11 of the world's best cocktails to make from home

If you’re like us, you’re probably dreaming of that first glorious cocktail on the beaches of Hawaii or the lakes of Italy post quarantine. Until then, why not make your own happy hour? To celebrate ‘International Cocktail Day’ this 13 May, we’re taking you on a trip around the globe with all the world famous cocktails from different countries. From the sangria of Spain to the margarita of Mexico, here are 11 of the world’s best cocktails you can enjoy from the comfort of home – until the day you’re able to order these drinks in their rightful home!

1. Aperol Spritz – Italy

two aperol spritz italy

Take a sip of this orange-red, sweet, citrusy and slight bitter aperitif, and you’ll be instantly transported to the sunny shores of Italy – where it was first created! This iconic cocktail is said to have been invented in 1919 by the Barbieri brothers in Padua, and has held onto its place as one of the world’s best cocktails for over 100 years. Have one in the late afternoon to really channel aperitivo hour vibes.

Aperol Spritz recipe

Ingredients:
3 parts prosecco
2 parts Aperol
Splash of soda water
Garnish: Orange slice

How to make it:
Pour all ingredients into a wine glass with a handful of ice and stir until fully blended. Garnish with a fresh orange slice then kick back and enjoy!

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2. Piña Colada – Puerto Rico

hand holding pina colada on beach

If you like piña coladas… then why not make one at home! This sweet, creamy cocktail is like summer in a glass and was created by Ramón “Monchito” Marrero, a bartender at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan. He is said to have experimented for three months in 1954 before he captured the sunny, tropical flavours of Puerto Rico in a cocktail, and now you can recreate this frothy mixture of rum, pineapple and coconut in your kitchen.

Piña Colada recipe

Ingredients:
120ml pineapple juice
60ml coconut cream
60ml white rum (preferably Puerto Rican)
Wedge of pineapple and maraschino cherry, to garnish (optional)

How to make it:
Pour all the ingredients plus a handful of ice into a blender, and pulse until smooth. Once you’ve got a good consistency, pour the mixture into a tall glass and garnish with a sweet wedge of pineapple or a maraschino cherry. Delicious!

3. Sangria – Spain

sangria glasses jug world's best cocktails

So you’ve probably had a few glasses of wine to pass the time while stuck in lockdown (haven’t we all?). Now you can go one better with a glass of sangria, the beloved wine punch of Spain and one of the world’s best cocktails. There are endless recipe variations, with ingredients ranging from simple red wine to white wine to cava, a Spanish sparkling wine. But if you’re looking for an easy yet delicious sangria recipe to make at home, we’ve got you covered. Get the tapas ready and get to it!

Sangria recipe

Ingredients:
750ml bottle light red wine
100ml Spanish brandy
Diced apples, pears, oranges
2 lemons, 1 juiced, 1 chopped
200g red berries, chopped (we used cherries and strawberries)
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Ice

How to make it:
Put the chopped fruit in a bowl, then sprinkle over the sugar and cinnamon, and stir to coat. Cover the mixture and leave to soak in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or even better, overnight. Next, stir the fruit mixture to ensure the sugar is dissolved. Fill a large jug with ice, then tip the fruit mixture into the jug with the wine and brandy. Stir it all together, splash in the sparkling water, then pour a few glasses and share the love around.

RELATED CONTENT: How to order and eat tapas like a true Spaniard

4. Mojito – Cuba

mojito cocktail cuba world's best cocktails

One sip of a classic mojito and you’ll be flying away on a Caribbean breeze. This sweet, minty, citrusy cocktail is as Cuban as can be, and while the exact origins of the cocktail are unknown, it has been traced all the way back to 1586, as a medicinal drink for pirates who sailed to Havana in search for gold.

The most famous place to have a mojito is La Bodeguita del Modia, a bar in Havana where Ernest Hemingway is said to have downed a number of ‘Hemingway Daiquiris’ after moving to Cuba from Florida during Prohibition in 1939. But until we can get there, we’ll happily sip away at a mojito at home.

Mojito recipe

Ingredients:
60ml white rum
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp granulated sugar
small handful mint leaves, plus extra sprig to serve
soda water, to taste

How to make it:
Muddle the lime juice, mint leaves and sugar in a jug, making sure the mint is well crushed. Pour the mixture into a tall glass, add a handful of ice, then pour over the rum and stir. Top it up with soda water, garnish with a sprig of mint and enjoy!

5. Pimm’s Cup – England

jug two glasses pimm's no. 1 cup cocktail
Image credit: MD111 / Flickr

What would an English summer be without a refreshing Pimm’s Cup? Since we can’t hit the bars to get our Pimm’s fix, the next best thing is to make your own at home! Made with the slightly sweet and herbal Pimm’s No. 1 Cup, a gin-based liqueur that was created by the fishmonger James Pimm in the 1840s, there’s no wonder this drink is so wildly popular in the UK and one of the world’s best cocktails!

Pimm’s Cup recipe

Ingredients:
200ml Pimm’s No. 1
600ml lemonade
Cucumber, sliced
Chopped fruits (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, orange slices)
Mint sprigs
Lemon wedge

How to make it:
Fill a jug with ice then pour over the Pimm’s and lemonade. Give it a good stir to blend, then add the fruit, cucumber and mint sprigs. Pour yourself a glass and garnish with a fresh lemon wedge for that perfect balmy kick.

6. Margarita – Mexico

margarita cocktail flowers mexico

If you’ve ever been to a bar, you’ve probably tasted the iconic margarita. It’s a blissful blend of tequila, citrus juice, and triple sec or Cointreau, and pairs perfectly with those tacos and nachos we can’t stop making in lockdown.

While no one really knows exactly who invented this classic drink, one popular story is that Carlos “Danny” Herrera, owner of Tijuana restaurant Rancho La Gloria, created the drink in 1938 for one of his dancers who said she was allergic to all spirits except tequila. The result? A deliciously citrusy drink that everyone can now make at home.

Margarita recipe

Ingredients:
35ml Reposado Tequila
20ml Cointreau
35ml fresh lime juice
ice cubes
lime wedge, to garnish

How to make it:
Pour the tequila, cointreau and lime juice into a cocktail shaker or a blender. Add a handful of ice cubes and shake vigorously (or blend) for 10-15 seconds. Take a glass and dampen half the rim with water, then dip it in salt. Strain the tequila mixture into the glass, and garnish with a lime wedge. Salud!

7. Singapore Sling – Singapore

singapore sling cocktail raffles hotel singapore
Image credit: James Cridland / Wikimedia Commons

If you’re looking to up your cocktail-making game, you’ve got to try the Singapore Sling. The cocktail was created at the iconic Raffles Hotel in Singapore in 1915 by Ngiam Tong Boon, a bartender who wanted to create a drink for women, who weren’t supposed to drink alcohol in public at the time.

The result was a colourful, fruity cocktail that looked like juice, but was cleverly mixed with hidden gin and other liqueurs. It’s now one of the world’s best cocktails and although we can’t head to Raffles right now to taste this classic drink (where the tradition is to enjoy a Singapore Sling with peanuts and drop the shells where you sit), we can still recreate it at home.

Singapore Sling recipe

Ingredients:
25ml dry gin
few drops Angostura bitters
25ml Benedictine
25ml cherry brandy
50ml pineapple juice
25ml lime juice
sparkling water to top up
handful of ice, to serve
1 thin slice of fresh pineapple, to garnish
cocktail cherry (optional garnish)

How to make it:
Pour the gin, Benedictine and cherry brandy into a mixing jug. Add the ice and Angostura bitters, then stir until the outside of the jug feels cold. Pour the mixture into a glass, then add the lime juice and pineapple juice and stir. Top with sparkling water and garnish with a slice of pineapple and a cocktail cherry. Bliss!

8. Caipirinha – Brazil

caipirinha brazil world's best cocktails

If you like mojitos, you’re going to love the caipirinha, the funky Brazilian cousin of the mojito. Instead of using rum, a caipirinha is made with cachaça, Brazil’s national spirit, a rum-like liquor with a peppy sugarcane juice kick.

While no one knows the exact origins of the cocktail, it was thought to have been created as a home remedy during the Spanish flu outbreak in the early 19th century, as the limes provided a good dose of Vitamin C. We’re not doctors (and definitely don’t condone this drink as a remedy for any flu) but we think it can’t hurt to enjoy a caipirinha or two at home. Next stop – caipirinhas on the beaches of Rio!

Caipirinha recipe

Ingredients:
200ml cachaça
6 tbsp golden caster sugar
2 limes, chopped into wedges, plus extra lime wedges to serve (optional)
crushed ice

How to make it:
Put the lime wedges and sugar in a jug, then use a muddler (or the end of a rolling pin, or a pestle and mortar) to crush them together. Try to get as much juice out of the lime wedges as possible and mix it with the sugar to create a syrup. Take the lime peel out, then pour the syrup and cachaça into a glass, and top with crushed ice. Garnish with a lime wedge for an extra citrus buzz.

9. French 75 – France

french 75 cocktail france world's best cocktails

Sure you could drink a mimosa or even just a glass of sparkling wine. But we’re here to turn it up a notch with a French 75, the elegant cocktail of France and one of the world’s best cocktails. It even starred in Casablanca, the romantic film set in Morocco, so channel your inner Humphrey Bogart, get the cheese and charcuterie out, and create something magical with a smooth and citrusy French 75.

French 75 recipe

Ingredients:
50ml gin
Champagne, to taste
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sugar syrup
lemon zest
ice

How to make it:
Pour the sugar syrup, lemon juice, sugar syrup and gin into a cocktail shaker or a blender, then fill up with ice and shake (or blend). Strain the mixture into a champagne flute, top up with champagne, then stir gently. Garnish with a slice of lemon zest and toast to your classiest cocktail yet!

10. Pisco Sour – Peru

pisco sour cocktail peru world's best cocktails
Image credit: Neeta Lind / Flickr

Both Chile and Peru claim rights to the creation of the Pisco Sour, but most accounts agree that it’s Peru’s national drink – as well as one of the world’s best cocktails! It’s thought to have been invented in a Lima bar in the 1920s by American ex-pat bartender Victor Morris, and with a frothy flavour that’s sweet, tart and earthy all at once, this is one cocktail that’s worth fighting over. And while we can’t head to Peru right now to try this world famous cocktail, we can make it in our own kitchen first!

Pisco Sour recipe

Ingredients:
50ml Pisco
1 egg white
50ml sugar syrup
50ml lime juice
few drops of Angostura bitters
ice
lime slices, to garnish (optional)

How to make it:
Pour the Pisco, sugar syrup and lime juice into a blender or cocktail shaker with the egg white and add a handful of ice. Blend for 10 seconds or shake vigorously for 30 secs, then strain into glasses. Add a few drops of Angostura bitters to the top of the cocktail, then garnish with a lime slice and enjoy the frothy goodness.

11. Mai Tai – Hawaii

mai tai hawaii world's best cocktails

One sip of this gorgeously tropical cocktail and you’ll be instantly transported to the faraway islands of Hawaii. With a balmy blend of rum and fruits, you’ll find many variations of the classic Mai Tai, but we’ve got you covered with a traditional and delicious recipe to really channel those Hawaii beach vibes.

Mai Tai recipe

Ingredients:
2 tbsp white rum
2 tbsp dark rum
1 tbsp grenadine
2 tbsp triple sec
1 tbsp orgeat or almond syrup (you can order it online)
juice of half a lime
maraschino cherry

How to make it:
Pour all the ingredients in a jug and stir, or shake them in a cocktail shaker. Add a few cubes of ice, pour the mixture into a glass, and garnish with a cherry. Take a sip, close your eyes and you can almost feel the sand beneath your toes!

Have you tried making any of the world’s best cocktails at home? Let us know your favourite cocktail in the comments below!

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