Cocktail with grapefruit

List of Alcoholic Drinks and Beverages

When you think about alcoholic drinks, there’s so much to explore. From popular drinks in cans and bottles to the sweet and fruity cocktail ones we all love. Go to any liquor store, and you’ll see many types of drinks lined up on the shelves. And it’s not just about alcoholic drinks anymore. More people are enjoying non-alcoholic versions, too. They taste almost like the real thing but without the alcohol.

This article is here to help you learn more about all these drinks. We’ve list some of the best and most popular ones out there. Want to make some of these at home? We’ve got easy recipes for you to follow. We’ve got you covered whether you’re looking for something sweet, fruity, or something else. So, let’s dive in and learn more about the world of alcoholic beverages.

Top 10 Most Popular Alcoholic Drinks in the U.S. (Cocktail Names)

Most people think about cocktails when they hear alcoholic drinks or alcoholic beverages. So, let’s tackle this one first. 

In our quest to determine the most sought-after cocktails in the U.S., we took a unique approach: delving into Google search interest data from the past 12 months. While individual states showcased varied preferences, we’ve pinpointed the top 10 cocktails that dominated searches nationwide. It’s worth noting that, surprisingly, no official sources meticulously track this data. Thus, our team chose to roll up our sleeves and investigate firsthand. Here’s what we found to be the most in-demand mixed drinks based on search popularity. Click on the photos below to get to the respective easy cocktail recipes:

1. Negroni

A side shot of a Negroni cocktail in a old-fashioned glass on a wooden tray, with an orange and a little branch with flowers

The Negroni is a classic Italian cocktail that blends gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. With its bittersweet taste, it has become a favorite aperitif. Many bartenders have introduced variations by changing the spirit or vermouth. 

2. Margarita

A side shot of a Margarita cocktail in a coupe glass on a black stone plate placed on a blue table surrounded by lime wedges and on a pink background colour.

The Margarita is a delightful blend of tequila, lime juice, and triple sec. Its balanced tart, sweet, and slightly bitter flavors have made it a favorite for many, especially with a salted rim. Fruit-flavored variations like strawberry or mango Margaritas offer a twist on the classic.

3. Aperol Spritz

A side shot of an Aperol Spritz cocktail in a wine glass on a wooden coaster surrounded by orange pieces placed on a beige table.

Aperol Spritz combines Aperol, prosecco, and soda water to create a bittersweet drink. Its vibrant orange color and refreshing taste make it a summer favorite. While the Aperol version is most common, other bitter liqueurs sometimes vary.

4. Manhattan

A side shot of a Manhattan cocktail in a cocktail glass on a brown wooden table with a plant on the side and a bar spoon and mixing glass on the background.

The Manhattan brings together whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters to offer a smooth, slightly sweet drink with a touch of bitterness. Traditionally made with rye whiskey, variations might use bourbon instead.

5. Old Fashioned

A side shot of an Old Fashioned cocktail in an old-fashioned glass on a coaster placed on a beige table with a bar spoon and an orange twist on the side.

The Old Fashioned brings whiskey, a sugar cube, and a few dashes of bitters. Its deep, sweet, and aromatic taste appeals to those who enjoy a classic, strong drink. While rye whiskey is traditional, some bartenders also use bourbon or even scotch.

6. Moscow Mule

A side shot of a Moscow Mule cocktail in a highball glass on a table with two line wedge and 2 pieces of ginger in front and a brown wooden bowl on the background.

The Moscow Mule mixes vodka with spicy ginger beer and a splash of lime juice. It’s served in a copper mug and is known for its zingy and refreshing flavor. The ginger beer gives it a distinctive kick that stands out.

7. Espresso Martini

A side shot of a Espresso Martini cocktail in a martini glass on a dark wooden table surrounded by coffee beans.

The Espresso Martini mixes vodka, coffee liqueur, and fresh espresso for a caffeinated kick. Its deep coffee flavor combined with sweetness and alcohol makes it a sought-after post-dinner drink. Some people add cream or flavored syrups to create variations.

8. Mojito

A side shot of a Mojito cocktail in a highball glass on a white marmol table with half of a lime on the side

The Mojito combines white rum, lime juice, sugar, mint leaves, and soda water. This Cuban classic is loved for its refreshing and tangy taste with a hint of mint. Some bars offer berry mojitos or other fruity versions.

9. Hot Toddy

A sido shot if a Hot Toddy cocktail in a mug on a brown wooden table with a cinnamon stick on the side and orange slices behind.

The Hot Toddy is a warm blend of whiskey, honey, lemon juice, and hot water, making it a favorite for cold nights. Known for its comforting warmth, some variations use rum or brandy instead of whiskey.

10. Paloma

A side shot of a Paloma cocktail in a highball glass on a brown coaster placed on a light blue table with a jigger, a straw and two half grapefruits on the side

The Paloma pairs tequila with grapefruit soda, often featuring a lime wedge garnish. Its crisp and citrus-forward notes have made it a refreshing staple. A more natural version uses fresh grapefruit juice and soda water.

In addition to this top 10 list, we will explore the next 10 most frequently searched cocktails. Notably, these 20 cocktail names collectively represent more than 50% of cocktail-related searches in the U.S. This clearly shows the popularity and appeal of these drinks.

Long Island Iced Tea

The Long Island Iced Tea is a potent mix of vodka, tequila, rum, gin, triple sec, lemon juice, and a splash of cola. Despite its name, it doesn’t contain any tea. Its strong yet sweet taste, resembling iced tea, hides its alcoholic punch, making it a popular choice for those seeking a mix of spirits.

Tequila Sunrise

A side shot of a Tequila Sunrise cocktail in a highball glass on a brown coaster placed on a beige table with a half orange on one side and a green plant on the other side.

The Tequila Sunrise layers tequila, orange juice, and grenadine, creating a visually stunning gradient in the glass. The sweet and fruity flavors, reminiscent of a tropical sunrise, make it a hit at many beach bars.

Mai Tai

A side shot of a Mai Tai cocktail in a rocks glass on a wooden coaster placed on a brown placemat on a white table with a cinnamon stick and a lime wheel on a side.

The Mai Tai represents tropical Tiki culture, combining rum, lime juice, orange liqueur, and orgeat syrup. Its fruity, tropical flavors transport drinkers to a beach setting. Variations might use different rums or fruit garnishes.

French 75

The French 75 is a bubbly cocktail that combines gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and champagne. Celebrated for its effervescence and sharpness, variations sometimes use cognac instead of gin.

Pina Colada

The Pina Colada is a tropical delight that mixes rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice. Its creamy and fruity taste has made it synonymous with beach relaxation. Some versions adjust the creaminess or introduce other fruits.

Whiskey Sour

A side shot of a Whiskey Sour cocktail in a Old Fashioned glass with some oranges in the background.

The Whiskey Sour mixes whiskey, lemon juice, and sugar. Its sour and sweet balance with the warmth of whiskey creates a pleasing palate experience. Some people add a dash of egg white for a frothy finish.

Sangria

A Sangria, shot from above, in a pitcher with oranges, lemons and blackberries around, on a white marmol table.

The Sangria is a Spanish concoction typically featuring red wine, various fruits, a sweetener, and occasionally a touch of brandy. Its refreshing and versatile nature makes it a hit at gatherings. Other versions utilize white wine or rosé, adding their own unique flavors.

Mimosa

A side shot of a Mimosa cocktail in a champagne flute on a table with two orange slices in front and two oranges on the background

The Mimosa is a bubbly treat made of equal parts champagne and chilled citrus juice, typically orange. Its light, fizzy, and slightly sweet taste makes it a popular choice for brunch. Some variations use other juices like cranberry or grapefruit.

Cosmopolitan

A side shot of a Cosmopolitan cocktail in a martini glass on a white marmol table with two orange slices on the side.

The Cosmopolitan, often shortened to “Cosmo,” blends vodka with triple sec, cranberry juice, and freshly squeezed lime juice. Its sweet, slightly tart profile and vibrant pink hue have made it a favorite among many, especially in the ’90s.

Daiquiri

A side shot of a Daiquiri cocktail in a coupe glass on a black stone plate placed on a blue table with two half miles in front and a shaker, a jigger and a basket with limes on the background.

The Daiquiri is a classic Cuban cocktail that blends rum, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup. It’s known for its refreshing and tangy flavor. Over the years, numerous variations have emerged, introducing fruits like strawberries or bananas, but the traditional version remains a timeless choice for many.

More simple, classic cocktails can be found on our easy cocktails page.

List, types, and Classification of Bottled Alcoholic drinks

An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing ethanol, commonly known as alcohol. It is produced by fermentation of sugars by yeasts or through distillation. Below, we’ve made a high-level classification of the main beverages, spirits, and liquors. You can check our dedicated page on Types of Alcohol and Liquor Names for an in-depth overview.

Fermented Beverages

These are drinks made via a natural fermentation process where yeast or bacteria convert sugars into alcohol.

  • Beer: Brewed mainly from malted barley, hops, yeast, and water.
  • Wine: Derived from the fermentation of grapes, though other fruits can be used.
  • Red Wine: Made from whole grapes, including the skins.
  • White Wine: Made without the skins of the grapes.
  • Rosé Wine: Produced using red grapes but with minimal contact with the skins.
  • Cider: Comes from fermented apple juice.
  • Mead: A result of fermenting honey combined with water.
  • Sake: A traditional Japanese beverage made by fermenting rice.

Distilled Beverages (Liquors or Spirits)

These drinks are processed by distillation after fermentation to enhance their alcohol content.

  • Whiskey/Whisky: Distilled from grain mash and aged in wooden barrels.
  • Vodka: Typically distilled from grains or potatoes.
  • Rum: Made from distilled sugarcane juice or molasses.
  • Gin: Produced by distilling grain alcohol and infusing it with botanicals, especially juniper.
  • Tequila: Comes from the distillation of the blue agave plant.
  • Brandy: A spirit distilled from wine or fruit juices.
  • Liqueurs: Spirits sweetened post-distillation and flavored with various botanicals, fruits, or creams. Examples include Baileys Irish Cream, Amaretto, and Triple Sec.
  • Fortified Wines: Wines with distilled spirits, typically brandy, added to them. This category includes drinks like Port, Sherry, and Vermouth.

Alcohol content

Here’s a table overview of the typical alcohol content for each of the beverages mentioned:

 

Beverage Typical ABV Typical Proof
Beer 4-6% 8-12
Wine (Red, White, Rosé) 12-15% 24-30
Cider 4-6% 8-12
Mead 5-20% 10-40
Sake 15-20% 30-40
Whiskey/Whisky 40-50% 80-100
Vodka 40% 80
Rum 35-50% 70-100
Gin 37-50% 74-100
Tequila 40-50% 80-100
Brandy 35-60% 70-120
Liqueurs 15-55% 30-110
Fortified Wines (e.g., Port, Sherry) 15-20% 30-40

 

Note that these are average figures. Specific brands and types of beverages can vary in alcohol content.

Online liquor store shopping

In today’s digital age, many prefer online liquor shopping over traditional local stores. Online platforms boast a wider selection, doorstep delivery, detailed product info, and competitive prices. You can explore global brands and grab exclusive deals with a few clicks. We’ve selected following top online liquor stores in the U.S. and see how they’re changing how we shop for beverages.

Drizly

Drizly stands out as a top online alcohol marketplace. They partner with local liquor stores to deliver on-demand. They offer a vast selection of beer, wine, and spirits. Their user-friendly platform and app let consumers explore products, read tasting notes, and receive their beverages swiftly.

Total Wine & More

Total Wine & More has a significant physical presence and a comprehensive online platform. Customers can order their favorite drinks for home delivery or in-store pickup. This store is renowned for its broad wine collection and stocks spirits and beer.

Wine.com

Wine.com focuses mainly on wines. They showcase products from almost every wine-producing region in the world. The site gives detailed information about each wine, including reviews, ratings, and suggested pairings.

Caskers

Caskers specializes in artisanal spirits. They carefully select and feature unique, high-quality spirits from craft distillers across the U.S. Their range includes popular brands and rare gems.

Saucey

Saucey promises quick deliveries, sometimes within just 30 minutes. They stock popular brands of beer, wine, and spirits.

Flaviar

Flaviar operates as a club for spirits enthusiasts. Members can buy bottles, but the primary allure comes from the tasting boxes, which offer samples of a curated selection of spirits. Flaviar prioritizes the discovery of rare and unique spirits for its members.

Tavour

Tavour caters to craft beer enthusiasts. Users can craft their custom box of craft beers from independent breweries nationwide. They target those keen on exploring new and limited-release beers.

Is it legal to buy alcohol online in the U.S.?

Alcohol delivery is legal in 44 out of the 50 states. Specific laws vary by state, which impacts delivery services differently. Four states ban it entirely, while a few impose strict restrictions with limited exceptions. Find more details here.

Canned Alcoholic drinks

Canned drinks like beer, wine, and spirits are becoming more popular because they’re easy to use, carry around, and recycle. People like them because they can enjoy a drink without needing glasses or other mixers. Many big companies now make canned drinks with fewer calories for those who want to stay healthy. Cans are tough, easy to stack, and better for recycling than glass. This is likely to help their sales grow. You can find these drinks in liquor stores, corner shops, and online. We list out some of the canned alcoholic beverages brands below:

White Claw Hard Seltzer 

This brand has become a household name with diverse flavors. Their Mango variant immerses drinkers in a tropical experience, perfectly balancing sweetness with the distinctive taste of ripe mangoes. The Black Cherry flavor offers a rich and bold cherry experience, leaving a refreshingly crisp aftertaste. For those who prefer a tangy twist, the Raspberry flavor, with its tart profile, is ideal, especially on warm summer days.

Truly Hard Seltzer 

This is another force to reckon with in the canned alcoholic drinks market. Their Wild Berry flavor tantalizes the taste buds with a mix of strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, creating a symphony of tangy and sweet. Meanwhile, their Citrus Punch packs a punch of zesty flavors, blending orange, lemon, and lime for a refreshing taste sensation. For those who love tropical vibes, the Pineapple flavor offers a refreshing burst of island flavor, transporting drinkers to a beachy paradise with every sip.

Bud Light Seltzer 

This is another big brand name. Their Strawberry variant delivers a genuine strawberry taste that’s both juicy and sweet. For a more exotic experience, the Mango flavor brings a tropical flair, evoking images of sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. Additionally, their Lemon Lime seltzer offers a vibrant citrus blend, making it a favorite for those who enjoy a tangy kick in their drink.

Premixed, Ready-To-Drink canned mixers

Another rising trend in the canned drink market is Ready-to-Drink (RTD) or premixed canned mixers. These are perfect for those who want a cocktail experience without the hassle of gathering ingredients or following a recipe. These premixed cans offer a bar-quality drink with the convenience of grab-and-go, from classic margaritas to exotic mixtures. Many renowned brands have jumped on this trend:

Cutwater Spirits

Their Tequila Margarita offers a classic cocktail experience with a fresh twist, skillfully combining Cutwater Tequila, tart lime, pure cane sugar, and a touch of orange. Another favorite from their lineup is the Vodka Mule, blending their award-winning vodka with zesty ginger and lime to create a spicy and refreshing drink.

High Noon Sun Sips

High Noon Sun Sips has made a mark in the market with its vodka & soda combinations. Their Pineapple Vodka & Soda is a tropical delight, bursting with authentic pineapple flavor, real fruit juice, and genuine vodka, ensuring a refreshing taste. Another standout product is their Grapefruit Vodka & Soda, offering a tangy grapefruit profile balanced perfectly with premium vodka.

Bacardi

Bacardi is a spirits industry household name and offers ready-to-drink canned mixers. Their Mojito Classic blends Bacardi’s superior rum with the refreshing tastes of mint and lime, allowing consumers to pour and relish instantly.

The production of Alcoholic Beverages

Producing alcoholic drinks involves a blend of tradition, science, and artistry. Methods vary widely depending on the type of drink being produced. 

Tradition shapes how companies make alcoholic beverages. Many drinks come from old recipes linked to special places. For instance, people in France and Italy have made wine for a long time, using their grapes and methods. In Scotland and Ireland, whiskey makers use unique practices like adding peat or distilling three times.

 Making alcohol is a mix of science and craft. During fermentation, yeast turns sugar into alcohol. The yeast type, how hot it gets, and how long it ferments affect the drink’s taste and strength. For spirits, distillation heats the drink to separate alcohol from water, letting makers adjust flavor and potency.

 Artistry sets each drink apart. Drink makers often mix different batches, especially for wines and whiskies. Expert blenders know how to mix them for the best taste. Aging drinks in barrels, like oak or cherry, change their flavor. The alcohol reacts with the wood, creating new tastes and smoothing out strong ones. 

A general overview of the production process can be outlined as follows:

  1. Raw Materials Selection:
    • Beer: Barley, hops, yeast, and water.
    • Wine: Grapes or other fruits.
    • Spirits: Various raw materials like grain (whiskey), sugarcane (rum), potatoes (some vodkas), agave (tequila), etc.
    • Liqueurs: A base spirit, sweeteners, and flavorings such as fruits, herbs, or spices.
  2. Fermentation:
    • Microorganisms (usually yeast) convert sugars in the raw materials into alcohol.
    • The resulting fermentation product is a liquid with a relatively low alcohol content.
  3. Distillation (for Spirits):
    • This process involves heating the fermented liquid. Since alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, it vaporizes first. The vapor is then cooled and condensed back into liquid form.
    • This step increases the alcohol concentration and isolates the alcohol from the rest of the mixture.
    • Multiple distillations might be done to increase purity and alcohol content.
  4. Aging (optional):
    • Many alcoholic beverages, such as wines, whiskeys, and some rums, are aged in wooden barrels.
    • Aging can enhance flavors and smooth out the alcohol’s harsh taste.
  5. Flavoring and Blending:
    • This is especially relevant for liqueurs, rums, gins, and flavored vodkas.
    • Ingredients such as fruits, herbs, spices, and other botanicals are introduced for flavoring.
    • For products like whiskey, blending can occur where different batches or types of whiskey are mixed to achieve a desired flavor profile.
  6. Filtering:
    • To remove any impurities or solid particles.
    • For some spirits, charcoal filtering might be used to purify and mellow flavors further.
  7. Carbonation (for some beers and ciders):
    • CO2 is introduced to give the drink its fizz.
  8. Packaging:
    • Once ready, the alcoholic drinks are packaged into bottles, cans, kegs, etc., and are sealed.
    • They’re then labeled, boxed, and prepared for shipment.
  9. Distribution:
    • The final product is shipped to wholesalers, liquor stores, restaurants, bars, and other outlets.

The Rise of Non-Alcoholic Drinks and Mocktails

In recent years, the beverage industry has noticed a noticeable shift towards non-alcoholic drinks, often called “mocktails.” These beverages deliver the flavor and sophistication of their alcoholic counterparts without the ethanol. Various factors, including health-conscious choices, religious or personal beliefs, or a preference for clear-headed socializing, influence the increasing demand for these drinks.

Events like “Dry January,” where participants abstain from alcohol for the entire month, have further propelled the mocktail movement. Such initiatives not only promote a healthier start to the year but also provide an opportunity for people to explore flavorful, non-alcoholic alternatives.

Recognizing this trend, several established brands and innovative startups have entered the market, launching an array of non-alcoholic substitutes. These range from alcohol-free gins to zero-proof beers and wines. The variety and quality of options available today are an answer to the growing demand for non-alcoholic beverages.

Read more on our articles about:

  • Non-alcoholic beers
  • Non-alcoholic gins
  • Non-alcoholic wines

More cocktails and drinks

Sweet / Fruity Alcoholic drinks
Low calorie alcoholic drinks
Christmas drinks
Summer drinks
Easy mixed drinks

Comments

Leave a Reply

Share
Pin
Post
Share
Send
Email

Related articles

Alternative ingredients classic cocktails

Mix It Up: Alternative Ingredients for Classic Cocktails

Mix It Up: Alternative Ingredients for Classic Cocktails
Japanese Whiskey Cocktails on shelf

Revitalize 5 Classic Cocktails with Japanese Spirits

Revitalize 5 Classic Cocktails with Japanese Spirits
Sotol spirit

Discover Sotol, Mexico’s Unsung Spirit with Agave Expert Kat Stanley-Whyte

Discover Sotol, Mexico’s Unsung Spirit with Agave Expert Kat Stanley-Whyte

Language

Recipe Overview

Explore our recipes by the categories below.

By spirit

By type

By flavour

Spirits Overview

Explore our spirits by the categories below.

Types