It’s no secret that I love a fruity cocktail. In fact most of my family and friends will forever relate the Piña Colada song to me because every time a cocktail, pineapple, or just a drink in general is mentioned, I start singing the tune – with Hawaiian style dance moves included of course. Yes, I like Piña Colada.
As it’s almost Christmas and I’m sure the celebrations are already in full swing, I thought I would add to the festivities by sharing some of the best and most popular drinks from around the world that we’ve come across on our travels. They’re not all cocktails – I promise – and they’re not all alcoholic. Unfortunately, Piña Colada isn’t on this list (sigh) because I’ve not yet been to Puerto Rico, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying what the rest of the world has to offer.
So I’ll start off with the very best country for cocktails…
Mojito and Daiquiri in Cuba
Havana is a cocktail lover’s dream and I’m not exaggerating when I say that we worked our way around the city trying all the different bars and cocktails. The Mojito and the Daiquiri both originated in Cuba – one bar had so many different flavours of Daiquiri that we would have needed a lot longer on our trip to try them all – but the Mojito has to be the most popular. Glasses full of Havana Club rum and mint leaves are lined up along bars ready to be sipped by eager customers (i.e. us) and the vibrant Cuban atmosphere just insists that they all be drunk.
Pisco Sour in Peru
Containing Pisco liquor, lime or lemon juice, syrup, egg white and bitters, the Peruvian Pisco Sour is, as the name suggests, an extremely sour concoction. I prefer my cocktails to be a whole lot sweeter than this but sitting in a little wooden cabin in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest, with the sound of birds chirping and insects buzzing outside, the drink fitted in perfectly with our Peruvian surroundings.
Beer in Belgium
I’m not usually a fan of beer but as they say…when in Rome…or, in this case, when in Brussels. There is such a huge variety of beer to choose from in the city with one bar offering a ridiculous amount of 3,162 different types of beer when we visited. The different flavours gave the beer a fruity kick and a bit of fizz and it meant I could actually handle a couple of glasses.
Although Belgium may be famous for its beer and it’s chocolate, these two should never be put together. I may not have been so keen on the chocolate beer but the cherry and peach were easily my favourites.
Chai in India
While Chai may not be an alcoholic drink, it is so hugely popular in India that it had to be included. Whichever part of the country we were travelling in we would spot the locals sipping and slurping on a hot cup of Chai (or Masala Chai). They drink it so often it’s like their version of water! Made with black tea and a mixture of herbs and spices, it’s an extremely smooth and delicious drink and can be nice and creamy with a splash of milk.
Sangria in Spain
Bursting with red wine, juice and plenty of chopped fruit, Sangria has to be my all time favourite alcoholic drink (except for Piña Colada of course). It’s the staple drink in Spain and Gibraltar and its low price means that it’s drunk by the jug-full by tourists and locals alike. Sipping a cold glass of Sangria by the pool or on the beach is my idea of paradise.
Kava in Fiji
Traditionally drunk during ceremonies and celebrations throughout the Pacific Islands, Kava is made from grinding the root of a plant into a large bowl and mixing with water. We had the opportunity to taste some when we arrived in the village of the island we were staying on but it wasn’t until after we’d tried it that we found out it often has narcotic effects and can be used as a sedative!
Sitting round in a circle, a hollowed out coconut shell was passed around and we each took a sip of the Kava, clapping once after we did so. It tasted earthy and bitter and nothing like the delicious sparkling wine that most Westerners would relate to Cava. It made my tongue and mouth completely numb and while it’s not something that I would particularly like to drink again, I loved getting to experience this piece of local Fijian life.
Guinness in Ireland
As with the beer, this isn’t something that I would usually drink but when we visited the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin’s most popular attraction, of course we had to try it. It wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be but I did only manage to drink a quarter of a pint of the dark and heavy Guinness. I’m told that it tastes a lot better in Ireland than it does anywhere else in the world!
Mint tea in Morocco
Mint tea in Morocco is just as popular as Chai is in India. Served in a traditional Moroccan teapot, we were treated to afternoon tea Moroccan style every day when we were in Marrakech. Despite being in a North African desert climate, the hot drink was actually extremely refreshing and I found myself looking forward to a cup every day.
Wine in Italy
I wasn’t a big fan of wine until I visited Italy where the quality and taste just seems so much better than it is at home, especially when paired with some mouth-watering Italian food. Whether it was due to the great quality or simply because we were in such a beautiful location, I never seemed to wake up with a hangover no matter how much I had drunk the night before!
Caipirinha in Brazil
This mixture of Cachaça, sugar and lime is quite a sour cocktail but the sugar sprinkled around the edge of the glass gives it an added sweet kick. Sitting on Copacabana Beach watching the World Cup live on a big screen last year, it was only right that I had one of these in my hand, although just a couple are enough as it’s possibly one of the strongest cocktails I’ve tasted!
Amarula in South Africa
A cream liqueur from South Africa, Amarula is very similar to Baileys but with a creamier and smoother flavour. Drunk on its own over ice, or mixed with Creme de Menthe as a shot, or a splash in hot chocolate, whatever form it comes in this is one of my favourite drinks from one of my favourite places in the world.
At any London or other European Christmas market, because it’s Christmas and it’s kind of obligatory.
So wherever you are around the world…Salute/Cin cin/Santé/Prost/Sláinte/Cheers!
Do you like Piña Colada (yes, I am singing it again)?! What’s your favourite drink from around the world? Let me know in the comments below or at: