Discovering (and tasting) the local food and drinks of a destination is one of the great joys of travel, and these cocktail recipes allow you to travel the world via booze. From Brazil’s caipirinha to New Orleans’ Sazerac, these drinks will transport you around the world, with just a shake or a stir.
Bellini (Venice, Italy)
Be instantly transported to Italy with a Bellini, a mixture of peach puree and Prosecco that's a brunch mainstay. Originally invented in 1948 at Harry’s Bar in Venice by founder Giuseppe Cipriani, the Bellini utilizes two of the region's best products: its fresh summer white peaches and famous sparkling wine. Thanks to Cipriani’s international regulars like Truman Capote, Ernest Hemingway, and Humphrey Bogart, the bubbly cocktail quickly spread to New York, Paris, and beyond—including your own living room. Find the recipe here.
Mojitos became popular in Cuba as a way to make rum more palatable. At the time (the 19th century) the rum being produced from sugarcane in Cuba was not very tasty, so locals started mixing it with sugar, mint, and lime juice. During Prohibition, when Havana became a favorite destination of Americans, the cocktail came into its own, with the addition of sparkling water and a lot of ice. Today the mojito remains one of the most popular cocktails in Cuba and beyond, and is endlessly customizable with various fruits and flavors. It’s easy to make at home, as long as you have a muddler.
Pimm's Cup (London, England)
In the 1840s, creator of the Pimm’s Cup, James Pimm, originally marketed the exceedingly refreshing drink in London as a healthy digestive to complement the fresh oysters he also sold. The cooling nature of the drink quickly made it popular in warmer climates. To make the cocktail, the eponymous gin-based liqueur Pimm’s No. 1 Cup is mixed with Sprite or 7UP and garnished with cucumber, mint, and an array of fruit. You can also use ginger ale or even Champagne instead of Sprite.
Sazerac (New Orleans)
One of the United States’ earliest cocktails, the Sazerac is a New Orleans classic and is celebrated there today with its very own museum, the Sazerac House. Whether you sip it there or at home, the cocktail will make you feel worlds away (maybe that’s the absinthe?). Created in the 1800s at New Orleans’ Sazerac Coffee House, it was originally made with cognac from France. But when the brandy supply dried up, bartenders switched to local rye whiskey. To make it at home, you’ll need rye whiskey, Peychaud’s bitters (also invented in New Orleans), Angostura bitters, sugar, and absinthe.
Pisco Sour (Peru)
While there are some differing opinions about whether the Pisco Sour was created in Peru or Chile, it is Peru’s national drink and is found ubiquitously all across the country. And many agree it was invented at a bar in 1920 in Lima by an American ex-pat as a riff on the whiskey sour. What makes the Pisco Sour unique is its use of local Pisco liquor (which is a type of grape-derived brandy) mixed with lime juice and egg whites, which create the frothy topper. If you’re vegan, try this recipe, which uses aquafaba (the liquid in chickpea cans) instead of egg whites.
Singapore Sling (Singapore)
Undoubtedly Southeast Asia’s most famous cocktail, the Singapore Sling was invented in 1915 in the famous Long Bar of the historic Raffles hotel, where you can still order the drink today. But if you’re stuck at home, not to worry: the fruity, refreshing spin on a Gin Sling is easy to recreate at home. You’ll need gin, Grand Marnier, cherry liqueur, pineapple juice, lime juice, bitters, and club soda. To make it festive, garnish with a cherry and orange slice and you’ll feel instantly feel the hot Singapore sun kissing your shoulders.
Easily Brazil’s most ubiquitous cocktail, the Caipirinha features cachaça, the country’s beloved liquor made from fermented sugarcane juice that has been distilled since the 1500s. The classic cocktail combines cachaça with muddled limes or lime juice and sugar, but there are endless variations with different tropical fruits found in Brazil, like pineapple and raspberry. However you have it, it’s sure to make you dream of the sun and sand in Rio and beyond.
Dating all the way back to the middle ages, Sangria is Spain’s delicious answer to a wine cooler. It’s now easy to find across the country in both red and white versions (and sometimes with sparkling cava) but it also pops up in Mexican restaurants quite often. To make it at home and pretend you are in Barcelona rather than on your couch, mix red or white wine with brandy and whatever fruit you have at home—apples, oranges, lemons, etc.
Rum Swizzle (Bermuda)
While the Dark 'n' Stormy might be more well known, we prefer the Rum Swizzle for the cocktail of choice to transport you to the island of Bermuda. The Swizzle Inn, which is the oldest bar on the island, invented the drink in the early 1900s, but it can be found in restaurants and bars across the island. Make it at home by swizzling (churning with a long stick) rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine, and bitters together until frothy and topping with various fruit garnishes.
Kir Royale (France)
A celebratory drink, the Kir Royale is the more vivacious version of the Kir, which came about in Burgundy in the 20th century and is named after its creator, Canon Félix Kir, who was a hero during the World War II and became the Mayor of Dijon in 1945. The original Kir mixes white Aligoté wine with the local blackcurrant liqueur called crème de cassis. The Kir Royale replaces the white wine with bubbly Champagne, creating an instant French soiree wherever you are.