Cocktail culture has experienced a resurgence in recent years, with classic drinks like the Martini, Old Fashioned, and Margarita enjoying the limelight. While these cocktails are undoubtedly iconic, bartenders worldwide often lament the overshadowing of lesser-known concoctions equally deserving attention. This article will explore the ten most underrated cocktails, according to bartenders who appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship of creating these hidden gems.
Aviation is a classic cocktail that has fallen into obscurity in recent years but is beloved by those in the know. This elegant and visually stunning drink combines gin, maraschino liqueur, Crème de Violette, and lemon juice to create a delicate and refreshing concoction. The floral notes from the Crème de Violette and the zesty kick of lemon juice make the Aviation a sophisticated and underrated choice for cocktail enthusiasts.
The Last Word
A favorite among bartenders, The Last Word is a unique blend of gin, green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, and lime juice. This cocktail packs a punch with a complex flavor profile that combines herbal, citrus, and slightly sweet notes. Its history dates back to the Prohibition era, and it’s a true hidden gem that deserves more recognition.
The Paper Plane
The Paper Plane is a modern classic that has recently gained popularity. Equal parts bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonino, and lemon juice, this cocktail offers a delightful balance of sweet, bitter, and sour flavors. Bartenders appreciate its simplicity and versatility, making it an underrated choice for those seeking a unique and approachable drink.
The Hemingway Daiquiri
Ernest Hemingway was known for his love of cocktails, and the Hemingway Daiquiri is a tribute to his taste. This variation of the classic Daiquiri includes white rum, maraschino liqueur, grapefruit, and lime juice. Maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice add depth and complexity to the drink, making it a sophisticated and underappreciated cocktail.
The Corpse Reviver No. 2
The Corpse Reviver No. 2 is a classic cocktail with a quirky name. This cocktail is a complex and refreshing sipper and is made with equal parts gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, and a dash of absinthe. Bartenders often recommend it as a pick-me-up after a long night or a unique choice for those looking to explore the world of classic cocktails beyond the usual suspects.
The Toronto cocktail is a rye whiskey-based drink that gets less recognition than it deserves. It boasts a bold and complex flavor profile and is made with rye whiskey, Fernet Branca, simple syrup, and Angostura bitters. The bitterness of Fernet Branca is balanced by the sweetness of simple syrup, creating a harmonious blend that cocktail enthusiasts often overlook.
The Vieux Carré
Named after the French Quarter in New Orleans, the Vieux Carré is a cocktail that pays homage to the city’s rich cocktail history. This potent drink combines rye whiskey, cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine liqueur, and Angostura bitters. Its complex and robust flavor profile makes it a hidden gem for those who appreciate a cocktail with a bit of history and character.
The Pisco Sour
While the Margarita and Mojito enjoy the spotlight, the Pisco Sour remains an underrated gem from Latin American cocktails. This cocktail offers a perfect balance of tartness and sweetness and is made with Pisco, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, egg white, and a dash of bitters. Its creamy texture and unique flavor profile make it a must-try for cocktail enthusiasts looking for something different.
The Black Manhattan
A twist on the classic Manhattan, the Black Manhattan is a dark and brooding cocktail that deserves more attention. This drink replaces traditional sweet vermouth with Averna amaro, adding a layer of bitterness and complexity to the mix. Bartenders appreciate its depth of flavor and recommend it to those seeking a darker and more sophisticated alternative to the traditional Manhattan.
Last but not least, the Blinker is a forgotten classic that deserves a revival. Made with rye whiskey, grapefruit juice, and raspberry syrup, this cocktail offers a refreshing and fruity experience. The tartness of the grapefruit juice and the sweetness of the raspberry syrup create a delightful balance that makes the Blinker an underrated choice for those looking to explore lesser-known cocktails.
While classics like the Martini and Old Fashioned will always have their place in cocktail culture, it’s essential to spotlight the underrated gems that bartenders cherish. The Aviation, The Last Word, The Paper Plane, The Hemingway Daiquiri, The Corpse Reviver No. 2, The Toronto, The Vieux Carré, The Pisco Sour, The Black Manhattan, and The Blinker are all cocktails with unique and complex flavor profiles that deserve a place on your cocktail menu. So, next time you’re at the bar, consider trying one of these underrated concoctions and discover a new world of flavors waiting to be savored.