijou Cocktail
9. The Classic Old Fashioned
Sweet and slightly bitter, the Old Fashioned is a classic. Though its exact origins are difficult to pinpoint, one thing is for sure: This drink doesn’t get old. Plus, it’s easy to make, making the Old Fashioned a great place to start living out your fancy mixologist dreams. Start by muddling sugar with bitters and water, then stir in bourbon or rye whiskey and top with garnish.
Get the Recipe: Classic Old Fashioned
8. The Rusty Nail Cocktail
Let’s just say this Scotch-based throwback isn’t so rusty anymore. Said to have its heyday in the 1930s, this combination of Drambuie and Scotch whisky is enjoying a resurgence. The Rusty Nail is usually kept at two ingredients, though a dash or two of bitters can add tannic depth.
Get the Recipe: How to Make a Rusty Nail Cocktail
7. The Black Russian
Is there a more potent concoction than the combo of vodka and coffee? The Black Russian is a simple, two-ingredient drink of two parts vodka and one coffee liqueur, mixed and served over ice. For an elevated twist, add bitters or experiment with different liqueurs.
Get the Recipe: How to Make a Black Russian Cocktail
6. The Original Hot Buttered Rum
This hearty, warming drink is pure cocktail comfort food. It’s been around for quite some time, but few variations beat the original colonial-era mixture of rum, butter, sugar, spices and hot water. Drinking butter might sound, er, odd. But the requisite ingredient is where the magic happens, giving the drink a velvety richness and deep flavor.
Get the Recipe: The Original Hot Buttered Rum Recipe
5. The Negroni Sbagliato
Who would have thought that TikTok would bring overnight stardom to this offbeat take on the classic Negroni? In the sultry words of HBO’s House of Dragon star Emma D’Arcy, which went viral on the social media platform this year, many readers’ go-to drink was a “Negroni. Sbagliato. With Prosecco in it.” A potent blend of sweet vermouth, bitter Campari and Prosecco, the cocktail quickly became a cultural phenomenon for the LGBTQ+ community, and bartenders reported a significant rise in orders of it.
Get the Recipe: Negroni Sbagliato
4. The Cosmopolitan
The Cosmopolitan was made famous in the ‘90s due to its association with HBO’s hit show Sex and the City. But let’s face it: Y2K is trending in every corner of pop culture—including at the bar. Carrie Bradshaw’s iconic pink order continues to dominate the drinks scene, though our version nixes flavored vodkas and sugary supermarket mixers.
Get the Recipe: How to Make a Cosmo the Right Way
3. The Hurricane Cocktail
Coming to shore at No. 3 is the hurricane cocktail—though in storm lingo, we might consider this tropical drink a Category 4 for its notable sweetness and strength. This New Orleans favorite consists of both dark and light rum, lemon juice and passionfruit juice. This isn’t the time to experiment with pricey, deeply nuanced rums, though: Use whatever you have on hand to recreate this tiki-style cocktail.
Get the Recipe: How to Make a Hurricane Cocktail
2. The Grinch Cocktail
Have you ever met a cocktail that has all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile? Fortunately, the Grinch Cocktail is not a foul one like the Dr. Seuss character. If its quick rise to fame on TikTok is any indication, it’s quite the opposite. In just a few weeks’ time, our take on Grinch Cocktail stole the show, earning a second-place spot in our rundown. The drink’s festive green color comes from Midori, a melon-flavored liqueur, while pineapple juice, dry sparkling wine and vodka round out the flavor profile.
Get the Recipe: The Grinch Cocktail
1. Ranch Water
Y’all just couldn’t get enough of this simple tequila highball. Rumor has it that Ranch Water originated as the refreshment of choice among West Texas ranchers. It has since become a summertime staple across the U.S., and it’s no surprise why. Not only is this a backyard crowd-pleaser, it easily comes together with just a few ingredients: tequila, lime juice and sparkling water. Topo Chico is typically used for bubbles, though any kind of seltzer will work.
Get the Recipe: How to Make Ranch Water