If you're missing travel right now, get a taste of flavours from around the world with these cocktails. Below you'll find out the interesting history behind each cocktail along with the recipe so you can try it out yourself.
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1. Singapore: Singapore Sling
Travel back to 1915 at Raffles Hotel, home to the iconic Singapore Sling. Back in the day, the local custom didn’t allow women to drink alcohol in public. Bartender Ngaim Tong Boon used this as an opportunity to create a fruit-based cocktail with grenadine. The pink color gave it a feminine flair that made people think it was a socially acceptable punch for women. Voilà! The Singapore Sling was born.
2. United Kingdom: Pimm's Cup
Raise your glass to the United Kingdom with a Pimm’s Cup, a British cocktail with gin-based liqueur. James Pimm, the owner of a London oyster bar, invented the drink during the 1800’s. The original version featured gin, quinine and herbs, and it was known as the “house cup,” which inspired its name.
3. Los Angeles: Moscow Mule
Did you know the famous Moscow Mule cocktail isn’t from Moscow? In fact, it was created in Los Angeles back in 1941. The tale says that the owner of Smirnoff was unable to sell Vodka to Americans, and his friend, the owner of Cock 'n Bull pub in Hollywood, was unable to sell the house-made ginger beer he had. Add to the story a third businessman who couldn't sell his copper mugs ... and the famous cocktail was born!
4. Canada: B-52
A layered cocktail consisting of coffee liqueur, Irish cream and Grand Marnier orange liqueur, was invented in 1977 by Peter Fich at the Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alberta. The bartender named all of his new drinks after his favorite bands, albums and songs, and this cocktail was inspired by a band called The B-52’s.
5. USA: Manhattan
The Manhattan, a classic cocktail invented during the late 19th century, has many origin stories. The most prevalent suggests it hails from The Manhattan Club and, according to legend, came to fruition when it was created for a party thrown by Winston Churchill's mother. While some believe Lady Churchill was actually in England pregnant with Winston at the time, the Manhattan's mysterious origins only add to its appeal.
6. Bermuda: Dark 'N' Stormy
The unofficial cocktail of Bermuda, which consists of ginger beer, Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and lime, was created after World War I. At that time, the ginger beer factory was run by the Royal Naval Officer’s Club, and the sailors soon discovered that adding a splash of the local popular rum was a great addition to their beer. The cocktail was named Dark ‘n Stormy after a sailor commented it was the color of a cloud only a fool or dead man would sail under.
7. Brazil: Caipirinha
Made with Cachaça, a sweeter and more refined liquor than rum, the Caipirinha (Kai-Pur-reen-Ya) is the national cocktail of Brazil. The cocktail’s history isn’t clear, but some reports indicate it was used for medicinal purposes to relieve symptoms ofthe Spanish Flu at the end of World War I. Back then, the popular recipe was made with lime, garlic and honey.
8. India: Mango Lassi
Enjoy a taste of India with a Lassi, a popular traditional yogurt-based drink. There are many varieties of this drink –a Namkeen (salty) Lassi is similar to Doogh, while sweet and mango Lassis are like milkshakes. The mango Lassi is also used in Ayurvedic medicine to purify the body and the spirit. With its calming and anti-inflammatory properties, the Lassi goes perfectly with savory and spicy dishes.
9. Australia: Japanese Slipper
Contrary to its name, the Japanese Slipper was originally concocted in Melbourne, Australia at Mietta's Restaurant in 1984. The drink is a citrusy melon cocktail, a perfect mix of sweet and tart, ideal as a before-dinner beverage. The origin of its name is unknown, but speculations guess it’s because Midori (a main ingredient) is the Japanese word for green, and slipper may represent the simple yet elegant way it’s served.
10. New Orleans: Hurricane
As stated on neworleans.com, “The most popular drink with visitors to the French Quarter may just be the sweet red Hurricane, served with a big old cherry and a juicy orange slice. This local libation was created with rum at Pat O’Brien’s bar during World War II when whiskey was hard to come by. The name for the drink came from the glass it’s served in that resembles a hurricane lamp. A perfect place to sip a Hurricane is still in Pat O’s legendary courtyard, overlooking the flaming fountain.”
11. Ireland: Irish Coffee
On a cold evening in 1943, a flight had to turn back to Foynes Airbase midway through its journey. The airbase, near Limerick, Ireland, was often used as a stopover for transatlantic flights carrying political and Hollywood figures, and a new restaurant had been created to cater to the dignified passengers. On this night, feeling sorry for the weary travelers, Chef Joe Sheridan concocted something special for them to drink. Legend has it a silence fell over the room as guests enjoyed the new beverage. The Irish Coffee became an airport specialty and soon made its way to the United States in 1952 after the war. The rest was history!
12. Puerto Rico: Pina Colada
Directly translating to “strained pineapple,” the pina colada was created in San Juan, Puerto Rico back in 1954. The tale says that Ramón “Monchito” Marrero, bartender at the Caribe Hilton, mixed up a fruity blend of rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice. And voilà – one of the most famous summer cocktails was born!
13. England: Bramble
The Bramble, a modern cocktail featured on most bar menus in the UK, was created in 1984 at Fred’s Club in London Soho. Inspired by picking fresh blackberries on the Isle of Wight where he grew up, bartender, Dick Bradsell created a new British take on the Singapore Sling. Similar to the iconic Gin Sour, the Bramble is a mouthwatering gin-based cocktail, perfect for the end of summer.
14. Malaysia: Jungle Bird
The Jungle Bird, a bittersweet and fruity tiki-style cocktail, was created in 1973 to welcome guests during the opening of the Hilton Kuala Lumpur. The hotel’s bar, called Aviary, made the cocktail name totally appropriate, particularly as guests could see birds kept in a netted area near the pool.
15. France - Bloody Mary
When you think of the Bloody Mary, you probably don’t think of France, but this iconic cocktail’s original recipe takes us back to 1920 at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. It was then that a bartender named Fernand “Pete” Petiot was experimenting with new vodka-based cocktails to serve the preference of Russian immigrants leaving their country due to the revolution. After prohibition, Petiot then brought the drink to Manhattan. While working at the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel, he began adding a few extra flavors like Worcestershire sauce, black pepper and lemon.
And voilà, the “first” Bloody Mary was born!
16. Hawaii: Mai Tai
The Mai Tai was introduced to Hawaii in 1953 and quickly became one of the most popular cocktails on the islands. But, according to a Californian restaurateur named Trader Vic, the tale of the Mai Tai began in 1944 at his tiki restaurant in Oakland. The restaurant was a place where people could escape reality and be transported to the tropics while enjoying tropical flavored cocktails. One night, Trader Vic decided to create a new exotic rum drink for two special Tahitian guests. After taking a sip, one guest said, “Mai Tai-Roa Aé,” which means “out of this world - the best” in Tahitian. And so, the Mai Tai was born!
17. London: Espresso Martini
Previously known as a Vodka Espresso, the cocktail was originally created by a famous London bartender, Dick Bradsell, for a British Top Model in 1983.