According to Google’s year in search, an annual release of top trending searches, a few cocktails captured our hearts, minds and search histories throughout 2021. So, if it ever seems like all your friends are suddenly raving about a certain drink they’d never mentioned before, you’re not imagining it.
While personal preferences determine which drinks we love and the ones we avoid, external factors like seasonality, availability of ingredients and even pop cultural references can also influence our choices.
That’s part of what makes the 2021 year in search so interesting. In addition to the unabashed delight of digital voyeurism, the list provides insights into which drinks found widespread audiences throughout the year, and which ones were perhaps big deals only in our own bubbles.
According to the year in search on Google, these are the top alcoholic drinks recipes of 2021.
The beloved Texas classic went far and wide this year, with recipes in national newspapers and iterations embraced by hard seltzer brands. Made with tequila, lime juice and Topo Chico sparkling water, this drink is pure refreshment.
This 1970s-era cocktail was a popular search item. Traditionally, the drink features amaretto liqueur alongside lemon juice and simple syrup, but Portland bartender Jeffrey Morganthaler created a critically acclaimed version with bourbon.
This cocktail’s long history spans 3-7th century Persian royalty and U.S. sports arenas: the mint julep became the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby in 1939. To make yours at home, you’ll need good bourbon and fresh mint. Silver mugs are optional but encouraged.
Paloma cocktail / Photo by Meg Baggott, styling by Dylan Garret
Wine Enthusiast’s Senior Editor Dylan Garret calls the Paloma “the ultimate tequila highball,” and suggests making yours with either grapefruit soda or by combining ruby red grapefruit juice with soda water at home. No matter which method you choose, you’ll be sipping on the same tart tequila drink as millions of others this year.
Whether you’re drinking it on the beach or your couch, this versatile rum cocktail serves up sunshine by the glass. It’s easy to batch for a crowd, too; just multiply your ingredients and make more than you think you need. This will go fast.
While tiki bars go in and out of fashion, Mai Tais, arguably the genre’s most famous cocktail, endures. The bright, balanced drink gets its distinctive flavor from orgeat, an almond liqueur. While classic versions feature one or more rums, we like ours with mezcal.
A traditional citrus-based sangrita / Photo by Meg Baggott
A brightly hued blend of grapefruit juice and spices give Sangrita its name, which translates to “little blood” in Spanish. In Mexico, the drink is typically served alongside tequila as a chaser, though many U.S. cocktail lovers combine spirits and juices in one, delicious glass.
No shame in this game. This fruity twist on the classic Mexican sour is understandably and undeniably popular. While treacly versions made with bottled mixes abound at restaurant chains, homemade Strawberry Margaritas can be beautifully balanced.
This spirit-forward classic resurged due to its prominence on the 2007-2015 television series Mad Men and remains the most searched whiskey cocktail of 2021. The basic rubric of rye or bourbon plus bitters and a sugar cube lends itself to variation, so feel free to mix yours up with rum, brandy, applejack or other spirits.
Photo by Meg Baggott / Styling by Ray Garraffa
This crisp, refreshing rum drink is easy to make so long as you take it easy on the mint. Instead of finely chopping, try gently slapping your sprig to release its oils.