20 Tempting Cocktails From Around the World

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Flight Network Foodie  

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A country is defined by its drinks the same way it is defined by its food. And whether that means you’re warming up with a vodka on the rocks in Russia or cooling down with a Pina Colada in Puerto Rico, a few sips of a local beverage can give you a taste of a country’s history, culture and their climate. Grab your cocktail shaker (or in some areas just a few ice cubes) and travel around the world with these 20 unique drinks.

#1. Black Russian — Belgium

Photo credit: Todd Lappin
Photo credit: Todd Lappin

Despite its deceiving name, the Black Russian cocktail was actually created in Brussels, Belgium in 1949. The bartender at the Hotel Metropole — Gustave Tops — invented the drink to honor the U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg at the time.

What’s in it: The Black Russian includes 3 parts vodka and 2 parts coffee liqueur poured over ice. Try a Black Russian recipe for yourself here.

#2. Pisco Sour — Peru

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Although the Pisco Sour is the national drink of Chile and Peru, the first record of one being served was in Lima, Peru at Morris’ Bar. Bartender Victor Vaughn Morris (of America) poured his first Pisco Sour for a customer at his Peruvian bar in the early 1920s.

What’s in it: A Pisco Sour includes a cup of ice, Pisco, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and one fresh egg white. Learn how to make your own Pisco Sour here.

#3. The Singapore Sling — Singapore

Photo credit: Dan Heap
Photo credit: Dan Heap

The Singapore Sling dates all the way back to the early 1900s. Bartender Ngiam Tong Boon created the drink while working at the Raffles Hotel Singapore’s Long Bar, where it is still served today.

What’s in it: A Singapore Sling starts with a Collins glass full of ice topped with dry gin, cherry brandy, Benedictine, fresh lime juice, soda water and a dash of Angostura bitters. Find out how to make the original Singapore Sling here.

#4. Singani — Bolivia

Photo credit: Eduardo Salvatierra
Photo credit: Eduardo Salvatierra

Singani — the national liquor of Bolivia — is only produced in the Bolivian Andes (at an elevation of 1600 to 2800 meters) from the Muscat of Alexandria grapes. This clear alcoholic drink, made from distilled grapes, has been produced in the high Andes since the 16th century.

#5. Caipirinha — Brazil

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Also known as Caninha or Pinga — Caipirinha is Brazil’s official national cocktail. This refreshing alcoholic drink is said to date all the way back to 1918, when a similar recipe was used to treat the Spanish flu.

What’s in it: Combine Sugarcane rum (cachaca), white sugar and half a fresh lime over crushed ice. Learn how to create your own Caipirinha here.

#6. Sake — Japan

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Sake is the oldest drink on our list, dating all the way back to the 3rd century. This Japanese drink — made from fermented rice — is about twice as strong as most beers, so it’s recommended that it’s drank slowly.

#7. Pina Colada– Puerto Rico

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Although Pina Coladas have become a staple at beach resort bars around the world, the refreshing cocktail actually originated at Puerto Rico’s Caribe Hilton International Hotel in 1954. The hotel’s bartender (and the drink’s creator) Ramon Marrero even received awards for his tasty accomplishment.

What’s in it: A typical Pina Colada is a blended mixture of rum, coconut milk and fresh pineapple juice. Find out how to make your own Pina Colada here.

#8. Champagne — France

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Champagne is more than just a French sparkling wine, it’s a status symbol, and it has been since the 1600s. This bubbly alcoholic drink is made of grapes from France’s Champagne region. And although some champagnes are still associated with luxury, it has now become a common drink at celebrations around the world.

#9. Mojito — Cuba

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Although the exact origins of the mojito are unknown, it’s said that African slaves in Cuba in the 19th century played a big part in the cocktail’s creation. The mojito’s popularity has spread far beyond Cuba’s borders, and it was actually Ernest Hemingway’s cocktail of choice.

What’s in it: A classic mojito is made with a full cup of ice, fresh mint leaves, half of a lime, white rum, white sugar and club soda. Learn to make your own, refreshing mojito here.

#10. Paloma — Mexico

Photo credit: Chris Palmer
Photo credit: Chris Palmer

Although many travelers order a margarita upon arrival in Mexico, the Paloma is actually the country’s national cocktail. The two drinks are similar in a couple of ways though; they both feature Mexico’s distilled blue agave spirit (tequila) and a salt-rimmed glass.

What’s in it: A traditional Paloma cocktail is made with white tequila and grapefruit-flavored soda poured over ice and garnished with a salted rim and lime wedge. Your perfect Paloma recipe is right here.

#11. Martini — United States

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The martini has shown up in bartending guides since the 1800s, but it didn’t become one of America’s favorite cocktails until Prohibition, in the 1920s and early 1930s, when illegal gin manufacturing was relatively easy. The martini is now a world-wide cocktail favorite and has been recreated in a variety of flavors (to the disdain of traditional martini lovers).

What’s in it: The classic martini is a combination of gin and dry vermouth garnished with olives or a lemon twist. Learn how to make your own classic martini here.

#12. Pimm’s Cup — England

Photo credit: Quite Peculiar
Photo credit: Quite Peculiar

James Pimm created his secret Pimm’s No. 1 Cup recipe (consisting of gin and a mixture of liqueurs and herbs) at his London oyster bar in the early 1820s. The drink became so popular, Pimm manufactured a variety of flavors, but No. 1 remained the most popular and is now one of the two drinks predominately served at Wimbledon.

What’s in it: A popular English summer cocktail is Pimm’s Cup No. 1 mixed with ginger ale and freshly chopped fruit. Try the delicious Pimm’s Cup recipe explained here.

#13. Sangria — Spain

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Sangria is a staple beverage of Spain and Portugal, but it’s popularity has spread to Mexico, Argentina and far beyond. Sangria is a simple wine punch made with chopped fruits, a sugary sweetener and a bit of brandy. It has become popular around the world as a festive drink that can be thrown together in large batches with a limited number of ingredients.

What’s in it: A typical sangria includes wine, chopped fruits, a sweetener (honey, syrup, orange juice, etc.) and a touch of brandy. Make your own festive sangria from the recipe here.

#14. Vodka — Russia

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It’s as simple as that. Russia is famous for its vodka, and the shots tend to be served chilled and straight up. It’s said that the first Russian vodka (originally known as “bread wine”) was created by a monk named Isidore inside the Moscow Kremlin in roughly 1430.

#15. Siam Sunray — Thailand

Photo credit: Paul Riismandel
Photo credit: Paul Riismandel

The Siam Sunray may have originated just a few years ago (in 2009), but it is widely known as the signature cocktail of Thailand. The sweet coconut flavor combined with tangy ginger and spicy chili pepper serves as a symbol of the complex and enticing character of Thailand and its cuisine.

What’s in it: The Siam Sunray cocktail includes vodka, coconut liqueur, freshly squeezed lime juice, simple syrup, ginger root, lemon grass and chili pepper. To create this taste of Thailand for yourself, try the recipe located here.

#16. Bellini — Italy

Photo credit: Reese Lloyd
Photo credit: Reese Lloyd

The Bellini cocktail originated in Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy, sometime between the mid-1930s and the late 1940s. And although the sparkling wine and peach puree cocktail began as a seasonal drink at Harry’s Bar, it has become a refreshing favorite around the world.

What’s in it: A traditional Bellini is a simple combination of Prosecco sparkling wine (although champagne is often substituted) and peach puree or nectar. An easy-to-replicate Bellini cocktail recipe can be found here.

#17. Canelazo — Ecuador, Colombia, Peru

Photo credit: Pau García Solbes
Photo credit: Pau García Solbes

Canelazo is a hot cocktail served in the Andean highlands of Ecuador, Colombia and Peru. It’s commonly used as a festive drink served at parties and on Christmas Day.

What’s in it: Canelazo is a relatively complicated drink consisting of water, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, lime, salt, whole cloves, cinnamon, orange juice and aguardiente. Learn how to make your own canelazo here.

#18. Gin-Tonic — Spain

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The name Gin-Tonic may look familiar. That’s because Spain’s Gin-Tonic cocktail is known to be the best variation of the traditional Gin and Tonic in the world. Spain’s version is typically served in a balloon glass (as opposed to a rocks glass) with abundant ice and unique garnishes.

What’s in it: A Spanish Gin-Tonic tends to be more imaginative than traditional ones, and typically features gin, tonic, ice and an array of garnishes ranging from herbs and spices to chocolate, cucumbers or berries. Learn how to make the perfect Spanish-style Gin-Tonic here.

#19. Coffee Punch — Denmark

Photo credit: Søren Rasmussen
Photo credit: Søren Rasmussen

Coffee Punch (known as Kaffepunch in Danish) is a strong coffee cocktail that originated on the island of Fano and has become increasingly popular throughout Denmark in recent years. Coffee Punch is a favorite New Year’s Eve cocktail for those who want a little extra energy to stay awake and celebrate.

What’s in it: Coffee Punch features a light amount of coffee, sugar and schnapps served in a small cup. Learn the secret trick to making the perfect Coffee Punch here.

#20. Springbok — South Africa

Photo credit: Julian Knutzen
Photo credit: Julian Knutzen

Don’t mistake the Springbok cocktail for the animal from which it gets its name. This small green drink is said to be South Africa’s national shot, and tasting it often comes along with a drinking game that insists you take the shot without using your hands.

What’s in it: A Springbok shot typically consists of one part creme de menthe and one part amarula cream. Create your own Springbok shots with the recipe listed here.

About the Author: Courtney McCaffrey

Courtney McCaffrey is a travel writer and editor based in Wilmington, N.C. In addition to writing, she lives for travel - seeing new places, experiencing new cultures and surfing new waves.

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