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Celebrating World Cocktail Day With 10 Drinks From Around The Globe

By: Faria Ferdous Ellesson

world cocktail day 10 drinks

Did you know that every year, on May 13th, the whole world gathers in celebration of the cocktail? From its humble beginnings – first recorded in 1978 as a brief mention in the publication of London’s Morning Post – the cocktail is now enjoyed in countless, exciting, innovative ways across the entire globe. This World Cocktail Day, we invite you to mark this special moment with us and create some cocktails to toast the occasion. Join us, as cocktail connoisseur Adam Hussein takes us around the world with these 10 tantalising concoctions.

Adam Jamie Hussein is a world-class drinks professional with a career that spans the globe from Australia to Britain. Along the way, he’s picked up his characteristic creativity, appreciation for luxury guest experiences, and a love for sharing his wealth of knowledge, which inspired him to write the acclaimed cocktail book, “The Rise of The Bartender.”

The Mexican Margarita 

mexican margarita

First stop - Mexico. Let’s head to one of its dazzling beaches, with the company of wonderful friends, the sound of the marimba being played in the distance, Margarita in hand. Nothing’s quite as refreshing as that first sip of a cool Margarita on a lovely, balmy day. This world-famous cocktail has been a summer favourite for almost a century since its inception. And it’s no wonder why. The brilliant blend of tequila, orange liqueur and lime, will colour your palate with a rainbow of flavour.

“Agave spirits are seeing a rise in popularity, so it’s no surprise that a Margarita comes top of the list. I personally prefer using Blanco tequila, as it has a freshness even slightly aged tequila doesn’t have. To elevate this drink further, I’d suggest using some agave syrup to complement the naturally occurring flavours from the tequila and round out your cocktail.” 

The Singapore Sling 

singapore sling

Now, let’s sail across the Pacific for a seat at the bar of the Raffles Hotel, home of the Singapore Sling. Invented in 1915 – when the etiquette of the day ruled that women weren’t to be seen drinking alcohol – this discreet drink was disguised to look like an innocent juice. Much like the bustling streets of its namesake, it’s abundantly diverse – with refreshing gin botanicals, the zesty zing of lemon, richness of cherry brandy, generously herbaceous Bénédictine, and sweet mouth-puckering tartness of Grenadine, you’ll be going on an adventure.

“This cocktail is full of potent flavours that add depth and character, like grenadine, which is made from pomegranate juice, cooked down with sugar to release a sweet-tart syrup; and Benedictine which adds complexity as a herbal liqueur that’s flavoured with twenty-seven flowers, berries, herbs, roots and spices. To garnish this drink, I prefer to mix it up with a lemon wedge, maraschino cherry and a mint sprig.”

The Italian Negroni  

italian negroni

For the ultimate Italian cocktail, there are few contenders that could dethrone the classic Negroni. Some might say that the bitter-sweet, full-bodied, colourful character of this delicious cocktail is a delightful reflection of the passionate Italian temperament. Best enjoyed after working hours as an aperitivo, alongside some light nibbles, before moving on to an authentic Italian antipasti, this cocktail is a glowing celebration of Campari, vermouth, and gin, with a hint of orange.

“I do prefer to have a little more gin in my Negroni, should you want to experiment with the recipe. And when it comes to garnishing, the perfect orange twist is my accompaniment of choice – the oils from the orange peel really balance out the bitterness from the Campari. If you want to change it from the inside out, try adding two dashes of orange bitters to the mixing glass when making this cocktail. Delicious.”

The Moscow Mule  

moscow mule

While the Moscow Mule wasn’t invented in Moscow, or even Russia for that matter, it’s the vodka that gives it this moniker. Typically served in a distinctive copper cup, the Moscow Mule has been a signature serve of Smirnoff No. 21 since the cocktail was first created in the USA. In this classic recipe from the cocktail creator himself, crisp vodka gets a spicy kick of ginger, awakened by the astringency of lime, and balanced with a dash of bitters that bring the contrasting flavours together for a truly cohesive cocktail.  

“For the perfect Moscow Mule, I believe that you can get the best results by first mixing the vodka and lime, straining it into a glass, adding 3-4 dashes of Angostura bitters, then slowly topping it with ginger beer. This method gives an amazing aesthetic and really adds to the overall balance of the drink. A natural garnish for this cocktail is a big mint sprig with a lime wedge.” 

The Cuban Mojito    

cuban mojito

Straight from Havana, the Mojito is a Cuban cocktail that’s loved across the whole world for its sweet, sunny disposition, the true taste of sunshine. Rumoured as Ernest Hemingway’s favourite tipple, one can understand how this curious cocktail would cause an outpouring of boundless creativity. The delicate balance of white rum, lime, mint and sugar, conjures up those summery, carefree feelings of aestival joy, where anything’s possible.

“One thing I will say about this cocktail is: do not use lime wedges. When you muddle lime wedges, they release bitter oils from the skin that then require more balancing in the cocktail. Using fresh lime juice allows for more consistency and better flavour. As for the mint, gently slap it on the back of your hand to open up the essential oils from the leaves.”

The American Martini Cocktail 

american martini cocktail

The Martini is one of those drinks that will never go out of style. It’s cool, classy and confident, having graced the lips of everyone from Winston Churchill to Audrey Hepburn. Most popular, perhaps, during the Roaring Twenties, when glamour and prosperity were in abundance. It’s seen many variations and innovations since then, but the classic Martini cocktail is an American invention made with just gin and vermouth. Garnishes are optional. A true celebration of gin’s fresh botanicals, aromatic juniper, peppery coriander and citrusy elegance.  

“When it comes to martinis my top tip is; if using vodka, add one dash of orange bitters, and if using gin then leave the bitters out. Vodka allows the bitters to carry and it truly adds to the overall flavour, but I think they get lost in gin. When it comes to garnish; a vodka Martini cocktail can use lemon or olives, but for a gin Martini cocktail, I prefer only using an olive.” 

The French 75  

french 75 cocktail

Take a trip to France with this Champagne cocktail, that dates all the way back to World War I. Being named after the famous French artillery, the Canon de 75, was a cheeky suggestion that the combination of gin, Champagne, lemon and sugar, would give you as much of a jolt as its eponymous cannonry. Though not nearly as aggressive, this Parisian cocktail knocks about the palate excitement. The gin provides refreshing botanicals, the lemon adds acidity, the sugar softly sweetens, and the sparkles from Champagne add a sense of pure jubilation.

“The original French 75 recipe consisted of gin, apple brandy and grenadine, but I personally love this development. Its build is so clean, with gin, lemon, sugar and champagne – the champagne is quite dry which balances out the sweetness from the sugar syrup. There are several variations of this cocktail too with the addition of Bourbon, Tequila, Vodka and Campari, if you want to explore it further.”

The Irish Coffee   

irish coffee cocktail

Few things go together as well as coffee and whiskey, which is why you’ll find it being ordered as a digestif after a decadent meal all over the world. If you're not sure on whether you’d like to finish your meal with a dessert, a coffee, or a cocktail, this creamy delight covers all the bases for that final course. In this simple recipe, all you have to do is brew the coffee and add Baileys Original Irish Cream Liqueur – it’s the perfect blend of true Irish whiskey and the ultimate Irish cream.

“Rule number one, always preheat the glass you are using for your Irish Coffee - think of it like using a warm plate for warm food. Make sure the coffee is rich enough to carry the flavour of the whisky, and that you sweeten it sufficiently. When it comes to garnishing, the classic is grated nutmeg, which adds to the overall aroma of the drink and therefore the taste. But you can also swap it out for grated cinnamon or grated dark chocolate.”

The Indian Hot Toddy  

hot toddy cocktail

Did you know that the humble Hot Toddy was invented in India? The warm whisky cocktail was allegedly first created during the rule of the British Raj in India around 1610, derived from the Hindi word for a fermented drink, “taddy”. It’s no surprise really, considering the spicy origins of this comforting cup. These days, there are many variations, but the key ingredients remain the same: whiskey, water, honey and lemon. Cloves usually feature, whilst some recipes also call for cinnamon, but you can experiment with spices and choose your own special blend.  

“Much like the Irish Coffee, I highly recommend preheating your vessel before serving this drink. Warm drink = warm glass. This drink is a true and tested classic, the clove and the lemon could however be swapped for something like orange and cinnamon (a personal favourite hack of mine) should you decide to change it up.”

The British Gimlet  

british gimlet

Quintessentially British, the Gimlet is a perfect harmony of sweet and sour. The recipe follows a classic combination of spirit, citrus and sugar, a mixture that works well for many cocktails because of the play between acidity and sweetness. When the right balance is achieved, the drink is neither sweet nor sour, but tartly refreshing, allowing the base spirit to shine through. Traditionally a gin cocktail, this Gimlet recipe calls for an alcohol-free alternative, using the exact same botanicals found in London Dry Gin.

“The Gimlet, the perfectly balanced cocktail that created its own ‘family’ of drink. The fresh and clean style of the cocktail makes it exceptionally approachable and interchangeable. When it comes to serving this drink, I highly recommend using a frozen glass or a very chilled glass and drinking it whilst cold, even if you need to swap the glass halfway through!”

Over to you 

Now that we’ve travelled the world of cocktails, it’s your turn to bring them to life. Invite your friends over and celebrate World Cocktail Day this year with these 10 delicious recipes. An evening sure to be remembered, as you dance through the Americas, jet over to Europe and continue the adventure in Asia. Take your guests on a tour around the globe from the comfort of home, for an unforgettable soirée. 

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