24. Raki, Turkey
Dubbed “lion’s milk,” raki is a potent liquor made from grapes or figs, but when diluted with water turns milky white and becomes a much tamer, licorice-flavored aperitif. It is popular as a seafood accompaniment, alongside mezze, before dinner, after dinner, with cheese, kebabs and melon. Basically anytime, anywhere, is good time for raki.
23. Milk, Global
Funny how the human variety is the one that makes us squirm.Tim Boyle/Getty Images North America/Getty ImagesWhere would the breakfast cereal business be without milk? The only drink millions of people deliberately mix with their food every morning, milk is also the child’s bone-strengthening beverage of choice.
22. Gatorade, United States
In sports drinks, success is 75%.Courtesy Mike Mozart/Creative Commons/FlickrGatorade makes you run faster, we heard, because losers could miss out on the after-race drinks. Bad jokes aside, the sports drink originally created to replenish the water, carbs and electrolytes lost by athletes at the University of Florida has become a global success, with a 75% share of the sports drink market in the United States.
21. Eggnog, England
A creamy, alcoholic treatCourtesy Peter Burka/Creative Commons/FlickrBring in the eggnog and the otherwise long and torturous family gathering where everyone wears hideous sweaters turns into a joyous Christmas dinner. Or that’s the idea, anyway. This sweetened beverage of milk and beaten eggs tastes like an alcoholic creamy egg custard. Best served warm.
20. Sex On The Beach, United States
If this cocktail’s also your pick-up line, you’ll be drinking it alone.Courtesy Benjamin Nussbaum/Creative Commons/FlickrWhen a young Florida barman entered a competition to sell the most cocktails, he called his peach schnapps, orange juice, cranberry juice and vodka concoction Sex on the Beach. Now he’s also responsible for the most juvenile of bar orders.Related contentWorld’s best wine tours and trails
19. Es Kelapa Muda, Indonesia
This popular Indonesian drink loved by kids is essentially chilled young coconut juice with colored-syrup and coconut slices. Fresh on the taste that lasts through your whole meal, es kelapa muda is Indonesian tradition at its finest and purest.
18. White Wine, Global
White wine is a classic choice at the bar.AFP/AFP/AFP/Getty ImagesYou know when someone pays $117,000 for a single bottle and stores it in a bulletproof case that will only open to his fingerprint, the drink you’re talking about is something special. Christian Vanneque, owner of the SIP Wine Bar in Bali, forked out for a bottle of 1811 Chateau d’Yquem earlier this year to fulfill a lifelong dream. White wine may not be the most delicious drink in the world, but it appears to attract the most ardent fans.
17. Lemonade, Egypt
Not just for summer.Courtesy Rob Bertholf/Creative Commons/FlickrLemons, water and sugar. Doesn’t sound like much, but this summer refresher, first documented in Egyptian writings around 1,500 years ago, turns kids into happy angels and adults into happy kids. If you can ignore the five spoons of sugar in your glass, it can even be considered healthy: it’s been said to aid digestion, relieve heartburn and control diarrhea and constipation.
16. Anything From A Hotel Mini-bar, Global
The irresistible temptation of drinking without paying. At least immediately.Courtesy rick/Creative Commons/flickrIt’s one in the morning and you’re dying for some bottled water. Or apple juice. Or a beer. Whatever it is, when you’re willing to shell out $8 for a lousy drink in an undersized can, it damn well better be one of the most satisfying chugs you’ve ever had.
15. Sake, Japan
Nothing beats freshly made sake at a Japanese brewery.Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty ImagesIf you fancy a laugh, watch the look on a diner’s face when they see a first-time sake drinker “shoot” a small cup of sake. Served chilled, hot or room temperature, depending on your mood or meal, sake is stronger than wine and weaker than vodka. No matter the temperature though, sake has a cool dry flavor, and like wine, flavor accents vary with quality and type.
14. Pastis, France
A glass of pastis symbolizes French chic.MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/AFP/Getty ImagesAlthough not as exciting, or as hallucinogenic, as its reckless cousin, absinthe, which in its true form is banned from civilization, the potent licorice-like pastis has just the right dash of floral and herbal qualities to make it a signature French drink. Served with chilled spring water at a strict ratio of five-to-one, pastis tastes like mellowed liquor with an appetizing anise flavor.
13. Kool-Aid, United States
Colorful and fun — kids can’t resist.Courtesy Smabs Sputzer/Creative Commons/FlickrKool-Aid revolutionized powder mix drinks and sets the benchmark for kids in North America regarding the taste of flavored water. Its mascot, a jug, has perhaps the world’s worst slogan: “Oh yeah!” Luckily the drink tastes better.Related contentWorld’s 50 best beach bars
12. Watermelon cucumber punch, Global
Take two of the world’s most refreshing fruits, throw them into a blender, add lime juice and syrup and you have the makings of what, on a sweltering day in the sun, can taste like a life-saving beverage.
11. Sangria, Spanish
The perfect Spanish cocktail.Cooper Neill/Getty Images North America/Getty Images for Ralph LaurenSo your parents-in-law pay you a surprise visit, and all you’ve got in the cupboard is a cheap bottle of red and some half-rotten fruits. Not to worry. The Spanish came up with sangria, a sweet, carbonated wine punch that has entertained guests from all nations. Splash some brandy over it to bring out that spicy kick.
10. Hot Chocolate With Marshmallows, United States
Cosy up with hot chocolate and marshmallows.Courtesy Selena N.B.H./Creative Commons/FlickrIf pina colada equals tropical beaches, then hot chocolate with marshmallows equals extra-thick mitten socks and couch loafing inside ski resorts. This drink is your only legitimate excuse to stay indoors when in the Alps. The rich and aromatic hot chocolate also makes gloomy winter mornings worth looking forward to.
9. Gin And Tonic, England
The iconic British mixer.Courtesy Danielle Scott/Creative Commons/FlickrTrust the Brits to make a medicine (the quinine in tonic water was used by the British East India Company to prevent malaria) more palatable by throwing in some booze. Still, we’re glad they did, as the clink-clink, glug-glug, fizzzz of a gin and tonic being poured is about as perfect an introduction to a balmy evening as it’s possible to find.
8. Red Wine, Global
One of the best ways to ingest your fruit quota each day.David Silverman/Getty Images Europe/Getty ImagesWhat sound does a fermented grape make? None, it just lets out a little wine. And thank God for that. Or rather, thank the Georgians. The region in what is now known as Eurasia is credited with the first wine production 8,000 years ago. Thanks to them we now have such enjoyable pairings as beef and Merlot, tuna and Pinot Noir.Related contentWhich country has the best food?
7. Orange Juice, United States
The drink that made “with bits” a desirable quality.Courtesy Yuri Samoilov/Creative Commons/FlickrO.J. earns a spot on our list just for reminding us of our childhoods. The refreshing, tangy, wholesome drink, first mass-produced and distributed in the United States around 1915, has always reigned king over its try-hard cousins, apple, watermelon, pineapple and tomato.
6. Air Mata Kucing, Malaysia
Malaysians have figured out the golden formula for making a delicious drink — make it sweet, cold and toss in some tropical fruits. Air mata kucing, or longan drink, is exactly that. Sweetened by rock sugar and dried longan, it also comes with winter melon and a cheap price tag.
5. Tea, Global
Best served with scones and jam.Christopher Furlong/Getty Images Europe/Getty ImagesIn Tibet the butter version keeps cold bodies warm and lips chap-free. In India it provides a sugary boost and a break from street chaos. In Japan it’s consumed in an elaborate ritual. In the UK it’s accorded magic potion status. Nothing seems quite so bad when you hear the words, “What you need is a nice cup of tea.” There’s no arguing with the world’s second-most widely consumed drink (after water).
4. Beer, Global
How could we live without beer?Christopher Furlong/Getty Images Europe/Getty ImagesSure, the wheel was a great invention; so too the computer chip. But they don’t go nearly as well with pizza. Whichever trooper first had the courage to drink steeped and fermented barley had to be a bit of a loose cannon, but thanks to him or her we now have such luminary beverages as Kronenbourg 1664, Weihenstephaner Vitus (winner of World’s Best Beer) and the unforgettable Santa’s Butt Porter, all of which are, as Homer Simpson puts it, “the cause of and solution to all life’s problems!”
3. Coffee, Ethiopia
The first defense and final attack against the evil of the morning after.Joe Raedle/Getty Images North America/Getty ImagesThere’s a reason coffee, said to have been discovered in Ethiopia, is one of the world’s most traded commodities — Monday mornings happen to all of us. This little green bean arguably deserves more than one entry in this list, but for all the various modes of ingestion — latte, cappuccino, mocha, American — you only need to know one thing to start your day off well — there’s more where it came from.
2. Coca-Cola, United States
Coke it is!George Frey/Getty Images North America/Getty ImagesInvented by a pharmacist as a remedy to headaches in 1886, the world’s most popular carbonated soft drink is like the American dream in a can — from nothing, 85 eight-ounce cans of Coke were consumed globally per capita in 2008 — more than any other soda. The drink has gone through various manifestations, including Diet, Cherry, Lemon and Zero, but it’s the original, with a brain-freezing, nasal-passage-penetrating kick that keeps ’em coming back for more.
1. Water, Global
It’s great for washing cars, and when it falls from the sky it’s a perfect excuse to stay home and watch a war movie. But as the base of every other drink on this list, of every food in the world and indeed of all life, nothing beats a glass of pure, unsullied water for its thirst-quenching, revitalizing, life-giving properties. Especially when it comes in a shapely glass bottle with a fancy label and hefty price tag. The best part, you can make it even better on a hot day by just adding more water, frozen.