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Cocktails from Around the World: Caribbean
Mexico Cocktail: Paloma
When you think of Mexican cocktails, I’m sure the first thought to come to mind is a margarita. And while we love all a frozen marg from time to time, have you tried its light and refreshing cousin, the Paloma?
Favored over margaritas by most locals, Palomas are made with fresh grapefruit juice, lime, and agave. The final result is super refreshing and a little tart, making it perfect for sipping in hot weather.
Cuba Cocktail: Mojito
While the exact origins of the mojito are hotly debated, many believe the recipe originated with indigenous tribes in Cuba. The combination of sugarcane, lime, mint, and rum helped ease seasickness for sailors and was believed to have risen in popularity around the world after Sir Francis Drake and his crew were sent to invade the Spanish colonies in the 1500s. They returned with the recipe that helped treat scurvy and tasted delicious, besides.
Puerto Rico Cocktail: Piña Colada
This fruity cocktail was first created by a bartender at the Caribe Hilton hotel in San Juan in 1954, and by 1978 it had become the official drink of Puerto Rico.
Pina Coladas are the perfect way to transport yourself to an island paradise: they’re the perfect combination of fruity tartness and creamy goodness, all topped off with a healthy dose of rum.
Check out this classic Pina Colada recipe from liqour.com. And don’t forget the fun Pina Colada glasses!
Bermuda Cocktail: Dark N Stormy
A rather ironic name for the national beverage of a historically sunny and bright tropical island, the dark’n’stormy is not one to miss regardless.
First made in the 1860’s, this cocktail put to use two popular products from the Gosling family’s beverage company: black seal rum and local ginger beer. Lime wedge optional!
Here’s a popular Dark N Stormy recipe to try at home! My favorite ginger beers are Bundaberg (from my time in Australia), Reed’s, and Fever-Tree.
Cocktails from Around the World: Europe
UK Cocktail: Pimms No. 1 Cup
Transport yourself across the pond with a Pimm’s Cup! This bubbly British beverage was invented in the mid-1800’s by James Pimm, the owner of a London oyster bar. It was believed to aid digestion because of the addition of ginger and local herbs.
France Cocktail: Kir Royale
The Kir Royale is a celebratory twist on the classic French cocktail, the Kir. The Kir was named after Canon Felix Kir, a priest and mayor of the town of Dijon, who combined local white wine with blackcurrant liqueur for a beverage that was both hearty and light.
Tip: The Kir Royale is even more refreshing, replacing the white wine with champagne!
Follow this Kir Royale recipe from inspiredtaste.net. And if you need champagne flutes, these are gorgeous!
Italy Cocktail: Negroni
This Italian cocktail was first created in 1919 in Florence. Legend has it that it’s named after Count Camillo Negroni, who one day asked his bartending buddy to put a twist on his favorite cocktail—the Americano—by replacing the light soda water with something a little harder: gin.
Comprised of orange juice, Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth, the Negroni is great for slow sipping anywhere, from outdoor cafes in Florence to on your back porch.
Spain Cocktail: Sangria
If you want a travel-inspired cocktail fit for serving everyone at brunch or happy hour, you’ll want to go with a pitcher of sangria. There are many iterations of this popular Iberian beverage, but most recipes involve some combination of red wine, fresh fruit, and maybe sweetener or even a little fruit liqueur to boost the alcohol content. If you want to deviate from tradition, you can also make sangria from a white wine base.
Fun fact: by European law, all bottled sangria sold in the EU must be made in either Spain or Portugal.
Follow this recipe to make the classic Spanish Sangria! Need a pitcher? Check out these from Amazon:
Belgium Cocktail: Black Russian
I know you’ve probably heard of a white Russian, but what about a black Russian? Many believe that the black Russian actually preceded the white Russian, and is still widely enjoyed across Belgium.
First created in the city of Brussels by bartender Gustave Tops in 1949, the black Russian is a simple concoction made from Russian vodka and Kahlua. It wasn’t until a few years later that some folks started adding cream to make the famous white Russian.
Cocktails from Around the World: Asia
Singapore Cocktail: Singapore Sling
The infamous Singapore Sling was first invented at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore in 1915. At the time, it was considered improper for women to drink in public in Singapore, so they would often just drink fruit juices at bars.
That all changed when bartender Ngiam Tong Boon realized that he could mix up pineapple juice and cherry liqueur with gin to create a heady cocktail that looked like an innocent fruit juice—and thus, the Singapore Sling was born.
Thailand Cocktail: Siam Sunray
In 2009, award-winning bartender Surasakdi Pantaisong created the Siam Sunray and it became the signature cocktail of Thailand! It uses some of the same elements that go into making Thailand’s most infamous soups, Tom Yum, so it has a sweet and spicy flavor.
Japan Cocktail: Tamagozake (Egg Sake)
Tamagozake is a sweet and creamy cocktail made from heated sake, egg yolks, and sugar. Believe it or not, it is commonly used as a cold remedy in Japan!
Cocktails from Around the World: South America
Brazil Cocktail: Caipirinha
As the national drink of Brazil, the caipirinha has disputed roots. Some believe it rose in popularity as a remedy for the Spanish flu outbreak in Brazil, while others insist it was first enjoyed by farmers in Sao Paulo at high-class events like weddings and national holidays.
Regardless of how the caipirinha first came to be, the combination of a sugarcane-based spirit with lime has made it a favorite all around the world!
Peru Cocktail: Pisco Sour
Depending on who you talk to, they may tell you this drink either originates in Peru or Chile. Regardless of where it comes from, this lime-based cocktail is not one you’ll soon forget.
Made with pisco, a Latin American brandy mostly made in (you guessed it) Peru and Chile, a pisco sour also includes egg white and bitters for a light body and balanced flavor.
Argentina Cocktail: Fernet & Coke
This beloved Argentina cocktail is probably the easiest to make on this list, just mix Fernet-Branca and Coca-Cola! It first became popular in the town of Cordoba, and now Argentinians consume more than 75% of all Fernet-Branca produced worldwide!
The recipe is simple: mix 1 part Fernet-Branca with 2 parts Coca-Cola!
Cocktails from Around the World: USA + Canada
Canada Cocktail: Caesar
Originating in Calgary and primarily only consumed in Canada, the Caesar cocktail is similar to a Bloody Mary but uses Clamato Juice instead.
New York Cocktail: Manhattan
The Manhattan was first created in the Manhattan Club in New York City back in the 1880s. This is one of my personal favorite whiskey cocktails to make!
New Orleans Cocktail: Sazerac
Named for the Sazerac de Forge et Fils brand of cognac brandy, the Sazerac originated in New Orleans and is the official drink of the city! It combines cognac, absinthe, sugar, and bitters.
Kentucky: Mint Julep
The Mint Julep originated in the South and is especially associated with the Kentucky Derby, and has been since 1938. In fact, each year almost 120,000 Mint Juleps are served at Churchill Downs over the two-day Kentucky Derby event!
For the best recipe, you have to go straight to the source: The Kentucky Derby’s Classic Mint Julep.
Hawaii: Mai Tai
While it may not have originated in Hawaii, the Mai Tai is usually one of the first drinks to come to mind when you think “Hawaiian Cocktail.” The blend of sweet, citrus, and rum is perfect for the beach!
For even more recipes, check out this cocktail book: Around the World in 80 Cocktails! Am I missing one of your favorites? Let me know in the comments below or send me a DM on Instagram! Cheers!
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