Over 26% Of People Agree That This Classic Cocktail Is The Greatest Of All

Cocktail fads come and go. Tiki drinks were all the rage in mid-century suburbia, while provocatively-named shooters like the slippery nipple gave the giggles to '80s bar-goers (bartenders didn't find them so hilarious). By the late '90s, everything was turning up 'tini with appletinis ushering in an era where s'mores "martinis," key lime pie "martinis," cheesecake "martinis," et al turned drinking into dessert. Come the new millennium, cocktails took a back seat to wine, no longer such a highbrow drink once "rose all day" became a meme and wine moms started stashing Moscato in their minivans. Then along came hard seltzer, which is kind of like those old wine coolers reborn except that it's now ok for dudes to drink.

Sometimes, however, you just want a serious grown-up drink. Sure, you could always sip single-malt Scotch neat, but this is an acquired taste that not everyone's willing to acquire. If straight liquor's not your thing, there are a number of classic cocktails that have survived the decades as drink trends come and go. It's impossible to determine the "best" cocktail since taste buds differ, but just for fun Mashed selected a representative sample of time-tested drinks ranging from sweet to sour to bitter and then took even more care selecting 656 very special people whose opinions we wished to solicit. Just kidding about this latter part – special they may well be, but our respondents weren't selected by us since otherwise it wouldn't be much of a survey.

This Mexican(ish) favorite came out on top

The margarita may or may not be authentically Mexican – Smithsonian Magazine relates that this drink has a number of origin stories, none of them 100 percent authenticated, but whether or not the very first margarita was actually whipped up south of the border, it undoubtedly did contain Mexico's most famous liquor, tequila. The frozen margarita, on the other hand, is as all-American as ballpark nachos, with both having been invented in Texas.

While we did not quiz our respondents as to how they preferred their margaritas – frozen or on the rocks? salt or no salt? flavored or classic lime? – we did find out the totally unsurprising fact that they are a very, very popular drink. 26.52 percent of all of the survey respondents chose this as the best drink of all time. While that number might not seem too impressive at first glance, the fact is, over 1/4 of all the people we surveyed chose this drink out of a field of 8 candidates (the other 7 being the whiskey sour, Moscow Mule, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, gin martini, Tom Collins, and Cosmo in no particular order), and the #2 drink earned less than half the number of votes the margarita received.

Whiskey drinks were pretty popular, too

That second place drink, the one capturing 12.5 percent of the vote, was something that, as it's name implies, may be one of the classic cocktails with the most seniority – the Old Fashioned, a cocktail that dates back to the 19th century and may (or may not) be made with whiskey. While this liquor did form the basis for the original drink, the one remote corner of the world that kept this drink alive during the century or so when it fell out of favor was the state of Wisconsin, a place where Old Fashioneds absolutely MUST be made with brandy. (Carnival Eats once sampled a deep-fried brandy Old Fashioned at the Wisconsin State Fair.)

The drink that came in an extremely close third, however, is something that has whiskey right in the name – the good old whiskey sour, If this drink is made with fresh lemon juice and sugar rather than that nasty bottled sour mix, it's a delicious blend of sweet and tart with the whiskey giving it a little added complexity of flavor in addition to the booze factor.

The other candidates in a crowded field

The 4th place finisher, with 10.82 percent of the votes. was the Moscow Mule. This drink was born, and then nearly died, in the Cold War era but was revived in recent years by the craft cocktail movement. The Moscow and numerous spin-off Mule drinks may also owe some of that newfound popularity to the sober curious since you can easily omit the booze and still have a delicious lime and mint-spiked ginger beer.

In 5th place was yet another whiskey drink, the Manhattan, with 6.25 percent. It was followed by the super-sweet 90's favorite, the Cosmo, though we should probably expect an increase in popularity if and when the long-anticipated Sex and the City reboot should ever come to pass. In a tie for last place were the two gin-forward drinks on the list: the gin martini (stirred, not shaken) and the Tom Collins (this last-named being nearly identical to the gin fizz, except for typically being served on the rocks).

The lengthy list of write-ins

As is typical with such polls, a certain percentage of respondents – in this case, 17.23 percent – chose to answer "other," which can be interpreted as "none of the above." We asked them to suggest their picks for the top cocktail, and they kindly complied. By far, the top answer was something along the lines of "I don't drink alcohol," though we did have a vote for the popular mocktail virgin piña colada as well as one for Diet Pepsi. We even seemingly had a doctor on the house, as one response read "No EtOH." The Medical Dictionary confirms that this is an abbreviation for ethyl alcohol, the kind in booze.

Among the non-alcohol eschewers, we had several fans of drinking straight liquor, while others voted for such diverse drinks as the basic G&T, the tiki classic zombie, the oh-so-retro Tequila Sunrise and Brandy Alexander, and the Big Lebowski-esque white Russian (nice to see the Dude's still abiding after almost a quarter-century). Other named drinks getting shout-outs were the Salty Dog, the Greyhound, the Screwdriver, the Mojito, the Cuba Libre, the sloe gin fizz, the Seabreeze, the daiquiri, and the Sex on the Beach (it's an 80s thing). The most briefly baffling drink name, or so we thought, was something called "Ninguno." What goes into this, we wondered, and why have we never heard of it? Google Translate soon provided the answer: nothing, since this is the Spanish word for "none." Touché!