Insights

Spotlight on Cocktails From Around the World

With the craft cocktail movement ever growing, we selected some of our favorite international drinks to enjoy on vacation and at home.

Escape Plan in full swing, we selected some of our favorite international drinks to enjoy on vacation and at home.

Peru—Pisco Sour
This tangy drink is claimed by both Peru and Chile as its national cocktail. Made with pisco, Peruvian distilled grape brandy, the Pisco sour also includes fresh lime juice, simple syrup, an egg white, and a few drops of bitters. All the ingredients are vigorously shaken in an ice-cold cocktail shaker, with the exception of the bitters, which is added right before serving. Although Pisco isn’t as widely available as most other spirits, it can be found in many liquor stores and online. The addition of egg white adds a creamy texture to this sweet and sour beverage, which originated in Lima, Peru sometime between 1900 and 1920. Find a recipe here.

Brazil—Caipirinha
Pronounced ky-pee-reen-ya, Brazil’s signature cocktail is just three ingredients: lime, sugar, and cachaça, raw sugar cane liqueur. The resulting drink is refreshing and tangy, and insanely easy to make. If you can’t find cachaça, for some reason, replace it with vodka, for the equally bracing caipiroska. Originally thought of as a poor man’s drink, thanks to cachaça’s high alcohol content and crude flavor, Caipirinhas are now a proud part of Brazilian food and drink culture, and available widely. Find David Wondrich’s recipe here.

Mexico—Margarita
There’s much more to this tequila cocktail than syrupy sour mix and whipped ice chips. In its purest form, the Margarita is a bracing combination of tequila, lime juice, and Cointreau or Triple sec—all served ice cold in a salt-rimmed glass. As with many cocktails, there’s a haziness about the Margarita’s origins, which may have roots in Tijuana, Mexico. Legend has it that Carlos “Danny” Herrera invented the drink at his restaurant Rancho La Gloria in the late 1930, for a guest who was allergic to all alcohol except tequila. To soften the liquor’s harsh taste, he added salt and lime, two important ingredients in the now ubiquitous drink. Since then, the Margarita has become a hugely popular drink, found in flavors such as mango and strawberry, and served up, on the rocks, or blended into a boozy slushy. Find Chef Elana’s healthy-ish version here.

Spain—Sangria
Fruity, boozy, and just a bit sweet, Sangria is a popular wine-based drink originally from Spain, and now served just about everywhere. Fruit (usually apples and oranges) are muddled with sugar, then combined with brandy, red wine, and sometimes fruit juice. Lots of ice is poured into the drink, which is garnished with heaps of chopped, fresh fruit. Though sangria can be prepared with white wine, we’re particularly partial to the original red version. Find a simple recipe here.

Cuba—Mojito
Although Cuba only just opened its doors to the U.S., Americans have been enjoying the herbaceous, rum-based Mojito for quite a while. According to Food & Wine, the oldest known Mojito recipe was from the 1929 Libro de Cocktail (The Cocktail Book), where it was known as a “Mojo de Ron.” The super-fresh drink, which mixes fragrant mint leaves, white rum, lime juice, simple syrup, and a slug of cold club soda is perfect for cooling down in Cuba’s tropical climate, or making at home in the summer time. Check out Food & Wine‘s recipe here.

Italy—Negroni
According to a 2015 book on the sultry summertime cocktail, the Negroni can be traced back to a Florentine bar in 1919. Count Camillo Negroni, a former Wild West rodeo clown, requested a stiffer version of the Americano cocktail, (Campari, sweet vermouth and club soda.) The bartender complied, adding gin to the mix, and thus the now-popular Negroni was born. For a twist on the classic, try the Negroni Sbagliato, which means “incorrect Negroni,” and sub in Prosecco for the gin. Check out Bon Appetit‘s recipe here.

France—French 75
Served into a tall Collins glass, the refreshing, sparkly, and tangy French 75 was named after the 75-millimeter M1897 gun, used by the French artillery in World War I. Gin, sugar, lemon juice, and brut Champagne come together for a drink that feels light and celebratory while packing a serious booze punch. The Champagne keeps it classy, while the gin makes it fun. Find David Wondrich’s recipe on Esquire

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