Nothing says a holiday like relaxing with a fancy glass topped with an umbrella, fruit or even just a straw. There are some drinks that can be enjoyed anywhere, such as the gin and tonic, but with cocktails, it’s important to get the location just right. So here is a selection of the world’s best cocktails and the perfect places to enjoy them. Bottoms up!
Singapore Sling – Raffles Hotel
The only place to enjoy a true Singapore Sling is in the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel where it was invented. Like many great stories, the one surrounding the creation of the Singapore Sling has a fair amount of contradiction and rumour at its heart. Bartender Ngiam Tong Boon originally put the ingredients together and came up with the name, but whether it was in 1910, 1913 or 1915 is still under debate. What’s more, the recipe was lost in the 1930s and has been re-established through the memories of those who made it and others who drank it. Today, Raffles serves gin, cherry brandy, orange liqueur, Benedictine (herbal liqueur), pineapple and lime juice, grenadine and bitters shaken over ice.
Mojito – Cuba
Havana may have been the birthplace of the mojito, but it has been embraced by the rest of the world. This refreshing cocktail remains ubiquitous on the island where it was created, with the first instance of its ingredients being combined thought to date back to 1586. Although not called a mojito at the time, a boarding party from one of Francis Drake’s ships went ashore in Cuba and came back with a crude form of rum, sugarcane juice, lime and mint. Since then these items have been muddled and had soda water added to be known as a mojito. While many variations have sprung up over the years, accept no substitutes for the classic mojito in a bar in Havana.
Pisco sour – Peru
Although the Chileans claim to have invented the pisco sour, the city of Pisco actually lies in Peru, so it surely has a bigger case to be met. The two countries distil the spirit a little differently and mix the cocktail in varying ways too, but the Peruvian version combines lime juice, syrup, egg white and bitters shaken together and strained into an old fashioned glass. Although attributed to American bartender Victor Vaughn Morris, who opened a bar in Lima in the 1920s, it is thought the recipe for the pisco sour was refined by his employee Mario Bruiget, who introduced the egg white and the bitters to the concoction.
Cosmopolitan – New York
The cosmopolitan, or cosmo to its friends, may not have originated in New York, as there are various versions of where it might have come from, but it is inextricably linked with the city. This may have something to do with the Carrie Bradshaw character in Sex in the City, who regularly ordered the cocktail and inspired a whole generation to drink it too. The modern recipe that has become the standard is credited to bartender Toby Cecchini of Passerby, who ensured that fresh lime juice was used instead of cordial. This is combined with citrus vodka, triple sec and cranberry juice, which gives the cosmo its characteristic pink colour. Dale DeGroff of the Rainbow Room is thought to have added the flamed orange peel as a garnish.
Pina colada – Puerto Rico
It says something about the way of life in a country when its national drink is the creamy pina colada. But this is the case with Puerto Rico, which has officially recognised the pineapple, coconut milk and rum concoction as its own since 1978. Recollections of who and when invented it are somewhat hazy, which can be forgiven due to the alcohol content, with various versions suggesting the 1940s, 50s or 60s. Either way, it’s best served in a poco grande glass with a pineapple slice, a maraschino cherry and preferably on a Puerto Rican beach – bliss!