Who doesn't love a good cocktail? There's always an occasion to make a delicious drink and enjoy it with family and friends. With cocktail culture exploding worldwide, here are some amazing cocktail recipes to try at home or drinks to look for on your travels!
The Best Cocktail Recipes Around the World
Here are some of the most popular cocktail recipes by continent.
1. Tinto de Verano
As a tourist, you probably think of Spain and its famed sangria. However, did you know local Spaniards don't drink sangria? They prefer Tinto de Verano, which translates to “summer red wine.” As the name suggests, it's a refreshing summer drink that's super easy to make.
What you'll need:
- Red Wine: Consider a Spanish Garnacha (grenache) or a pinot noir. The trick is to use a red wine that is enjoyable to drink on its own. (That's how you avoid those vicious wine hangovers!)
- Lemon Soda: In Spain, the go-to is lemon-flavored Fanta. Here, look for a lemony carbonated drink like Sprite or 7UP. You can also create this from scratch by mixing lemonade and soda water.
- Citrus add-on: The traditional fruits used are oranges and lemon slices.
- Vermouth: This is an optional ingredient if you want to give your drink that extra kick. One shot per glass will do.
Making the drink requires a large jug and all the ingredients listed above. Mix, garnish with the citrus fruit slices, give it a quick stir and serve! Make this right before serving to keep the fizzy part of the drink that makes it so enjoyable.
Like mulled wine? This version, made mainly in Germany and Austria, translates to “glow wine,” which is exactly how you'll feel after drinking it outside in the cold.
To make this, you need a dry red wine and a few additional ingredients:
- 1/2 medium orange
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 20 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 whole star anise
- 1 (750 mL) bottle of dry red wine
Mix the water and sugar in a large saucepan and boil until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat and add cloves, cinnamon, star anise, orange zest (from the orange), and fresh orange juice. Simmer until a fragrant syrup forms (about one minute). While on low heat, add the wine. Be careful to avoid boiling the mixture. Instead, simmer and stir for at least 20 minutes (or up to a few hours), and it'll be ready to serve!
Strain and serve. You can add a shot of rum or brandy for a stronger drink.
If you've ever brunched or been to a wedding or bachelorette party, you've probably seen a Bellini on the menu. Originating from Italy, Bellini's were invented in the 1930s and are named for the famous Italian painter.
This excellent summer drink requires two ingredients:
- Sparkling wine (champagne is a good substitute)
- White peach nectar or puree
Variations on this original recipe are a Puccini (using fresh mandarin juice instead of peach purée), a Rossini (using fresh strawberry purée), and a Tintoretto (using fresh pomegranate juice).
Negronis have made a comeback in the U.S. You can even join Negroni challenges in Portland, ME. Many bars now are touting their ability to give you a fantastic Negroni experience. Why the competition? Negronis don't always taste great, but when made well, they are delicious.
Originating in Florence, Italy, this drink was named for Count Negroni.
What you'll need to make one serving:
- 1 oz gin
- 1 oz Campari
- 1 oz sweet red vermouth
- Half an orange slice for garnish
Pour into an old-fashioned glass over ice, stir, garnish and enjoy!
5. Espresso Martini
Yes, this drink is European, invented in the 1980s by a slick bartender in London, England, for a famous supermodel. The drink has since taken off and found wild popularity amongst, well, everyone.
- 1.5 oz Vodka
- 1 oz Kahlúa
- 2 tsp Sugar Syrup
- 1.5 oz strong Espresso
Shake well in your cocktail shaker with ice and pour into a martini glass. You should have a nice foamy top. Garnish with some whole coffee beans, serve and enjoy!
6. Aperol Spritz
The Italians really know how to make drinks! This cocktail recipe dates back to the 1800s and has undergone modifications to get to where it is today.
- 3 oz Prosecco
- 2 oz Aperol
- Splash of soda water
- Half an orange slice to garnish
Pour Prosecco and Aperol into a wine glass filled with ice, then add a splash of soda water, stir, and enjoy! If you don't have Aperol, Campari, Cynar, or Select are Substitutions to consider.
7. Gin Rickey
The original Rickey used bourbon and was created by a D.C. politician in the 1800s. Over the years, different alcohol substitutions cropped up, with gin being the most popular. It's so widely preferred in political circles that in 2011 the Rickey was officially declared Washington D.C.'s native cocktail!
How do you make this amazingly simple concoction?
- 2 oz gin
- 1/2 oz lime juice, freshly squeezed
- Club soda, to top
- Lime slices to garnish
Mix well, pour over ice, serve and enjoy!
Our friends to the south in Mexico have given the world a delicious and versatile drink: the margarita. Fun fact, the blue agave-based tequila is only allowed to be called tequila if it's grown and harvested in the area of Jalisco, Mexico.
There are many flavorful versions of this cocktail, but here we'll provide the recipe for a classic. Pro tip: do not buy premixed margarita mix. The fresh ingredient version is much better.
What you'll need for one serving of a fresh margarita:
- 1.5 oz tequila of choice
- 0.75 oz lime juice (purchase this or consider freshly squeezed for more flavor)
- 0.5 oz simple syrup
Mix ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour over ice (or blend in a blender for a frozen margarita), add lime for garnish, and enjoy!
9. Old Fashioned
A North American cocktail recipe list must include an Old Fashioned. Created in Louisville, Kentucky, in the 1800s by a bourbon bartender, the name is shorthand for “old-fashioned style whiskey cocktail.”
While the classic Old Fashioned recipe calls for bourbon, you can substitute any other whiskey you like.
To make this, you'll require the following:
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
- 1 teaspoon water
- 2 oz bourbon (or other whiskeys as preferred)
- Orange twist to garnish
Add sugar, bitters, and water to your glass, and mix until the sugar dissolves. Pour in the whiskey and stir until well mixed. Serve in a glass over a large ice cube. Twist the orange twist over the glass to express the oils, wipe over the rim of the glass, then drop it into your glass to garnish.
Serve with your friends, cheers, and enjoy!
10. Pisco Sour
While there is some debate, this drink likely originated in Peru. Using local Pisco alcohol as the base, the frothy egg white drink is deliciously tart and refreshing all at once. If you're planning to visit the country for Macchu Picchu or other bucket list-friendly adventures, add Pisco sours to your to-do list!
- 2 oz Pisco
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- 1 egg white
- ¾ oz 2-to-1 simple syrup
- 3 to 4 dashes of Angostura bitters
Combine Pisco, lime juice, egg white, and simple syrup. Cover and shake your cocktail shaker rapidly for 10 seconds. Add ice, cover again and shake until chilled (10 to 15 seconds more). Then, double-strain into a chilled coupe or Nick and Nora glass. Garnish with bitters.
One of the best South American cocktail recipes is the Caipirinha. Cachaça (pronounced cachasa) is the base liquor and is akin to a rum, but instead of molasses-based, it is sugarcane-based. This difference makes it easier to drink and smoother to taste. This refreshing drink is sure to be a hit with friends and family.
Here's what you need to make it at home:
- 1-2 limes sliced in half lengthwise (or in quarters), and the pith removed
- 1-2 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 oz of cachaca
- 1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice (optional)
- Crushed ice
- Lime slices to garnish
In a glass or a cocktail shaker, combine the lime halves or quarters with the sugar and muddle together. Doing this squeezes out the lime juice and allows it to mix with the sugar simultaneously, helping it dissolve.
Next, add the cachaca and lime juice, and mix well. You want to serve the drink with the muddled limes included. So if using a cocktail shaker, pour the drink, including the muddled limes, into a short glass with crushed ice. If mixing the drink directly in the glass, add crushed ice and stir.
Serve immediately, with a lime slice as garnish.
12. Singani Chuflay
Ever had a brandy made from mountain-top grapes? In Bolivia, their signature liquor, Singani, is precisely that. The grapes are grown 1600m above sea level, making them an official altitude product. Want a taste of something unique that uses this? Try the Singani Chuflay.
The recipe includes:
- 2 oz Singani
- Ginger ale (preferably a spicy one such as Fentiman's or Fever Tree)
- Lime wedge for garnish
To make the drink, pour Singani over ice into a chilled glass, then top it with ginger ale and add the lime for garnish! Simple and delicious!
This drink is also from Brazil and is consumed primarily in the winter–because it's a hot cocktail! This drink is made with cachaça and a blend of spices and is sure to satisfy in the colder months. It is a wonderful alternative to mulled wine or spiked cider.
Here's how to bring a bit of the Brazilian winter home (makes 8 servings):
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3 cups water
- ¾ cup fresh ginger, cubed
- 2 limes, sliced
- 4 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
- 1 (750 mL) bottle cachaça
Pour the sugar and water into a 3-quart saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Continuously stir until the sugar has melted/dissolved and thickens.
Next, add ginger, lime, and cinnamon. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Pour in the cachaça, and cook until hot, about 5 minutes more.
Strain and serve hot!
14. Fernet and Coke
Fernet is a spirit that originated in Italy. The folks in Argentina loved it so much that they adopted it for this cocktail. Now it's more widely consumed there than anywhere else!
Fernet is a bit like Jager but tastes more bitter. What you'll need for this simple recipe:
- 1 cup Coca-Cola
- 1/2 cup Fernet Branca
- Garnish: lemon wedge or twist
That's it! If you like Cuba Libre, you'll also enjoy this drink. While traditional mixtures have Coke to Fernet in a 2:1 ratio, you can tailor it to your preferred taste.
15. Marrakech Mule
Morocco is famous for its wide range of flavors and drinks. Their most popular drink is mint tea! This Mule is the perfect cocktail representation for the country and worth trying.
To create this at home, you'll need the following:
- 3 oz Marrakesh mint tea
- 1 oz 6-year-old El Dorado silver rum
- ½ oz Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
- ½ oz Chambord
- Skewer of mint and raspberry garnish
You can serve this drink hot or cold. If serving hot, add in the ingredients as soon as the tea is made and still hot. If serving cold, then let the tea cool before including the liquor.
In Kenya, Dawa means “magic potion” in Swahili or something so potent it can cure all ailments.
To make this medicinal marvel, you'll need the following:
- 2 oz vodka
- Crushed ice
- 1 whole lime, cut into quarters
- 1 Dawa stick, twisted in creamed honey
(Dawa sticks are carved wooden sticks specifically made to help garnish cocktails.)
To start, place lime with sugar into your cocktail shaker. Muddle limes with sugar, then add ice and pour in the vodka. Next, take your Dawa stick and swirl or twist it into some honey, then add the honey-coated stick to the drink. If you can't find a Dawa stick, an alternative is a regular wooden stick twisted in honey.
For a sweeter drink, muddle the limes with the whole mixture together. Serve and enjoy!
This non-alcoholic drink is an excellent option at parties. You get the beautiful flavors of a delicious cocktail, and it's also a way for your non-drinker guests to enjoy. Thought to have originated in Lagos, the Chapman is now the most popular drink in Nigeria.
To make this concoction, gather up the following:
- 6 cups carbonated orange drink (e.g., Fanta or Crush)
- 6 cups carbonated clear beverage (e.g., Sprite or 7UP)
- 1 medium cucumber, sliced
- 1 lime, sliced
- ¾ cup Grenadine syrup
- 1 tablespoon Angostura bitters
- Ice cubes
Place cucumber and lime slices into a clean pitcher along with ice cubes, then pour in orange and clear carbonated drinks. Add the Angostura bitters and grenadine syrup. Stir well, chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours, then serve over ice and enjoy!
This shooter comes from South Africa. The layered shot has two colors, green and off-white, mimicking the colors of the national rugby team, the Springboks.
The recipe is pretty straight-forward and requires:
- Crème de menthe
- Amarula cream liqueur
In a shot glass, pour in equal parts of each. Enjoy!
19. Sake Grapefruit Cocktail
Some of the best cocktail recipes in Asia come from Japan. This sake (rice wine) based recipe is no exception.
Here's what you'll need for this amazing drink:
- 1/8 tsp Ginger, fresh root
- 2 slices Grapefruit, fresh
- 2 sprigs of Rosemary, fresh
- 1 pinch of ground Nutmeg
- 3 oz grapefruit juice
- 3 oz Sake
- 2.5 oz Gin
Add your sake, gin, grapefruit juice, ginger, a pinch of ground nutmeg powder, and 4-5 medium size ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Shake for 30-40 seconds, then strain into cocktail glasses (the recipe makes 2 servings). Garnish with rosemary sprigs and grapefruit slice, serve and enjoy!
20. Matcha Mint Julep
When in Asia, try matcha (or in this case, a matcha cocktail). This green tea cocktail has some caffeine, so beware if you're drinking late into the night!
What you'll need for this antioxidant-packed drink:
- 1 teaspoon culinary-grade matcha powder
- 10 mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar simple syrup (or other simple syrup)
- 2 ounces bourbon (or another preferred whiskey)
- 1 sprig of mint for garnish
First, if you'd like to try making the brown sugar simple syrup, mix 1:1 brown sugar with water. For this recipe, 1/4 cup of each will do.
Mix bourbon and matcha powder in a small bowl for the cocktail and whisk until all clumps are gone. In your cocktail glass, place mint leaves and one tablespoon of the simple syrup and muddle until the leaves break down. Add crushed ice and pour the bourbon/matcha mixture over it. Stir until the glass is chilled. Then add more ice and garnish with the sprig of mint.
21. Singapore Sling
As the name suggests, this cocktail originated in Singapore in the early 20th century. Over the years, many places have adapted this complex recipe and simplified it by using a premix juice batch to create the drink. However, this fruit-heavy cocktail is refreshing and less sweet when using fresh ingredients.
If you're up for the challenge, here's how to make your own!
- 3/4 oz gin
- 1/4 oz Benedictine
- 1/4 oz Grand Marnier
- 1/4 oz cherry liqueur
- 1 oz pineapple juice
- 1/2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- Club soda
- Garnish: orange slice and cherry
There are many ingredients, but only three steps to make it. First, mix gin, Benedictine, Grand Marnier, cherry liqueur, pineapple juice, lime juice, and bitters into a shaker with ice. Shake well until the shaker becomes cold —strain the mixture in a highball glass with ice. Top with club soda, stir, add the garnishes, serve and enjoy!
22. Jungle Bird
Created in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in the 1970s, this cocktail is famous around the world too. The recipe may make you think of traditional tiki cocktails, but the addition of Campari adds bitterness to the drink.
- 1½ oz Jamaican rum
- ¾ oz Campari
- 1 oz pineapple juice
- ½ oz lime juice
- ½ oz brown sugar syrup
- 1 pineapple wedge and 2 maraschino cherries for garnish
While the ingredients are many and complex, making this cocktail is simple. Throw all the ingredients into your cocktail shaker with ice and shake well—strain over one large ice cube. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and maraschino cherries. Enjoy and be careful. It's strong!
23. Korean Soju Yogurt Cocktail
Soju is a Korean alcohol made from sweet potatoes and tapioca. This simple, three-ingredient recipe will give you positive Korean vibes and add unique flavor to your day!
Try it at home with the following:
- 3 oz soju
- 3 oz Yakult or other yogurt drink, plain or flavored (alternative: Lassi or Kefir)
- 3 oz lemon-lime soda, such as Sprite or 7UP
Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker over ice and mix well. Pour over ice into your glass of choice, serve and enjoy!
24. Watermelon Spritz
Who doesn't love watermelon? Even if you don't, you'll enjoy this watermelon-based drink from down under. It's a wonderful addition to any summer BBQ or party!
To make this fun and unique summer drink, gather the following:
- 1.5 liters of freshly squeezed watermelon juice
- 6 green limes, cut into quarters
- 10 oz chilled vodka
- 1-liter soda
- Olives, feta, and mint for garnish
Squeeze all the limes into a large jug. Top with the watermelon juice and give it a good stir. Refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready, add the vodka and soda and stir. To serve, pour into tall glasses over ice, and garnish with a small skewer of mint, olives, and feta!
25. Giggly Rose Cocktail
This funny-named concoction from Australia is refreshing and cool, perfect for those warm summer nights.
For this rosy cocktail, you'll need the following:
- 3 oz Gin
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- Ice cubes
- 1 (750 ml) bottle of chilled sparkling white wine
- Rose syrup (rose water and sugar)
- To garnish, mint leaves, rose petals
Add the mint and rose petals to a cocktail shaker and muddle with gin, lemon juice, and rose syrup. Add ice and shake until chilled. Pour over ice, top with chilled sparkling wine, and serve. You can swap the wine for champagne if you like!
As an aside, here's how you can make rose syrup at home:
- Mix 10 tablespoons (1/8 cup sugar) with water and heat over medium-high heat.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, remove it from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of rose water.
- Chill until cooled and thickened.
26. The Cool Green
This cool and colorful cocktail recipe is more savory than sweet, but there is a version to add sweetness if that's what you prefer. Take a look and see if it's something you'd like to try.
For this drink, you'll want (4 servings):
- 4 cucumbers, peeled and juiced (keep the juice and pulp)
- 4 oz Tanqueray London Dry Gin
- 4 oz St Germain elderﬂower liqueur
- 400 mL soda (or lemonade if your guests have a sweeter tooth)
- Crushed ice
- 4 limes
After juicing the cucumber, press the pulp into ice cube trays and freeze. First, fill four glasses with ice, pour in 1 oz each of elderflower and gin, and squeeze in half a lime into each glass. Add 1/4 of the cucumber water into each, then top with soda. Use a lime wedge to garnish and drop in a cucumber ice cube. Serve and enjoy!
These cocktail recipes are super fun, ethnic, and flavorful. Try to make at home what the rest of the world enjoys and create a truly unique experience for you and your friends and family!
If you're not a big drinker yourself, purchasing ingredients as a gift for travelers also works!
This article was produced by Wealth of Geeks.
Sanjana is a physician anesthesiologist, avid traveler, and entrepreneur. She founded The Female Professional in order to give women a voice, a community, and provide resources to help them overcome hurdles and achieve success.
With her experiences as a physician, as a CEO of a startup, and as a writer, she understands the struggles and frustrations that women face. She also understands what it takes to move past those things and come out on top.
Through this platform, Sanjana aims to empower women to be their best, authentic, selves, achieve work/life balance, and live life to the fullest.