Posted on: May 15, 2023

What are the World's Strongest Cocktails?

World's Strongest Cocktails

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, which is a great time to reflect on the impact that drinking alcohol can have on our lives. While consuming alcohol has long been considered a popular way to socialize, relax, or celebrate, it’s important to remember that not all drinks are created equal.

Even though we’ve long been told to drink in moderation, there are certain cocktails that are stronger than others. In this blog, we’ve rounded up the world’s 10 strongest cocktails so you can be aware of the risks of drinking them or serving them safely to others. 

What Makes a Cocktail Strong?

There are quite a few factors that can contribute to a cocktail’s strength. This includes the type of liquor used in a drink, the ratio of that liquor to other ingredients such as mixers like juice or soda, the method of preparation, and the size of the drink.

The general rule of cocktails is the more liquor it contains, the stronger they will be. A drink made with liquor might be stronger than your average beer or red wine, and a drink with multiple types of liquor and only a splash of juice will be stronger than a drink of the same size with say, only one serving of vodka with the rest of the glass being filled with soda.

Drinks that are served “neat” are liquors served directly into a glass, meaning they are made without any mixers or ice. Neat drinks will be stronger than those that are served “on the rocks”, meaning there is ice to dilute the liquor. 

In no particular order, let’s go ahead and explore some of the strongest cocktails in the world!

10 Strongest Cocktails

  1. Classic Martini

Let’s start off our list with an oldie but a goodie: the classic martini. Martinis are usually made with gin, but vodka comes in at a very close second. Some drinkers even prefer a 50/50 split, with both vodka and gin.

The recipe for a traditional martini is:

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce vermouth
  • Olive or lemon twist for garnish

Your typical martini can have an alcohol by volume (ABV) of about 30% depending on the liquor that is chosen, as well as if any water is being added through stirring or shaking the martini during preparation. You can also order a martini “dry” or “bone dry”, which means using less vermouth, therefore making the martini even stronger. 

  1. Long Island Iced Tea

This popular drink is made up of a combination of four different types of liquor, cementing its spot on our list of strongest cocktails.

Your average Long Island has:

  • ½ ounce gin
  • ½ ounce rum
  • ½ ounce vodka
  • ½ ounce tequila
  • ½ triple sec
  • 1 ounce sour mix
  • Splash of cola

What makes Long Island Ice Teas a bit dangerous is the combination of sour mix and cola, which can hide the taste of the liquor. This might make someone want to drink more of them, but remember to drink, and serve drinks, responsibly! The Long Island comes in at about 20% ABV depending on the variation.

  1. Negroni

Oh, stunning! A negroni, recently made popular by a viral TikTok with House of Dragon co-stars Olivia Cooke and Emma D’Arcy, was made over a century ago in Florence, Italy.

A negroni is made with:

  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce vermouth
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • Orange peel for garnish

Because all of the ingredients in the drink are liquors, you can expect a Negroni’s alcohol content to be somewhere around 24% ABV. There are variations of the drink that have slightly less alcohol. A Negroni Sbagliato is made with prosecco instead of gin, making it slightly weaker than a traditional Negroni.

  1. 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse

You might be able to tell from the name alone, but the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse will pack quite a punch.

The traditional drink consists of:

  • ¼ ounce Jim Beam bourbon
  • ¼ ounce Jack Daniels whiskey
  • ¼ ounce Johnnie Walker scotch
  • ¼ ounce Jameson Irish whiskey

All four liquors are poured into a rocks glass and served straight up. Simple, but alarming. This drink is entirely made up of liquor, with absolutely no mixers, or ice to dilute it, making it one of the strongest drinks you can order.

  1. Irish Trash Can

Originally named, “The Dublin Tall”, this popular party drink is rumored to have been invented in 1690 in Ireland by a man named McGregor the Red Bull, which is quite the coincidence considering one of the ingredients.

This cocktail is made up of:

  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce rum
  • 1 ounce triple sec
  • 1 ounce blue curacao
  • ½ ounce peach schnapps
  • 1 can of Red Bull

All mixed together, the average ABV of an Irish Trash Can rests at around 30%. The blue curacao and Red Bull mixes together to make the drink a nice shade of green, making it a classic St. Patrick’s Day cocktail.

  1. Jet Pilot

This Tiki-style drink is said to have been invented in the 1950s by socialist, Steven Crane at his Polynesian-themed luau restaurant in Hollywood.

The ingredients are:

  • 1 ounce Jamaican rum
  • 1 ounce Puerto Rican rum
  • 1 ounce Demerara rum
  • ½ ounce grapefruit juice
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • ½ ounce cinnamon syrup
  • ½ ounce falernum
  • Dash of absinthe
  • Dash of bitters
  • Garnished with a maraschino cherry

This tropical cocktail can be ordered over ice, but it’s usually enjoyed blended. The average ABV of a Jet Pilot is around 20% depending on the variation. 

  1. The Zombie

While we’re on the subject of tropical drinks, how about another one to add to our list? The Zombie also contains rum as its featured liquor and was created in 1934 by Donn Beach at his, wouldn’t you know it, Polynesian-themed Hollywood restaurant.

               To make this cocktail, you’ll need:

  • 1 ounce light rum
  • 1 ounce dark rum
  • 1 ounce spiced rum
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 1 ounce passion fruit syrup
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • Dash of orange bitters
  • Splash of grenadine
  • Mint for garnish

Depending on the types of rum used, and the alcohol content for each, the Zombie’s ABV is around 25%.

  1. Jungle Juice

Usually known to entertain crowds at college parties or during holidays, Jungle Juice can also be ordered at bars or restaurants to be enjoyed by a single person.

For an individual cocktail, this drink usually contains:

  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 ounce light rum
  • 1 ounce triple sec
  • ½ ounce pineapple juice
  • ½ ounce orange juice
  • ½ ounce fruit punch
  • ½ ounce cranberry juice
  • Fruits (orange slices, strawberries) for garnish

This drink can vary greatly in its alcohol content because there is technically no one traditional recipe. Some bars or restaurants might use more juice, others might use less, which may affect patrons differently.

  1. Death in the Afternoon

It is rumored that Ernest Hemingway enjoyed drinking as much as he enjoyed writing. This particular drink was created by the famed author and even shares a name with his 1932 novel.

This drink is made with only two ingredients:

  • 1 ounce absinthe
  • 4 ounces champagne

Don’t let the lack of ingredients fool you. Absinthe alone usually contains well over 40% ABV while champagne is significantly lower, at around 12%. While Hemingway suggests drinking “three to five of these slowly”, we would definitely have to disagree.

  1. Aunt Roberta

And last on our list, but certainly not the least (amount of alcohol, that is), we have the Aunt Roberta. This cocktail contains 100% liquor and is widely regarded as THE strongest cocktail in the world. 

The infamous drink contains:

  • 3 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces absinthe
  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce brandy
  • 1 ounce blackberry liqueur

It is more than likely that you have never had the pleasure of ordering this drink out at a restaurant. Most establishments won’t have it directly on their menu because of how potent it is, and some might not even serve it if asked. This is all up to the discretion of the bar itself, and the bartender who may or may not decide to serve it.

Risks of Serving Strong Drinks

Most people follow the common one-in-one rule, which means consuming only one drink an hour to avoid intoxication. However, it is pretty clear that the cocktails on this list might not be the best drinks to follow this rule with. Many of the world’s strongest cocktails contain two to three times the alcohol in an average drink, which means overconsuming occurs a lot faster even when only having one drink an hour.

Since there are no federal, or even state, laws restricting the number of certain cocktails a single patron can have, this means bartenders play an important role when it comes to promoting and ensuring responsible drinking. As a bartender, it is crucial to recognize the signs of intoxication of a patron and make sure they do not overconsume alcohol so they can avoid the negative consequences that may come with doing so. They must have a thorough understanding of the drinks they serve in order to do so safely. Ultimately, responsible bartending can help prevent intoxication and alcohol-related harm not just during Alcohol Awareness Month, but beyond.

Interested in learning to serve alcohol safely? Enroll today!