Opinion

Bloody Marys are not very popular – says who?

They will do for me, but I couldn't spend a whole evening drinking them

Bloody Marys have been named one of the nation’s least favourite cocktails, along with other dividing choices like Cuba Libres, Mai Tais and Black Russians, new data shows. Just Eat for Business’ Cocktail Championship study reveals which cocktails and mocktails are Brits’ go-to on a night out – including the most popular spirits and fruit accompaniments – based on a recipe analysis of the UK’s most popular recipe site.

The vodka, tomato juice and lightly spiced beverage has origins in France and New York – but, despite its refreshing reputation, is among one of the worst-rated cocktails in the UK. On a purely personal note, I very much like a Bloody Mary. But I don’t think I could spend a whole evening drinking them. As a hangover “cure” I think they are great, the more Worcestershire sauce and hot chilli sauce, the better. It’s almost like a cross between a drink and a meal!

On the other end of the scale, it was Espresso Martinis that were named the nation’s favourite after boasting the highest average ratings, followed by Mojitos, Pina Coladas and Sex on the Beach. 

Mocktail-wise, it was a Virgin Mojito that held the best ratings, while Sidecar Mocktails, Virgin New York Sours and Negroni Mocktails are the least popular alcohol-free variants.

It’s surprising that Bloody Marys ranked so lowly given that the most popular spirit across all drinks analysed was vodka, which appeared in 20 of the recipes, followed by gin that occurred in 13 and rum that was the main ingredient in 15 recipes. 

When it comes to fruity flavours, the data also revealed that citrus is the secret to a top-quality cocktail (and mocktail), with the top three fruit flavours across both coming out as lime, lemon and orange. Surprisingly, mocktails proved slightly more popular on the whole with an average rating of 4.7/5 compared with 4.5/5 for cocktails, while nutritional breakdowns revealed the average mocktail contains 111 fewer calories than their alcoholic counterparts – but took slightly longer to create. 

The Long Bar at Raffles Hotel in Singapore

Maybe I can include a couple of personal favourites – one a very well known name, the Singapore Sling; the other perhaps not so, a Lynchburg Lemonade. The two give me a chance to name-drop furiously about some of the spots I have been fortunate enough to visit.

I ordered the gin-based Sling in the place where it was invented more than a century ago – the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. It was on my Bucket List and I managed to tick that one off on my 60th birthday. Peanut shells crunching on the floor and all that history. It had to be done. I first encountered the Lynchburg drink when I was staying in the Bahamas. The offer was two-for-one between 4pm and 6pm and I took a shine to it. It’s a long, refreshing drink with Jack Daniels at its heart (hence the Lynchburg bit as that’s where Jack had/has his distillery).

My main criticism of cocktails is that, with some of them, three gulps and they are gone. Not so with Slings and the Lynchburgs. Those little ones in fancy glasses with an umbrella are not for me. But each to his or her own.

Looking at search trend data shows that searches for ‘cocktail bar’ have seen a staggering 56% increase since indoor bars were allowed to open on May 17, suggesting Brits are excited to be drinking their favourite cocktails again. 

David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past local weekly publications he has worked for include: the South-East London Mercury* covering the Borough of Greenwich as a junior reporter; Orpington-based News Shopper as a sub-editor; and the Kent Messenger when based in Larkfield, Maidstone, as deputy chief sub-editor. He has also worked for the following dailies/nationals: Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor on a car fleet magazine. His first foray into property ownership saw him move from London to Rainham (the Gillingham, Kent, variety). He has subsequently lived in Chislehurst, Petts Wood and Orpington in the Borough of Bromley (which he still regards as being in Kent). In more recent years he owned three different properties on the Kings Hill (West Malling) development.

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