“World’s Best Bars” Five Bestselling Classic Cocktails 2024

1. Negroni
We continue to live in the age of the aperitivo, with Italy’s contributions to our collective cocktail canon holding on to two brightly-coloured spots in the top 10 this year – the Aperol Spritz in eighth position, and this first-place winner for the third year running. There are plenty of easier-drinking cocktails on this list, yet the punchy Negroni, with its divisive bitterness, prevails. Unapologetically bold, but with depth and complexity, it’s an undisputed classic, and easy to reproduce too, with its equal-parts combination of gin, sweet vermouth and Campari.

While its exact history is contested, the Negroni isn’t without pedigree. It’s a descendent of the Americano – sweet vermouth and Campari lengthened with soda water – and the Milano Torino before it, which omits the soda water. The most common Negroni origin story tells of an eponymous Italian count walking into a bar and ordering an Americano, but boozier. The obliging bartender drops the soda, adds some gin, and the rest is history, or at least one version of it. The bartender, the story goes, was Fosco Scarselli at Caffè Casoni in Florence, sometime around 1919.

Itself a twist on a classic, the Negroni has proven particularly adaptable over the years, with bartenders swapping out any and all of its trio of ingredients to create new drinks. Among the most revolutionary is the White Negroni in all its forms, but you’ll find a near-endless array of Tequila Negronis, Mezcal Negronis, Rum Negronis, and so on. One noteworthy variant, created in the 1970s and further popularised via TikTok in recent times, is attributed to Milan bartender Mirko Stocchetto. It’s said that while reaching for the gin for a Negroni, he accidentally grabbed a bottle of prosecco instead, creating a Spritz-like variant that has become known as the Negroni Sbagliato.

2. Old Fashioned
There was a time, back in the mid-to-late 1800s, when the art of the cocktail was becoming altogether too fancy for some people’s tastes. The uncomplicated beverages made to that earliest cocktail specification of spirit, sugar, water and bitters were starting to include such garish ingredients as maraschino liqueur or, heaven forbid, absinthe. As if in protest, these cocktail conservatives demanded their drinks be made the old-fashioned way, and the practice has continued.
This is, by definition, an unfussy drink, so it’s only fitting that one of the best modern takes is similarly unpretentious. The Oaxacan Old Fashioned, attributed to New York bartender Phil Ward, circa 2007, revisits each ingredient in turn, giving each a Mexican twist. Whiskey becomes tequila and mezcal, while sugar is replaced with agave, leaving room for interpretation when it comes to bitters – Ward kept it simple with classic Angostura. The result is faithful to the ethos of the original, while creating something entirely different.

3. Margarita
If there’s a drink whose various incarnations span everything from the sublime to the ridiculous, it’s the Margarita – perhaps unsurprising given the ubiquitousness of this tequila-based classic. At its heart, however, this is a beautifully simple classic, much like the pre-Prohibition drink that likely inspired it, the Daisy, a combination of spirit, lime juice and orange liqueur or grenadine. The tequila version became known by the Spanish word for daisy, margarita, which in turn became a byword for sunshine and good times the world over.

Nowadays it’s the more refined takes on the Margarita that are on the rise, with the Tommy’s re-entering the top 50 this year, and the Mezcal Margarita returning last year. Soho House, meanwhile, has added a trendy version of its own in recent times, the spicy Picante de la Casa, or Picante to its friends – now the most-ordered cocktail at the group’s bars.

4. Espresso Martini
Just one of many enduring gifts to the world of cocktails by the late, great Dick Bradsell, the Espresso Martini is certainly the most prevalent of his creations at the moment. Famously, Bradsell created the earliest version in the ’80s, at the Soho Brasserie on Old Compton Street in London, in response to a request from a young lady for “something that’s gonna wake me up, then fuck me up”.
The Espresso Martini certainly does all that, and more, as a deceptively simple classic that’s also become an excellent template for countless variations. The recent increase in its popularity is also responsible, at least in part, for today’s vibrant coffee liqueur category, which has arguably led to better modern-day versions of the classic. Meanwhile, there’s another coffee cocktail in town, or rather on this list. Increasingly found on cocktail menus recently is the Carajillo, a new entry this year at 38.

5. Daiquiri
A venerable classic such as the Daiquiri can’t be expected to have made it to the 21st century with the precise story of its origins intact – or without some questionable, brightly-coloured incarnations along the way, for that matter. While theories abound, dating the Daiquiri at least as far back as the late 1800s, the details are likely lost to the mists of time. What we do know is, done right, there’s nothing quite like this seemingly-simple combination of rum, lime and sugar.
It’s no wonder that the best variations, like the Hemingway Daiquiri, have become classics themselves. Audrey Saunders’ Old Cuban is a recent example, from the mid-2000s, which introduces mint and champagne, while Kevin Armstrong’s Dry Daiquiri, from a similar time period, adds Campari and passion fruit syrup. Both are a testament to the legacy of the cocktail that inspired them, and are marvellous drinks in their own right too.

2024 Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris: The Report

The 5th Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris has turned the current economic challenges into strategic opportunities for the wine and spirits industry. This year, the event has established its credentials not only as a pivotal hub for business, but also as an influential platform, stepping up its decisive role in the business and political space globally.

2024 marks a turning point, with Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris making a sustainable economic contribution to the wine and spirits industry. Exhibitor numbers rose to 4,074, including 53% from overseas representing 48 producer countries, underscoring Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris’ enhanced appeal and international scope. Visitor attendance increased by 14% on the previous exhibition to 41,253 and included 41% international visitors from 137 countries, illustrating the event’s overall reach and growing influence.

Vinexposium’s commitment to business development was mirrored in the 30% rise in attendance by the main buyers from key markets. The top 5 nations represented after France were Italy, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany. The matchmaking service also reached a new performance milestone with 10,146 appointments between producers and buyers made online.

Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris, a place of influence

Placed under the high patronage of Mr Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris received visits by three French ministers and 27 ambassadors, including those from the United States, Italy, Portugal, Japan, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, China, New Zealand and Australia.

The 2024 Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris opening ceremony saw keynote speeches by the Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, Marc Fesneau, and the Minister of State for Public Accounts, Thomas Cazenave. The collaborative tone of the opening speeches, with input by Vinexposium CEO Rodolphe Lameyse, highlighted the event’s role as a strategic space where the industry can speak with one voice, share ideas and meet current challenges while also setting its sights on a sustainable future. The significance of international trade and the collaborative efforts required to cope with geo-economic risks were also underscored.

A visit by Frank Riester, Minister of State for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, ended the third day by describing the event as a major exhibition for wine and spirits exports, stressing the importance of wines and spirits to France’s export trade balance. 2023 French export results were in fact announced at Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris by the FEVS.

The International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), with which Vinexposium works collaboratively, granted its patronage to the scientific sessions of the ON! programme. The event also offered a valuable opportunity for OIV, which took part for the entire three days, to meet many international industry personalities.

Even greater buzz for the ON! and OFF programmes

The ON! programme was enhanced in order to foster dialogue and provide the industry with food for thought. 126 sessions featured on the official programme, in addition to individual presentations hosted on exhibitor stands.

Paul Robinson, wine director at Robinson Wine Merchants, recounts: “As a buyer, it is my responsibility to prioritise business appointments at Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris, but I attended two panel discussions which I found extremely interesting. The ON! programme is one of the highlights of the exhibition”.

The OFF programme, which featured a selection of 200 restaurants and bars across the capital, encouraged attendees to continue their conversations after nightfall in a more relaxed setting.

Angelo Martelli, director at Super Buyrite, found inspiration there: “With so many appointments on stands by day, I particularly enjoyed being able to continue my business relations in the evening as part of the OFF programme. Paris truly is an ideal city for this and the selection was great. It’s that little extra that makes all the difference”.

Be Spirits, an enhanced range

In 2024, Be Spirits reached a whole new level with 26 producer countries exhibiting, an extra 47% floor spaced compared with 2023 and nearly 200 exhibitors, 54% of them new. Alongside the many French exhibitors, international attendee numbers soared by 92%.

The hall designed for spirits, no/lows, beers and ciders attracted buyers and mixologists from across the globe. The robust programme of debates and masterclasses aimed at deciphering markets, exploring the most revolutionary products and responding jointly to the business issues of the future attracted a full house.

Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris 2024 ends, but ushers in the next 12 months

Until the next Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris from 10 to 12 February 2025, the industry is invited to Hong Kong from 28 to 30 May for Vinexpo Asia, New York on 24 and 25 June for Vinexpo America, Mumbai on 16 and 17 September for Vinexpo India, and Amsterdam on 25 and 26 November for the World Bulk Wine Exhibition (WBWE).

Opening of the 19th ed of EU Film Festival – Toronto

The opening of the EU Film Festival (EUFF) was held last night at Alliance Française, 24 Spadina Rd., Toronto. The well-heeled crowd included the 27 consuls, VIPs, sponsors and special guests. The wines served were a great selection from the EU membered states.

This year is 19th edition which runs from November 15 to December 1. There is a curated selection of 27 award-winning movies and hidden gems of all genres. The festival will showcase the rich diversity and creativity of European filmmaking, with post-film Q&As with directors, producers, and actors!

Here is the schedule for your viewing: https://euffto.com/schedule/

Hedonism Wines Launches Auction Platform

Hedonism Wines, my favorite London wine shop, and Mayfair’s leading fine wine merchant has launched an online auction platform, which is due to go live November 13th!

According to CEO Tatiana Fokina, the inaugural sale will comprise 100 lots, featuring a selection of the world’s most exclusive labels of both wine and spirits. As a further enticement, bidders will be charged zero commission on their purchases.

“This transparent approach ensures that bidders only pay for the lots they win, with no hidden fees,” said Tatiana Fokina.

“We are ecstatic to embark on this new chapter with our devoted clientele,” said Tatiana Fokina, CEO at Hedonism Wines. “This platform is not only a testament to our commitment to innovation within the industry but also our dedication to providing unparalleled value. By waiving commission fees and delivering on speed, we’re promising a seamless, customer-centric experience like no other.”

Hedonism also promises that “winners can expect their prized bottles to arrive at their doorsteps in just one to two days, marking one of the fastest delivery turnarounds in the industry.”

The initial offering is a collector’s dream: a magnum of Lafite Rothschild 1989, Dom Perignon 1990 and Meursault Goutte d’Or Comtes Lafon are among the luxury brands being auctioned, in addition to some rare bottles of bourbon.

Here is the link to the auction site:


I’m thrilled and honored to be selected as a Senior Judge for the 2023 Canadian Marketing Awards

I’m thrilled and honored to be selected as a Senior Judge for the 2023 CMA Awards and will be judging “Engagement” entries!

Looking forward to reviewing the best in #CanadianMarketing alongside leading marketing professionals in Canada. Submit your entries by July 21, 2023 https://thecma.awardsplatform.com/

Liz Palmer
Wine Journalist, Author, and Global Influencer