Tastes of travels: craft your own cocktails
Whether adventuring abroad or spending another day at home, one thing stays the same: there’s no better way to end the day than with a cocktail. Every country has its national drink, every hotel offers its own twist on that drink, and every bartender will tell you their own story about it.
Until you’re actually sipping Aperol on the coast of Amalfi or Pisco Sour under the Peruvian sun, here are 8 recipes for cocktails from around the world. Be your own bartender and bring the taste of travels into your home right now.
This concoction of lime, mint and rum serves as the ultimate thirst quencher in the Havana heat. Classic Journeys Cuba guests know that the bar at Hotel Nacional is considered the cradle of this cocktail. A Cuban institution (also a National Monument and World Heritage Site) it has a glamorous reputation, counting Sinatra, Hemingway and Churchill among its past patrons. If you’re not sipping your mojito by the Malecón, you can make your own:
1 teaspoon of white sugar
1 cup of soda water
1 lime, cut into wedges
5 leaves of fresh mint
1 cup crushed ice
Half cup of white rum
Put the sugar into the bottom of a glass
Squeeze the juice of a lime wedge in, then add the wedge
Rub 3 mint leaves across the rim of the glass, then tear and drop in.
Mash the mixture together
Add half of the ice, rum then soda
Add the rest of the ice
Garnish with lime wedges and mint leaves
Toast with ‘salud, porque la belleza sobra’ (to your health, the beauty overflows)
Charles from the Old Coastguard Hotel in Cornwall tells us “it’s an unspoken rule: British summertime hasn’t begun until the first Pimm’s has been poured.” And Mitchell, barman at the Bay Tree in the Cotswalds, agrees “Second to tea, the Pimm’s No.1 cup (made from a gin-based liquor) is the most English drink you can sip.”
Enjoyed in gardens all over England, it’s a staple ‘tipple’ of Wimbledon tennis season, when fans are known to consume over 330,000 glasses of the stuff… Wimbledon may not be on, but you can definitely declare Pimm’s O’Clock and put together this very British punch.
1 part Pimm’s No.1
3 part Lemonade
Mix everything together in a jug or bowl, then serve in glasses.
Toast with a ‘cheers’ or ‘bottoms up.’
Une boisson belle for balmy nights on the French Riviera, the seriously sophisticated Sidecar was invented in Cannes’ Carlton Hotel in the early twenties. Until you can sit and sip in the south of France, here’s how to make your own.
3 parts Cognac
2 parts Cointreau
1 part lemon juice
1 part white sugar
1 cup ice
1 wedge lemon
Twist of orange peel
Rub the lemon wedge around the rim of your glass.
Dip the glass in sugar.
Shake Cognac, Cointreau, juice and ice.
Strain into the glass.
Serve with orange peel for garnish.
Toast with ‘À votre santé’ (To your health)
Peru: Pisco Sour
Our friend and local guide in Peru, Marisol, will tell you that the Pisco Sour was invented in 1920’s in Lima as a local twist on the traditional whisky sour. Tour leader Andres in Chile makes a compelling case that his country created the cocktail. It’s been a cause of great debate between the nations for generations. Chile may have a place called Pisco, but Peru is so devoted to the drink that it has its own national holiday. Whichever country your Pisco (a kind of brandy) comes from, the cool and frothy cocktail is utterly delicious and you don’t have to wait until the first Saturday in February (Peru’s National Pisco Sour Day) to taste it. Here’s Marisol’s recipe:
2 parts pisco
1 part key lime juice
1 part simple syrup (made with equal parts sugar and water)
1 egg white
3 parts ice
2 dashes of Angostura bitters/cinnamon
Mix everything into a cocktail shaker or blender.
Shake / blend.
Strain into a glass, sprinkle the bitters/cinnamon onto the foam.
Toast with a ‘Salud’
Italy: Aperol Spritz
The spritz tradition dates to northern Italy in the 1800’s, and when the Barbieri brothers created Aperol a century later, a star was born. The exact ingredients that make Aperol so amazing remain top secret but the recipe for Aperol Spritz calls for only three ingredients. While the views of Positano from Villa Franca’s rooftop pool bar are incomparable as is the hospitality of our friend Alessandro at the Grand Hotel Miramare in Santa Margharita Ligure, you can assemble — and enjoy — an Aperol Spritz a casa tua. And here’s Classic Journeys cofounder, Susie Piegza, to show you how to make your own.
1 part Aperol
1 part prosecco/champagne
Sparkling water (optional)
Put ice in your glass
Pour in the Aperol, then champagne, then soda to taste
Toast with ‘Salute’ (to your health) or ‘cin cin’
Colombia: Coco Loco
Colombian cheer in a [coco]nutshell: Meaning ‘crazy coconut,’ anyone with a sweet tooth on a hot day in Colombia will go wild for this creamy cocktail. Five seconds on a Colombian beach and you’ll likely meet a vendor who’ll mix one of these together, then pour it in a freshly-halved coconut shell. Though it tastes extra good with Caribbean sand between your toes, it’s still delicious in your own home.
1 part rum/vodka/tequila (your preference or a mix of all three)
1 part coconut cream
1 part coconut water
1 part pineapple juice
1 lemon/lime, juiced
Freshly grated nutmeg
Shake/blend together coconut cream, juices and ice.
Pour into the glass and garnish with nutmeg.
Toast with ‘Salud y amor y tiempo para disfrutarlo’ (to health, love and time to enjoy it)
Hawaii: Mai Tai
Sinfully strong and heavenly sweet, Mai Tai is the signature drink of the Hawaiian Islands and—legend has it—depleted the world’s rum supplies in the 40’s and 50’s. The name of this smoky, fruity, colorful rum punch comes from the exclamation ‘Maita’i roa a’e,’ which means ‘out of this world, the best!’ When you’re not sipping and watching the surfers on Hapuna beach, you can bring tiki culture to your home with this Royal Hawaiian Mai Tai recipe.
0.5 part Curaçao
1 part dark rum
1 part gold rum
3 parts pineapple & orange juice
Dash lime juice
Shake all ingredients with ice.
Add ice cubes into glass and strain cocktail over it.
Toast with a ‘Hau’Oli Maoli Oe’ (happiness towards you)
Costa Rica: Margarita
“The margarita may have Mexican roots but Ticos make it best!”, says our local Costa Rica guide, Kenneth. “Usually we would host a how-to-make-it class at the Parador Resort near Manuel Antonio Park, but this is an easy recipe I use to make one at home”:
1 part lime juice
2 parts water
2 parts tequila
1 part triple sec
1 teaspoon sugar
1 lime wedge
3 tablespoons of salt
Pour the salt onto a plate.
Rub the lime wedge around the rim of your glass and dip into the salt.
Mix the lime juice and sugar
Shake with water, tequila, triple sec and ice
Pour into a margarita glass.
Toast with a ‘pura vida!’
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