Happy Hour at Home: Cocktails From Around the World

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There are hundreds of cocktails in existence, so why not use this time to get creative and use up some of those half empty bottles of strange liquor that we all have lurking at the back of the cupboard? If you need some inspiration, then we’ve roamed around the world (virtually) to find some of the drinks that remind us of our favourite destinations.

Caribbean – Rum Punch


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It’s widely accepted that rum was first made on sugarcane plantations in the Caribbean, which is why you’ll find distilleries dotted all over the archipelago that you can tour. As soon as the sweet nectar hits our lips, we can practically feel the sea breeze in our hair and the sand between our toes, and it’s for this reason that we’ll be recreating some beach bar favourites at home. The classic rum punch is a cheek-shuddering burst of orange, lime and pineapple juice with grenadine, Angostura bitters – and of course, honey-hued rum. Other rum-based options include the hurricane, the mai tai and the dark ‘n’ stormy.

Mexico – Cantaritos


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Tequila’s origins lie way back with the Aztecs who made the spirit from the agave plant, which gives it its distinct taste – not one you’ll forget in a hurry after a night on the slammers. While a margarita is often the first tipple that comes to mind when the ‘T’ word is mentioned, in Mexico, you’ll find that a cold red cup of cantarito is the cooler of choice, and these are sold in local bars and from street vendors. The drink is named after the clay vessel that it is served in, and is a medley of citrus juices and grapefruit soda – what could be more refreshing in the baking Mexican sunshine?

Spain – Sangria


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Spain is well-loved for its four S’s – sun, sea, sand and sangria. The nation’s most famous drink (the name of which actually translates to ‘blood’), is an easily imbibed fruity punch with a fine bottle of Spanish red vino at its heart. It’s convenient to make for a group too, because it’s usually made in a batch, so you can pour as you please. The classic combination mixes wine, orange juice, brandy, and muddled citrus fruits; but there are many more variations now, including a white sangria made with white wine. Finally, just add some tapas, and the Costa del Sol won’t seem quite so far away anymore.

Singapore – Singapore Sling


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The Singapore Sling is one of the most famous cocktails in the world, and there’s no doubt about where it was created. It was invented by Ngiam Tong Boon in the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel Singapore sometime between 1899 and 1915 – apparently so that women could drink alcohol discreetly. There’s some speculation surrounding the precise recipe, as the hotel was occupied in the 1940s and all paper trails were lost, however the main ingredients are gin, curaçao, Dom Benedictine, grenadine syrup, cherry liqueur, lime juice and pineapple juice. Since the spot is now so popular with tourists, the Long Bar has a specially made Singapore Sling Shaker that can mix multiple drinks at once, however if you happen to have the right ingredients, you can try sample this tropical refresher at home.

Italy – Negroni

It’s safe to say that many of us will have already enjoyed an Aperol spritz or two this year, as it has become one of the nation’s favourite summer drinks – here at dealchecker, we can practically make them with our eyes closed. We’d like to introduce you instead to a less well-known, but equally bitter classic Italian cocktail – the debonair Negroni. It’s incredibly simple to make: equal parts gin, campari and sweet vermouth stirred over ice and garnished with an orange peel or slice. The story goes that Count Camillo Negroni invented the drink in Florence, when he asked the barman to swap the soda in his Americano cocktail for gin but this is widely considered to be just a fable. According to Orson Welles: “The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other.” – well, we won’t argue with that.

New York – Manhattan


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The manhattan is one of most recognised whiskey cocktails in the world, alongside the old fashioned, and it often evokes images of dusky, smoke-filled New York bars – à la Mad Men. It’s most likely that the manhattan was born around 1900, when a New Orleans saloon owner went on a yacht trip while visiting friends in New York. He experimented with the liquor he had available, which happened to be whiskey (usually rye) and Italian vermouth. There’s a handful of twists on the staple now – but the ‘perfect manhattan‘ includes both sweet and dry vermouth, and is garnished with a cherry. Turn the lights down and don your finest glad rags – after a few of these, you’ll be singing ‘New York, New York’.

France – Sidecar


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Ernest Hemingway apparently concocted the Death in the Afternoon cocktail while in Paris: its an aptly lethal dose of champagne and absinthe, two of the cities infamous exports. If you don’t happen to have absinthe on hand at the moment, you could recreate Paris’s other favourite intoxicant, the sidecar, instead. Again, there’s some confusion over its ownership, but the Ritz in Paris staunchly claims the orangey blend of cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice as its own. Ideally served in a 1920s coupe glass, a sidecar is a delightful companion on a languorous afternoon at home – we’ll be channelling Daisy Buchanan.

UK – Tom Collins


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The UK might not boast tropical climes, but we can claim a fair few zesty cocktails as our own. The Tom Collins, for example. is just as easy to make as Pimm’s and is equally refreshing – if not more so! This tart lemon and gin cooler is said to have been first crafted by John Collins who worked at Limmer’s Hotel & Coffee Shop in Mayfair in the 1800s; the bartender was so well-known at the Conduit Street dive bar, that there was even a limerick written about him and his gin blends. The cocktail then became popular in America in the late 19th-century, and was recorded by the ‘father of mixology’ Jerry Thomas in his book about bartending. It was also the subject of a hoax where someone would claim a certain Tom Collins was spreading rumours about an acquaintance, the acquaintance would then ask about the gentleman in various bars and be presented with a cocktail instead – not a bad marketing technique!

You can make a Tom Collins in minutes with sugar, lemon juice, gin and soda water – plus, there are a number of variations, including the Pierre Collins (made with brandy or cognac), and the Pepito Collins, which is made with tequila!