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If your next holiday feels very far away, why not escape via your taste buds by trying an international cocktail recipe? Many cocktails are inspired by global destinations, using local spirits and mixers to capture the authentic flavour of a nation. Others go a step further and take the name of the city or region where they were invented.

For many, the appeal of a cocktail lies in this ability to evoke a certain time, place or setting – whether that's a smoky café-bar in a far-off urban metropolis, or a poolside lounge chair at a glamorous resort in the sun. This is why many bars and restaurants now feature a globally-influenced cocktail menu, to help patrons escape to exotic climes without leaving their table or bar stool.

Here are a few of our favourite global cocktail varieties – the perfect drink selection for anytime you need a little international zest in your menu. (Detailed recipes for each can be found on the International Bartenders' Association website, under their list of official cocktails)


No list of international cocktails would be complete with the caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil. Zesty and refreshing, this is the perfect drink to complement Brazil's hot climate and beautiful beaches. The classic caipirinha recipe includes cachaça, a local liquor distilled from fermented sugarcane juice, as well as sugar, lime and plenty of ice.

According to one popular story, the caipirinha's origins may have been medicinal, with the alcoholic beverage evolving from a homemade remedy for Spanish flu made from honey, garlic, and lemon, to which liquor and ice were later added. Nowadays numerous international versions exist using popular local alcohols as a base (such as the Caipiroska, which uses Russian vodka in place of cachaça), but the original version with cachaça and limes has gained a devoted following both within its native Brazil and globally.


Strong and distinctive, The Manhattan is sometimes known as the "King of Cocktails". A potent blend of rye whiskey and vermouth stirred up with angostura bitters and ice, this sophisticated blend is a fitting representative of its island namesake.

While there's little doubt the drink was first mixed in the famous New York neighbourhood, there is some debate over the precise circumstances of its origins. One story suggests that the drink was first prepared for a banquet hosted by Lady Randolph Churchill (the mother of Winston Churchill) at New York's Manhattan Club in the 1870s. Others suggest the cocktail predates this event, and was in fact invented by a barman named Black who worked at a bar on Broadway during the 1860s. Either way, the cocktail quickly gained a strong following amongst New York's fashionable elite, and is still a popular drink around the world today.

Singapore Sling

Easily one of the world's best-known cocktails, the Singapore Sling was invented in Singapore in the early 20th century. A fruity, refreshing concoction, the Singapore Sling was created by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon, who worked at the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel in Singapore.

You can still order the cocktail prepared to his original recipe at the Long Bar today, although most other establishments nowadays follow a modified recipe developed by Mr. Ngiam's nephew. The drink is a sweet, moreish mix of gin, cherry liqueur, brandy and Benedictine, freshened with grenadine, pineapple and lime juice and a dash of bitters. Simply add a slice of pineapple or a cocktail cherry garnish for a true taste of the tropics.


Nothing says Italian elegance like a delicate pink Bellini served in a graceful champagne flute. A delicious blend of sparkling Prosecco and puréed white peaches, the rosy colour of the drink comes from just a drop of cherry or raspberry juice. While variations using yellow peaches, peach nectar or peach liqueurs exist, the rarity and exquisite flavour of white peaches are what lend this drink its appeal.

The Bellini was invented around the time of World War II by famed bartender Giuseppe Cipriani, the founder of the legendary Venetian establishment Harry's Bar – once a haunt of Ernest Hemingway, Charlie Chaplin, Truman Capote and Orson Welles, among others. The cocktail is named after the 15th century artist Giovanni Bellini, famed for his richly-coloured religious works and landscapes. Allegedly the drink's pinky peach hue reminded Cipriani of the colour of a saint's robe featured in one of Bellini's paintings, inspiring the name.

Pisco Sour

Most people associate this distinctive South American cocktail with the mountains and coasts of Peru, although a similar beverage is served in Chile and there's still considerable debate over which country lays claim to the drink. Pisco is a local variety of strong brandy distilled from grapes, which was first produced in the 16th century by Spanish colonialists looking to obtain liquor from a cheaper, local source.

According to which version you believe, the Pisco Sour was invented either by an American, Victor "Gringo" Morris, who ran a bar in Lima, Peru; or by the steward of an English sailing ship which was moored in the port of Iquique, now part of Chile (although at the time was in Peru, giving further support to the Peruvians' claim). Either way, the drink is essentially a variation on the classic whiskey sour, using pisco mixed with sugary syrup, lime juice and a dash of bitters, along with egg white to give it its characteristic creamy consistency – which means this is a cocktail best consumed fresh.

What is your favourite globally-inspired cocktail?


Lockhart Catering on 29 January 2014 11:23 AM

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