Food & Drink

The One Drink You Need to Have at the World’s 10 Best Bars

The annual World’s 50 Best Bars list provides drinkers around the world with a bucket list of venues they need to hit at least once in their lives, but it gives little guidance on what to order once you arrive at these acclaimed spots. Sure, anything you order at a globally recognized bar will probably blow your socks off, but if you travel to another city or even another country to sample the best cocktails around, you want the best drink in the house when you get there. Here, the one drink you have to have at the 10 best bars in the world. (After you drink your way through the top 10, we’ll talk about the other 40—we promise.)

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No. 1 American Bar

Where it is: London

What to drink: White Lady

The American Bar in the Savoy Hotel in London has been open since 1893, but more than a century later, it still tops the list of the best bars in the world. In 125 years, the bar has hosted its fair share of famous drinkers and drink makers, including Harry Craddock, who made the White Lady a classic in 1930 when he put the modern recipe down on paper in his The Savoy Cocktail Book. If you prefer to drink like the celebrities who have passed through the hotel, ball out with the version from the Vintage Cocktails section of the menu, which uses vintage gin and Cointreau, and costs a hefty 120 pounds.

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No. 2 Dandelyan Bar

Where it is: London

What to drink: BC3 Negroni

The oldest bar in the mini-empire of Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka, Mr. Lyan), Dandelyan focuses on botany, taking a “nose-to-tail approach to flora.” The menu changes often, as Mr. Lyan continues to expand the limits of botanical beverages, but start with the Classics section, where you’ll find the BC3 Negroni. The take on a classic Negroni incorporates several floral ingredients, including vermouth infused with pollen, aged honey and propolis (aka, bee glue, a mixture of tree sap and beeswax). As Mr. Lyan puts it on the menu: “Bees are history’s explorers. Traversing new landscapes to find ‘gold’ for their queen and simultaneously pollinating flowers to create the fruits and vegetables we depend on—all whilst creating all the magical ingredients we love.” Make of that what you will.

No. 3 The Nomad Bar

Where it is: New York

What to drink: Madison Park Smash

Bar director Leo Robitschek rocketed The Nomad Bar to international fame in just a few short years, and while the bar team can whip up a laundry list of classics and craft drinks on command, the real showstoppers are Robitschek’s “cocktail explosions.” Designed for five to seven drinkers, these large format drinks are served out of massive glass urns befitting any party of New York luminaries. The oversized Sherry Cobbler is popular, but Robitschek’s own Madison Park Smash (Cognac, Combier, lemon juice, demerara syrup, Angostura and mint leaves) is the way to go.

No. 4 Connaught Bar

Where it is: London

What to drink: Martini

We love an extravagant table-side cocktail here at Supercall, and the Martini trolley at Connaught Bar makes one of our favorites. A white-gloved bartender pulls up beside your seat and prepares a custom Martini with extracts of lavender, coriander, cardamom, ginger, grapefruit, vanilla or liquorice. After trying all seven variations in an evening, you can return in the morning for a life-saving Bloody Mary.

No. 5 The Dead Rabbit

Where it is: New York

What to drink: Irish Coffee

Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry’s The Dead Rabbit has made an appearance in the top five of every World’s 50 Best list since the reimagined Irish pub opened in 2013, clinching the top spot in 2016. Much of that renown is thanks to the Irish Coffee. The bar serves hundreds of the signature drink each week. While The Dead Rabbit boasts an insane Irish whiskey collection, the Irish Coffee calls for Clontarf (a selection made while revamping the recipe in 2016 with the help of Dale Degroff) mixed with rich demerara syrup and a custom Sumatra coffee blend, all topped with a thick layer of heavy cream.

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No. 6 The Clumsies

Where it is: Athens

What to drink: Seasonal Daiquiri

Highly experimental and irreverent toward laws of taste, The Clumsies is a mad playhouse for drinkers. Split into three floors—a fermentation-minded basement, revamped classics on the main floor, and the really crazy stuff upstairs in the playroom—the bar is a cocktail adventure for anyone who enters. Begin with a Daiquiri, which is almost always on the menu on the main floor and rotates often with the rest of the seasonal menu. At the moment, the bar is turning the Strawberry Daiquiri on its head, making a clarified version with a house rum blend. After downing that delicious little number, you can move onto something more experimental, like a rum and mead-spiked baklava wine.

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No. 7 Manhattan

Where it is: Singapore

What to drink: Manhattan

Recently crowned No. 1 on the slightly narrower list, Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2018, Manhattan is an odd experience for an American visitor, since it’s inspired by American bars of the Prohibition era. The space in The Regent Hotel is utterly opulent, with marble, thick leather and dark wood covering every square inch. Of course bar manager Philip Bischoff’s Manhattan is amazing and the obvious drink to sample when you swing through. But as you sip, peruse the long menu, which currently draws inspiration from New York eras from the 16th century through the 1990s. Then take a peek inside the bar’s insane whiskey collection with bottles dating back to the 1800s.

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No. 8 Attaboy

Where it is: New York

What to drink: Penicillin

The Penicillin has become one of the most notable modern classic cocktails, now served at craft cocktail bars around the world, but it was born at Attaboy, the bar that now lives in the space once occupied by the foundational Milk & Honey. Co-owner Sam Ross created the Penicillin back in 2005, but you won’t find the drink on the menu, or any menu for that matter, because the bartenders at Attaboy make all the cocktails to order after an informal conversation with guests. Follow up your Penicillin with anything your heart desires.

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No. 9 Bar Termini

Where it is: London

What to drink: Classic Negroni

The Negroni at Bar Termini is entirely different from the one at Dandelyan. Inspired by the drinking culture of Italy, the bar has perfected its own spins on several Italian classics, but the Negroni best illustrates the masterful technique of legendary bartender Tony Conigliaro. Instrumental in pushing forward the London cocktail scene in the aughts, Conigliaro uses a sous-vide on his Negroni to mimic aging, mellowing the cocktail’s bright edges into a silky sipper. He then builds on that base with three variations of the cocktail: Rosato, Superiore and Robusto. If you develop a taste for the drinks while on holiday in London, don’t fret about leaving them behind—pre-bottled Negronis from the Termini shop make the ultimate souvenir.

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No. 10 Speak Low

Where it is: Shanghai

What to drink: Japanese Whisky

Angel’s Share veteran Shingo Gokan’s Shanghai bar doesn’t really live up to its concept as a speakeasy given its worldwide reputation, but the bar does hide multiple inner bars that could be considered hidden gems in their own right. After pushing aside a bookcase inside the Ocho Bar Tools shop, bypass the “New York-inspired” second-floor bar and skip the subdued inner speakeasy on the third floor. The real treasure is up on four, where you’ll find a secret whisky lounge behind an “Employee’s Only” sign. If you can gain entrance to this hallowed chamber, you’ll find yourself (and probably Gokan himself) in one of the best places to drink premium Japanese whisky outside Japan (or in, for that matter).