The Best Local Drinks for International Happy Hour – Part 2

In part one of this roundup of favorite adult beverages, we listed 13 cocktails that are the favorite drinks around the world. There are many more national specialty drinks, so this “Extended Bar” rounds out the top 25 best local drinks from some of our favorites places to visit.

International happy hour

Malibu Sunset recipe here.

 14. Jamaica: Rum

Since the 1870s, Jamaica has been winning awards for the quality of its rum, an alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane byproducts such as molasses or sugarcane juice. There are two main types: light and dark (dependent upon how long it was aged in oak barrels), and the popular spirit is used as a base in many famous cocktails, including the Mojito, the Piña Colada, the Daiquiri, and the Mai Tai.

Rum has famous associations with the Royal Navy and piracy and has also been used as a medium of economic exchange. It was used to fund slavery, organized crime, and military insurgencies like the American Revolution.

15. Japan: Sake (Nihonshu)

With its origin dating back to the 3rd century, sake (known as nihonshu in Japan) is often called the “oldest spirit in the world”. This “rice wine” is made from fermented rice, has a higher alcohol content than most wines (typically 10-20%), and can be served hot or cold.

16. London: Gin

Original photo (and recipe!) here
Gin is a spirit that is meant to be mixed and is used in more cocktails (over 700!) than any other liquor. Distilled from juniper berries and flavored with a secret combination of botanicals (including anise, cinnamon, orange peel, coriander, and angelica root), Gin is enjoyed worldwide due to its versatility, as well as the popularity of the Martini and Gin and Tonic.

International happy hour17. Mexico: Tequila

Tequila is made from the blue agave plant, which grows in volcanic soil in the city of Tequila, in Jalisco, Mexico. Mexico has the exclusive international right to the word, so anything made outside of the region cannot legally be called tequila!

A popular cocktail made with the spirit is called the Paloma (Spanish for “dove”), and is made with tequila, grapefruit-flavored soda, fresh lime juice (or a lime wedge), and agave nectar, and is served in a glass rimmed with salt.

International happy hour18. Peru: Pisco Sour

The Pisco Sour, a cocktail typical of South American cuisine, is claimed by both Chile and Peru as their national drink. This popular cocktail was created by an American bartender in Lima, Peru in the early 1920s, and is composed of Pisco (an amber-colored grape brandy), lime juice, egg white, syrup, Angostura bitters, and ice. The Chilean version swaps the syrup for sugar and omits the bitters. The Pisco Sour’s smooth, nearly non-alcoholic flavor deceives many first-timers, who may quickly become intoxicated!

International happy hour19. Puerto Rico: Piña Colada

The Piña Colada (“strained pineapple” in Spanish) is a sweet cocktail made with rum, cream of coconut, and pineapple juice. Served blended or shaken with ice, it is often garnished with a pineapple wedge, a maraschino cherry, or both.
The first Piña Colada was created by Puerto Rican bartender Ramon Marrero in 1954, while he was working at the Caribe Hilton International Hotel. Marrero’s goal was to create a cocktail that captured all the flavors of Puerto Rico in a single glass. We think he succeeded, and the Puerto Rican government must have agreed! They declared the Piña Colada the official drink of Puerto Rico in 1978.

20. Russia: Vodka

Vodka, composed primarily of water and ethanol, is made by the distillation of fermented grains or potatoes. Standard vodkas are 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof) and the spirit is traditionally drunk neat. It is also commonly used in cocktails like the vodka martini, Bloody Mary, vodka tonic, Screwdriver, Sex on the Beach, and White Russian.

international happy hour21. Scotland: Scotch Whisky

The term ‘whisky’ comes from the Scottish-Gaelic term uisge beatha, meaning “water of life”. Scotch whisky has been brewed in Scotland since the late 18th century and is made from malt barley, wheat, or rye. The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 require that Scotch is aged in oak barrels for a minimum of three years, and divide it into five categories: Single Malt, Single Grain, Blended, Blended Malt, and Blended Grain.

international happy hour

The “Best Ever Sangria” recipe here.

22. Spain: Sangria/Tinto de Verano

Sangria is typically made with red (or white) wine, chopped fruit such as apples, oranges, lemons, and berries, a splash of brandy, and a sweetener, such as honey, sugar, syrup, or orange juice. Especially popular in the summer months, this iconic drink is often served in pitchers and is named after the Spanish word for blood, “sangre”, due to its deep red color.

Tinto de Verano, which literally translates to “red wine of summer”, is also popular throughout Spain, but especially so in the South. This refreshing drink is easy to make, consisting only of one part red wine and one part gaseosa (a general term for carbonated beverages, the most popular choice being carbonated lemonade).

23. Thailand: Mekhong

The “Official Spirit of Thailand” is often thought to be a type of whiskey; however, a combination of 95% sugar cane/molasses and 5% rice, Mekhong is actually closer to rum. This distilled, amber colored spirit is blended with a secret recipe of indigenous Thai herbs and spices, producing its distinct aroma and flavor.

international happy hour24. Turkey: Raki

This non-sweet, anise-flavored spirit is made predominantly with fruit, including apricots, plums, and grapes (honey and herbs can be added as well). Typically served with a variety of hot and cold appetizers, Raki is known locally as aslan sütü (“lion’s milk”) due to its cloudy appearance when mixed with water.

Original photo here

25. USA (Southern States): Bourbon Whiskey

Bourbon is an American whiskey made primarily from corn. This barrel-aged spirit has been distilled since the 18th century and was declared the “National Spirit of America” in 1964. Bourbon can be made anywhere in the U.S. but many argue that the six distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail produce the finest elixir.

If we overlooked your favorite international cocktail, be sure to share it in the comments below so we can be on the lookout for other national treats as we travel. And if you want to taste any of these favorites in their homeland, contact the vacation advisors at Covington Travel and let us take you there.



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