Nielsen also revealed the best-selling cocktails across the U.S. and in six major cities.

By Mike Pomranz
February 21, 2019
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Terms like eye-opener and nightcap, aperitif and digestif, all exist for a reason. Different alcoholic beverages are better suited for different times. But how exactly do the cocktail preferences of Americans change throughout the day? And which cocktails remain popular 24/7?

The numbers whizzes over at Nielsen recently released lists of the most popular cocktails served in bars and restaurants across the United States after digging through data collected over the final four months of last year. Nationwide, the top five cocktails were the margarita, martini, old fashioned, mimosa, and Moscow mule. Not a bad night out, really.

But some even more interesting information was included in Nielsen’s breakdowns. For instance, they also analyzed the best-selling cocktails by daypart — looking at drinking habits in the morning (6 a.m. to noon), afternoon (noon to 6 p.m.), evening (6 p.m. to midnight), and night (midnight to 6 a.m.) Through these lists, you really get a sense of the ebb and flow of ordering habits.

Morning (6 a.m. to noon)
1. Mimosa
2. Bloody Mary
3. Margarita
4. Bellini
5. Old Fashioned

Afternoon (noon to 6 p.m.)
1. Margarita
2. Martini
3. Mimosa
4. Old Fashioned
5. Bloody Mary

Evening (6 p.m. to midnight)
1. Margarita
2. Martini
3. Old Fashioned
4. Moscow Mule
5. Classic Mojito

Night (midnight to 6 a.m.)
1. Martini
2. Long Island Iced Tea
3. Margarita
4. Old Fashioned
5. Moscow Mule

As you can see, like the setting of the sun, morning standards like the mimosa and bloody Mary wane throughout the day. Martinis lovers probably aren’t always awake before noon, but the drink becomes a standard after that. And like a vampire (or an Eric Clapton song), the Long Island iced tea only joins the fun after midnight. Meanwhile, the margarita and old fashioned are the only cocktails people can find a reason to drink all day long.

Nielsen also broke down the top cocktails in six major cities: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Tampa. I’ve provided those lists below without commentary: I don’t mind making judgements on dayparts, but I’m not looking to make enemies in big cities.

Boston
1. Margarita
2. Martini
3. Espresso Martini
4. Bloody Mary
5. Cosmopolitan

Chicago
1. Old Fashioned
2. Mimosa
3. Martini
4. Moscow Mule
5. Manhattan

Los Angeles
1. Margarita
2. Martini
3. Old Fashioned
4. Classic Mojito
5. Flavored Margarita

Miami
1. Margarita
2. Classic Mojito
3. Martini
4. Flavored Margarita
5. Old Fashioned

New York
1. Margarita
2. Martini
3. Old Fashioned
4. Manhattan
5. Classic Mojito

Tampa
1. Margarita
2. Martini
3. Manhattan
4. Sangria
5. Cosmopolitan

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