As you lay on a beach in a far away land, the sun blazing down glorious warmth and the cool sea air gently swirling around you, you're bound to get a craving for a holiday cocktail or two! We've delved into some popular choices which pair perfectly with any culinary adventure, or simply enjoyed on their own after a busy day living the villa lifestyle.
Sample local tipples that tickle the taste buds, warm your throat and leave you with that holiday glow. They're not just a treat for the senses – destination drinks are packed with tradition and follow proud production rituals. Experience an insight into the local way of life as you enjoy a glass or two...
This well-loved fruity punch is the heart and soul of Spain, poured lovingly by locals from a hefty jug. Made using a combination of red wine, brandy, syrup and fruit, it's often the centre stage of a Spanish sojourn. There are different variations served throughout Spain's shores. The best typically have a base of good Spanish wine creating a deep authentic flavour. It's the perfect complement to a tasty tapas feast! A jug of Sangria goes down delightfully as the sun sets over the horizon from your villa terrace.
It may be made from grape skins, seeds and stalks left over from the wine-making process – but don't let that put you off. The clean and fragrant flavour of Grappa has made it a popular after-dinner serve. Enjoyed either as a shot or with an espresso, it's a tempting tipsy treat! There are hundreds of producers throughout Italy – so take your pick from plenty of variations. Aged Grappa is best served at room temperature, whereas a younger pour is better chilled. Sip this delicately in the warmth of Tuscany, or the tranquil setting of Sardinia.
"Ouzo makes the spirit" is the Greek saying. Held close to many local hearts, Ouzo is enjoyed as an aperitif with liquorice notes giving it a distinctive taste. First poured as a clear liquid, it creates a curious cloudy effect once water is added. Serve it up in shots for a memorable evening. Ouzo is also used in food dishes to add an aniseed flavour. Why not get creative in the villa kitchen and add a dash to your own Greek culinary creation?
The brewing of rum is seen as an art, one that the Caribbean has mastered to perfection! Locals pride themselves on inducing a sense of quality and sophistication with every mouthful. Take your pick from white, gold and dark classics from the rum artist's palette. The taste brings images of lazy days on sun-soaked beaches, as you relax to the sound of reggae beats fading into the horizon. A rich history sits behind many well-known brands, with roots in Barbados, Jamaica and beyond.
We've left the best (or should that be zest) until last! If anything says 'Italy', it's Limoncello. Lemon skins are infused in alcohol, creating a deep yellow colour and zesty flavour. With its origins stemming from the Amalfi Coast, it's traditionally served as a delicious after dinner digestivo. So pour a glass and drink in the aromas while on holiday along this coastal masterpiece. Even at home, the tempting zing of this fruity liqueur will bring back precious memories each time you enjoy a sip after an Italian feast.
Forget about a skinny hazelnut latté with two shots and whipped cream! Coffee in Italy is stripped back, traditional and seamless. Nothing is overcomplicated. Expect a memorable deep flavour and rich aroma. Enjoy your cup in a quirky side street hideaway alongside locals. Takeaway cups are nowhere to be seen. Italians have influenced the worldwide adoration of this beverage, so immersing yourself in the religious coffee culture from within the cosy café walls is an experience to be treasured.
Made using sugar, water and tiger nuts, Horchata is a traditional Spanish beverage. A flavour similar to rice pudding makes it a popular drink at merienda, the late afternoon snack intended to carry you over from lunch to a late dinner. Dunking sweet pastries into your Horchata creates the perfect pairing. Served throughout Spain with early roots in Valencia, it's non-alcoholic and suitable for vegetarians. Those with a nut allergy can also tuck in – tiger nuts are actually a type of plant! Sample this delightful delicacy for a taste of Spanish tradition.
This is arguably the most quintessentially French cocktail you can imagine. Using just two ingredients, crème de cassis and champagne makes its simplicity a defining factor. This is extravagance and elegance in a glass!
Although originally made with white wine instead of champagne this cocktail has seen a resurgence with more bars serving this beautifully tinted drink. Named after Felix Kir, a Catholic priest, mayor of Dijon and decorated member of the French resistance. When Nazi soldiers marched into Dijon, Burgundy, in 1940, many local officials fled. Kir remained, helping more than 4,000 prisoners of war escape from a nearby camp.
As legend has it, when Nazis confiscated Burgundy's iconic red wines, Kir devised his namesake cocktail from what was left. He combined the available dry white wine, Aligoté, with blackcurrant liqueur in an attempt to mimic the colour of Burgundy's classic reds. This is a classic cocktail perfect for sipping at the bar.
To make the tasteful tipple at home, all you need is:
9 cl Dry White Wine (for a Kir) or Champagne (for a Kir Royale)
1 cl Crème de Cassis
Directions: Pour Crème de Cassis into glass, top up with Champagne/white wine.
Narrowing Italy's delicious cocktails down to just one is a little tricky. With so many wonderful creations available, like the Bellini or Aperol Spritz, competition is at its peak! The Negroni (which has seen a surge in popularity in recent years) is a tongue-tingling concoction for those looking for something sweet that still packs a punch. An Italian classic, its sophisticated casual charm is sure to get you in the party mood. Perfect on hot, Mediterranean summer days lounging by the pool or partying at the local bar.
The story goes that 100 years ago, an Italian Count by the name of Camillo Negroni asked for something a little stronger than his typical cocktail, the Americano. His friend and bartender Fosco Scarselli obliged and by replacing the soda water of the Americano with Gin, the Negroni came to be. The rest as they say was history and has only grown in popularity, enjoyed in bars the world over.
To make this century old worldwide favourite, you'll need:
3 cl Gin
3 cl Campari
3 cl Sweet Red Vermouth
Directions: Pour all ingredients directly into old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Stir gently. Garnish with half orange slice.
Next we head to the Caribbean where every cocktail tastes like paradise. The beauty of this cocktail is that you don't have to make it a glass at a time, this is the perfect punch bowl making it wonderful to share with friends. The origin of this cocktail has long been disputed. One claim refers to the Planter's Hotel in St. Louis and another tells of a Jamaican planter's wife concocting the cocktail to cool down their workers. Whatever the truth may be, this classic is distinctly Caribbean.
"Two of sour, one and a half of sweet, three of strong and four of weak" was how the cocktail was described in 1908 in the New York Times. Luckily, someone has translated this poem into a tangible recipe that is recognised by the International Bartenders Association. Wonderfully sweet this is a great punch to make for parties or (even better) to sip laying on the beautiful white sands of Jamaica.
For this wonderful taste of the Caribbean you will need;
4.5 cl Dark rum
3.5 cl Fresh orange juice
3.5 cl Fresh pineapple juice
2 cl Fresh lemon juice
1 cl Grenadine
1 cl Sugar syrup
3 to 4 dashes Angostura bitters
Directions: Pour all ingredients, except the bitters, into shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Pour into large glass, filled with ice. Add Angostura bitters on top. Garnish with cocktail cherry and pineapple.
Did you know Cyprus has its own national cocktail? Although not a common occurrence the popularity and history of this drink has given Cyprus the right to claim the Brandy Sour.
First developed at the Forest Park Hotel, in the hill-resort of Plátres, the Brandy sour was made as a way of disguising alcohol as an iced tea for the young King Farouk of Egypt, who often stayed at the hotel during his frequent visits to the island.
The emphasis here is on using Cyprus Brandy which is typically sweeter than, and milder, as Cognac or Armagnac. This is a beloved cocktail and you can still go to the Forest Park Hotel and have the real deal for yourself.
For a truly authentic taste you'll need the following:
50ml Cyprus brandy
15ml Fresh Lemon Juice
15ml Sugar Syrup
2-4 drops of Angostura/Cypriot Cock Drops Bitters
Soda water (or lemonade)
Directions: Add the Cyprus Brandy, Lemon Juice, Sugar Syrup and Bitters into a tall glass with ice. Stir thoroughly and then top up with soda water.
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