Is it possible to travel without ever leaving your home? Is it possible to capture the feeling of being on the streets of Rio De Janeiro, a sidewalk cafe in Venice or dancing in Old Havana? The answer is yes you can!
Many countries around the world have created delicious cocktails that instantly transport you back to a time when you visited that country or to imagine what it would be like to do so. If you are at home, dreaming of London, New York or Singapore or travelling to an exotic island – why not head to your drinks cupboard, pull out the cocktail shaker and start making the drinks of your favourite place.
We have rounded up 16 of our favourite cocktails from around the world with the recipes to mix these up at home.
Cocktail Making Checklist
First things first, make sure you have all the tools and equipment to create your cocktails. For most of these drinks, you just need the ingredients and a glass and don’t even need a cocktail shaker. But where’s the fun in that?
Make your home cocktail hour more special by investing in a cocktail shaker set, a variety of cocktail glasses and if you want to go all out then you could even get a drinks cart! Here are some of my favourite things that make cocktail making even more fun.
I am from England so of course, this list must begin with a favourite of mine – Pimms. If I were to describe summertime in London it would be people sprawled out of pubs on a Sunday afternoon with glasses of Pimms in hand. Every weekend during July and August living in Notting Hill we would wander round to our favourite pub The Westbourne and enjoy a few jugs of pimms with friends – making this drink at home instantly reminds me of those days.
If you want to travel to London from the comfort of your home then start with this famous summertime drink which can also be served as a warm winter drink if its cold where you are.
- 200ml Pimm’s No. 1
- 600ml lemonade
Pimms is super simple to make, mix the Pimms and lemonade in a large clear jug. Then add in mint sprigs, sliced cucumber, sliced orange and strawberries – and voila summer in a glass!
Glass: Classic highball glass
Kir Royale (France)
A Kir Royale is a classic French cocktail that is super simple to make. Just two ingredients and a champagne flute are needed. The cocktail is made up of crème de cassis topped with champagne. If champagne is out of your budget you can replace it with prosecco or cava for a similar taste.
- 3 oz (9 parts) Champagne
- 1/3 oz (1 part) Crème de cassis
Pour in the Crème de cassis first, then top with champagne. Simple!
Glass: Champagne Flute
Aperol Spritz (Venice, Italy)
Aperol Spritz has been the drink of choice for Italians for years, but its popularity across Europe and the world has grown recently and you can’t walk past a bar without seeing some patrons with this orange drink in hand. The spritz dates back to the 1800’s when it was introduced in Venice and at the time was wine mixed with water to reduce the alcohol content, since then variations of the drink have been created and now the spitz comes with Aperol – hence the name.
This is another simple drink to prepare requiring only three ingredients, Prosecco, Aperol and a splash of soda water. Aperol apéritif has a distinctive orange colour and is made of gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona, among other ingredients – its refreshing and delicious whether enjoyed on a summers day or atop a ski resort!
- 2 oz Prosecco
- 1 1/4 oz Aperol (you can also use Campari, Cynar or in Venice Aperitivo Select)
- Splash of Soda water (club soda or sparkling water)
Use a large wine glass, add ice and pour over the ingredients. Give it a stir and you are ready to taste Italy in a glass!
Glass: Wine Glass or Amaro Spritz glass
Pina Colada (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
This drink is so popular there is even a song with it in…. (!) The piña colada originated in San Juan, Puerto Rico and is a very tropical sweet cocktail made with rum, cream of coconut or coconut milk, and pineapple juice.
The drink is a perfect choice when on vacation, but it can be enjoyed at home to give you that holiday feeling- the smell of coconut instantly transporting you back to your favourite beach vacation! A piña colada is usually served blended or shaken with ice and to decorate you can add a slice of pineapple to the glass or a maraschino cherry.
- 1 oz (one part) White rum
- 3 oz (3 parts) Pineapple juice
- 1 oz (one part) Coconut cream
Mix the ingredients with crushed ice until smooth, ideally, you should use a blender to do this.
Glass: Poco Grande glass
Frozen Daiquiri (Cuba)
One of my favourite drinks when on vacation and a fun one to make at home on a warm day. My favourite flavour is a frozen lime daiquiri, but this drink can be flavoured with a variety of different fruits. The cocktails main alcohol is rum blended with ice, lime and fruits to make a refreshing drink icy beverage that is easy to drink.
The name comes from Daiquirí which is the name of a beach and an iron mine near Santiago de Cuba. The drink itself was originally made by an American mining engineer who was in Cuba during the Spanish American war, the drink is said to have then been introduced back in New York by a congressman that bought those mines. Still popular in Cuba, this drink will have you feeling like you are old Havana in no time!
- 1 1/2 oz White rum
- 1/2 oz Simple syrup
- 1 oz Lime juice
- Optional: Add different pureed fruits such as strawberry, mango or pineapple for an alternative flavour
Use a blender to combine the rum, syrup and lime juice. If you are adding fruit, then first blend the fruit and sieve this to remove any seeds then add the other ingredients.
Dark and Stormy (Bermuda)
“Dark ’n’ Stormy” has been a registered trademark of Gosling Brothers Ltd of Bermuda since 1991, and as such cocktails cannot be sold using the same or a confusing name unless it is made with Gosling Black Seal rum. However, as long as you are not planning on selling your cocktails you can make yours with any rum you have in your drinks cabinet!
The Goslings claim that this highball cocktail was invented in Bermuda just after World War I, so grab a glass, start mixing and imagine yourself on the white sands of the island.
- 2 oz Dark Rum
- 3 1/3 oz Ginger Beer
- Couple dashes of bitters
Fill a highball glass with ice, add in the dark rum and top this with ginger beer and few dashes of bitters, stir with a bar spoon. You can garnish the glass with a lime wedge.
Glass: Highball Glass
Mojito (Havana, Cuba)
The Mojito is a classic highball cocktail served in pretty much any bar you visit. The cockatil originates from Cuba and a traditional mojito is made up of five ingredients: white rum, sugar, lime juice, soda water, and mint. The cocktail is popular because of the blend of sweet, citrus, and mint flavors that complements the rum.
If you fancy something sweet and refreshing then get mixing!
- 1 1/2 oz White Rum
- 6 Leaves of Mint
- Soda Water
- 1 oz Fresh lime juice
- 2 Teaspoons Sugar
Preparation: Muddle the lime juice, sugar and mint leaves together in a small jug making sure to crushing the mint. You can use a pestle or a rolling pin for this if you do not have a cocktail making set. Pour into a tall highball glass and add a handful of ice, then pour over rum, top with soda water and use some extra mint leaves to garnish.
Glass: Highball Glass
Sangria is a popular Spanish drink that can be made with red or white wine, or even prosecco if you want to enjoy a sparkling sangria. This drink is the perfect summertime cocktail that will transport you to the beachside restaurants in Spain.
Typically you would make up a full jug of sangria, rather than a single glass and you would enjoy this with friends. But you can make up a batch and enjoy a glass or two before refrigerating the rest.
- 3 parts Wine – red or white depending on your preference. Or you can use prosecco which is my favourite option.
- 1 part orange juice
- 2 parts lemonade
- Fresh mint
- Sliced fruit such as oranges and lemons
Preparation: Use a large jug to mix all the ingredients together with ice. Taste the mixture and add more wine, orange juice or lemonade to achieve the desired taste or strength that you are looking for. Add some sprigs of mint to the top of the jug as a garnish and serve in a tall glass or wine glass.
Bloody Mary (England)
Originating in England and well known as a great hangover cure this is a popular drink worldwide after a big night out! The Bloody Mary is made up of vodka, tomato juice, and other flavorings including Worcestershire sauce, and other hot sauces.
Often drank in the morning, but you can also enjoy this drink late afternoon or evening if you want a spicy and delicious drink.
- 1 1/2 oz(3 parts)Vodka
- 1/2 oz(1 part) Lemon juice
- 3 oz(6 parts) Tomato juice
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Salt and pepper
Preparation: Take a highball glass, first add a dash of the Worcestershire Sauce, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Add in the vodka, lemon and tomato juice and stir gently with ice. To garnish add a celery stalk, lemon wedge and even chilli!
Glass: Highball Glass
Black Russian (Brussels)
This cocktail was first seen in 1949 and is ascribed to Gustave Tops, a Belgian barman. The cocktail was first made by Gustav at the Hotel Metropole in Brussels in honor of a visiting American ambassador. A rich cocktail made up of vodka and coffee liqueur, the drink owes its name to the vodka which is a traditional Russian drink and the colour from the coffee.
I personally enjoy drinks like this curled up in a cosy spot in the house, or on a cool winters evening.
- 1 2/3 oz (5 parts) Vodka
- 2/3 oz (2 parts) Coffee liqueur
Preparation: Simply take an old fashioned glass, add ice and pour over the vodka. Then add the coffee liqueur and gently stir.
Glass: Old Fashioned Glass
Singapore Sling (Singapore)
You cannot visit Singapore without experiencing the famous Singapore Sling cocktail that first appeared before 1915 at the Raffles Hotel, but you can also enjoy this cocktail from the comfort of your own home! Initially named the gin sling it was created at the Long Bar by Ngiam Tong Boon and has a base of gin, blended with Cointreau and a variety of other sweet ingredients.
I first had this drink in Singapore in 2003, on a backpackers budget the $14 it cost seemed high but its a must-do so we sat back and enjoyed this delicious cocktail. The drink will now set you back around $30+ if you go to Raffles, so best for the wallet to make it yourself at home!
- 1 oz Gin
- 1/4 oz Cointreau
- 1/2 oz Heering cherry liqueur (cherry brandy)
- 4 oz (16 parts) Pineapple juice
- 1/2 oz Fresh lime juice
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 1/3 oz (2 parts) Grenadine
Preparation: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. Shake well the mixture well to blend everything together. Use the cocktail strainer to pour into a highball glass. Use some pineapple or a cocktail cherry as a garnish.
It is said that the classic margarita originated in 1938 at a restaurant Rancho La Gloria, halfway between Tijuana and Rosarito, Baja California Mexico. The margarita was thought to have been invented by Carlos “Danny” Herrera when a customer who was allergic to many spirits except tequila came in and he mixed this drink up for her.
Today the margarita is served everywhere and is a popular choice in America, so popular that it is the drink of choice on every Taco Tuesday!
- 2 oz Tequila
- 1 oz Lime Juice
- 1 oz Cointreau
- Salt to garnish the glass
Preparation: Take a cocktail glass and rub the rim with a lime slice. Pour some salt onto a plate then turn the glass over into the salt. Shake the tequila, lime juice and Cointreau together with ice in a cocktail shaker, then pour the content into the glass carefully avoiding the salt on the rim. Garnish with a slice of lime.
Glass: Margarita glass or a classic tumbler, or cocktail glass.
Cosmopolitan (New York City)
Fancy yourself as the next Carrie or Miranda? The cosmopolitan was famous before Sex and The City, but the series and movie made this very New York drink even more desirable. Sometimes known as a cosmo this cocktail is a blend of vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, and freshly squeezed lime juice served in a martini glass.
So switch on Sex and The City and sip on this very cosmopolitan cocktail!
- 1 1/2 oz Vodka Citron
- 1/2 oz Cointreau
- 1/2 oz Fresh lime juice
- 1 oz Cranberry juice
Preparation: Simply add all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and use a strainer to pour into a large glass, pour the mixture back into the shaker and then strain a second time. Add a slice of lime as a garnish on the glass.
Glass: Martini glass
Pisco sour (Peru)
A pisco sour is of Peruvian origin and is found throughout Peru, Chile and many other South American countries. I enjoyed my first in Medellin, Colombia and have never looked back. A cocktail made with egg whites might not sound that appealing but I can assure you that it is delicious! The name comes from the main alcohol Pisco, which is blended with egg white and lemon juice which gives it that sour taste.
- 1 oz Lemon Juice
- 1 Egg White
- 1 1/2 oz Pisco
- 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
Place all the ingredients inside a cocktail shaker, vigorously shake the mixture. Add in some ice cubes and then strain into a glass and garnish the cocktail with bitters.
Glass: Classic cocktail glass
According to history, the caipirinha was invented by landowning farmers in the Piracicaba region, in the State of São Paulo Brazil during the 19th century. The drink was served at high-end parties and events, but these days no matter where you turn in Brazil you will likely find a cart serving Caipirinha.
In Rio de Janeiro, you can even go to Lapa for a street party where you will dance the night away sipping on this sugary cocktail, make your own party at home by mixing up this sweet drink and enjoying it with some Brazilian music in the background.
- 1 2/3 oz Cachaça
- 2 Teaspoons Brown Sugar
- Half a lime cut into 4 wedges
Find an old fashioned tall glass and place the sugar and lime together, mash these with a middler or spoon. Then add crushed ice and finally pour over the Cachaça.
Glass: Tall Glass
Sazerac (New Orleans)
A local New Orleans variation of a whiskey cocktail. It is named the Sazerac, as it uses the Sazerac de Forge et Fils brand of cognac brandy as the main ingredient. If you want to travel to New Orleans, experience the music and history of this city sit back and sip on this classic drink and perhaps throw on some jazz to really capture the New Orleans mood.
- 1/4 oz Absinthe
- One Sugar Cube
- 1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey or Cognac (Sazerac de Forge et Fils)
- Three dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
Best served in a chilled old fashioned style heavy glass. Take the absinthe and add in crushed ice and set aside. Then take all the other ingredients and stir these over ice in another glass. Then remove the ice from the first prepared glass you set aside and strain second glass with the other ingredients over. Add a slide of lemon peel to garnish the glass.
Glass: Old Fashioned Glass
We hope that this article has helped discover some cocktails to shake to make you feel like you are on vacation. Please share your favourites in the comments below.
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