Do you ever think to yourself, “Man, it would be so nice to go out for drinks this Friday,” or “I wish I could take a trip overseas,” until you realize that’s not exactly the most practical or safe thing to do right now?
I know I do. Who isn’t lowkey losing it these days? Though we may be restricted on how far we can go and what we can do while we’re out, there are other ways to enjoy the world that don’t involve leaving your house.
Think about it. What’s the one thing that everyone wants to try when they leave home? Foreign cuisine. It’s admittedly harder to get a taste of Thailand from your living room, but it’s not impossible.
In fact, these six cocktail recipes from around the world will take your tastebuds on an extended vacation while making your Instagram followers wonder when you picked up mixologist-level skills.
1. Pimm’s Cup
If you’re a Swiftie, you might want to have Taylor Swift’s London Boy playing in the background for this one.
Pimm’s Cup, sometimes called Pimm’s No. 1 Cup, is a drink from rainy London made by a man named James Pimm. Pimm was the owner of an oyster bar in London so, naturally, he came up with his own drink and slapped his name on it. Pimm’s Cup is speculated to have been invented sometime between 1823 and 1840 making it a bit of an old-school cocktail.
It’s actually just the first of six different Pimm’s cocktails, each of which featured different alcohol bases. No.2 used Scotch whisky, No.3 used brandy, and No.4 had rum while Pimm’s 5 and 6 employed rye whiskey and vodka, respectively.
Pimm’s Cup is a sweet and spicy cocktail with fruity flavors thanks to the inclusion of cucumber, orange, and mint. If you’re a tennis fan, it gets even better: Pimm’s Cup is the signature drink of the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
Barefeet in the Kitchen has a recipe for Pimm’s Cup that you can try out here.
Let’s leave London for the sunny beaches of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
Caipirinha‘s name clues us in on its origins. It’s a diminutive word meaning something along the lines of “girl from the countryside,” a name that has led many to believe it comes from the countryside of São Paulo. Some even claim that it came from Alentejo, Portugal around the 1910s and was used as a cure for the Spanish flu.
Did it work? Most likely not. But even in its original form, the caipirinha has always tasted like summer. Before it had a name, it was a spicy, sweet, and citrusy mix of lime, honey, garlic, and cachaça — a clear liquor made from fermented sugarcane juice. Its alcohol by volume is regulated by law to be between 38 and 48 percent. It’s the spirit of the caipirinha and Brazil’s drinking culture both figuratively and literally.
The current version of caipirinha hasn’t changed much from its origins, though many recipes today skip the honey and garlic in favor of sugar and more ice. It just goes to show that the little mint green lady from the countryside has grown from folk medicine to a widely enjoyed cocktail.
All you need to start playing mixologist with this Brazilian cocktail are limes, sugar, ice, and, of course, cachaça. You can find the steps for making it over at Laylita’s Recipes. I don’t know about you, but I have a feeling it would taste great with their shrimp and mango ceviche.
Tired of being bored at home? Try a new coping mechanism: imagine you’re on the shores of the Costa del Sol. Just the name has you feeling the ocean breeze and sunlight already.
There’s no better way to mentally transport yourself to the Spanish Riviera than with a cold glass of sangria. Though this fruit-packed cocktail looks like a fun explosion of colors and flavor, its name actually means “bloodletting” in Spanish, which is honestly pretty metal. Somewhat gruesome name aside, you can see why this Spanish cocktail got its name. Its bright red color comes from the fact that it’s a wine-based cocktail.
Why make a cocktail out of perfectly good wine? The answer goes back as far as 200 BC when Spanish people started mixing their wine with water to make it safer to drink. People with a little extra to spare began to add fruits and spices to their wine to give it more flavor. Fast forward a few centuries and the introduction of French wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot lead us to present-day Sangria.
This beautiful and refreshing summer cocktail is surprisingly easy to make and is perfect for aspiring mixologists. There are a lot of versions of this drink but let’s go with the classic.
This traditional sangria recipe from Minimalist Baker uses oranges, apples, brandy, and Spanish wine.
4. The Weng Weng
It’s time we took this cocktail trip to the other side of the globe.
While it’s not as popular as its milder cousin, the Singapore Sling, the name might ring a bell if you’ve been to Boracay once or twice.
This summery cocktail from the Philippines has an origin story shrouded in mystery. Some people will tell you it’s named after Weng Weng, the stage name of Ernesto de la Cruz, an actor with dwarfism that starred in many James Bond parodies around the early 1980s. Other people claim the name is an 80s Filipino slang term for “totally wasted” or that it’s named after the mixologist that made it. Who knows?
As a humble former college student who had her blood replaced entirely by weng weng by the time she was a senior, what I heard is this: it’s called a weng weng because that’s the sound an ambulance will make when it picks you up after having one too many glasses of the stuff.
The weng weng is simple enough to make. You throw everything in a tumble or a pitcher and mix it thoroughly. Done. The problem? When I say a weng weng calls for you to throw everything in a container, I mean it. This cocktail’s sweet and citrusy flavors, derived from the orange and pineapple juice, conceals its true contents: vodka, rum, tequila, brandy or whiskey (or both), and gin topped off with grenadine syrup.
It tastes like summers on Boracay and bad decisions in the morning. How I’m still alive is a mystery only the weng weng gods know the answer to. Foodie site Pepper has a recipe for weng weng that you can check out here.
5. Korean Soju + Anything Cocktails
Okay, maybe that was a bit too much.
If you’d like a simpler cocktail, the Ujjujju Melony cocktail might be more up your alley. This cute cocktail comes from South Korea and is a Korean drinking staple along with crispy fried chicken and the more popular Yakult and soju combo.
For those unfamiliar with Yakult, it’s a fermented yogurt drink that contains live cultures of lactic bacteria designed to help with digestion. It sounds like a strange drink to mix with alcohol but it’s surprisingly good. Not too different from the milk sodas already popular in many parts of East Asia. All you need for it is soju, a Korean rice wine similar to sake, Sprite, and Yakult. Take a peek at the recipe here.
Going back to Ujjujju Melony, it’s practically the same cocktail but with one major difference: instead of Yakult, you mix your soju with a Melona ice cream popsicle. The most common version uses the melon flavored Melona popsicle but you can try out other flavors as well. The recipe uses a shot of soju, a popsicle, and cider soda. Kuletos can show you how it’s done here.
6. Vietnamese Coffee Espresso Martini
Vietnam is one of the countries known for its love of coffee, along with Italy. The Southeast Asian nation even developed its local style of making coffee called cà phê sữa đá. Cà phê sữa đá mixes drip-filter coffee, made using a phin, with a generous amount of condensed milk topped off with a ton of ice. It’s the perfect afternoon coffee for hot Vietnamese afternoons.
But if you’d like to have your cà phê sữa đá on a hot night, this Vietnamese take on the Espresso Martini is what you need.
Don’t be intimidated by how it looks. It might seem like a drink only real mixologists and bartenders can make but the Vietnamese Coffee Espresso Martini simply swaps in an Italian espresso for phin filtered Vietnamese coffee.
If you don’t have a phin, you could probably get away with just using a French press. The only important thing to remember about the coffee is that it should be made from Robusta beans. Fun fact: Both Vietnamese coffee and Italian espresso use Robusta beans even though it’s much rarer than Arabica beans and has a harsher flavor.
You can try making your own Vietnamese Coffee Espresso Martini with this recipe.
A word of warning: Caffeine and alcohol make for a dangerous pair. Caffeine’s stimulant properties can interact negatively with the depressants of alcohol and mask its effects, tricking you into drinking more than you typically would. Enjoy your espresso martini, but stay alert.