Take a happy hour trip to places like Japan, Brazil, and Iceland with these cocktail recipes.

By Karen I. Chen
April 10, 2020
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Several weeks into a stay-at-home order, we’re having to get creative with ways to keep ourselves entertained. At times it feels like we're in Groundhog Day territory, where each day seems to be no different from the next and we find ourselves in the same sweatsuit for days on end (ain’t no shame in that game).

If you’re like me and suffer from constant wanderlust, this has been a trying time to say the least. Taking virtual trips to far-flung places like Saint Lucia, Easter Island, and Japan has given us a little reprieve from our living rooms. But here's my hot tip for a super easy way to make your day just a bit more interesting: Mix up a cocktail from a faraway locale. It can transport you in spirit (literally!) to those destinations, and help you feel (or at least pretend) like you’re not just still on your couch.

Sure, you could opt for a wine delivery service and call it a day. But with a lot more time on our hands, now is as good a time as ever to put that bar cart to good use. Plus, with digital liquor stores like Drizly and Minibar that offer same-day delivery right to your doorstep, there’s almost no excuse for not honing your bartending skills while you’re stuck at home.

Below, find 11 recipes to jazz up your happy hours with cocktails from around the world. Share with your friends and plan themed Zoom hangouts: Mercaditos and tacos, Aperol spritzes and pasta, French 75s with a cheese and charcuterie spread, Manhattans with your favorite local pizza delivery (you earned not cooking by making the cocktail).

Here’s to that first glorious trip post quarantine — when you’ll hopefully be able to order these drinks in their rightful place of origin. Until then, cheers and happy drinking at home!

Mexico: The Mercadito

Courtesy of Milagro Tequila

Ingredients:

  • 2 parts Milagro Silver tequila
  • ¾ part agave nectar (or simple syrup)
  • 1 part fresh lime juice
  • 4 cucumber slices
  • 1 pinch cilantro
  • 1 thin jalapeño slice

Instructions: Muddle cucumber, cilantro, and jalapeño slice in a cocktail shaker. Add remaining ingredients and shake vigorously with ice. Strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with cucumber or jalapeño slice.

Puerto Rico: Monkey Colada

Courtesy Monkey Shoulder Whisky

Ingredients:

  • 1 part Monkey Shoulder Malt Whisky
  • 1.5 parts fresh pineapple juice
  • 1 part coconut puree
  • .5 part coconut juice
  • 1 part fresh lime juice

Instructions: Add all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.

Iceland: Dill Martini

Courtesy Reyka Vodka

Ingredients:

  • 2 parts Reyka Vodka
  • .5- 1 part kosher pickle brine
  • Rinse dry vermouth // 10 mustard seeds from the pickle brine

Instructions: Combine all the ingredients into shaker with ice. Shake, strain, and garnish with kosher dill pickle and a sprig of dill.

Italy: Aperol Spritz

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Ingredients:

  • 3 parts prosecco
  • 2 parts Aperol
  • Splash of soda water
  • Garnish: Orange slice

Instructions: Pour all ingredients into a wine glass with ice and stir. Garnish with an orange slice.

Paris: French Cucumber 75

Courtesy Hendrick's Gin

Ingredients:

  • 1½ parts Hendrick's Gin
  • ½ part fresh lemon juice
  • ½ part simple syrup
  • 3 slices English cucumber
  • Dry sparkling wine or champagne

Instructions: In a mixing glass muddle Hendrick’s Gin, lemon, simple syrup, and cucumbers. Add ice, shake well, and fine strain into a flute. Top with sparkling wine.

Japan: Matcha Bee

Courtesy Reyka Vodka

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 parts Reyka Vodka
  • 1.5 parta matcha honey syrup*
  • ¾ part fresh lemon juice
  • Soda water for topping
  • Lemon peel for garnish

*Matcha honey syrup: Add 1 teaspoon of matcha green tea powder to 4 parts boiling water. Add in 4 parts honey and whisk. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Allow to cool and bottle.

Instructions: Combine ingredients, shake and double strain into a glass. Top with soda water. Garnish with lemon peel.

Panama: Breakfast in Panama City

Courtesy Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 parts Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
  • 1 part fresh pineapple juice
  • .75 fresh lime juice
  • .50 part coffee liqueur
  • .50  cold brew coffee
  • .50 Licor 43

Instructions: Combine all in shaker with ice, shake. Pour into rocks glass with one large cube. Garnish with pineapple leaves.

Brazil: Classic Caipirinha

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • .5-2 tsp sugar (adjust to how sweet you want it)
  • 2 oz. cachaça
  • Garnish: Lime wheel

Instructions: In an Old Fashioned glass, muddle the sugar and lime well. Fill with ice, add the cachaça, and stir briefly. Garnish with a lime wheel (optional).

Chile: Secret Garden Sangria

Courtesy Casillero del Diablo

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup blanco tequila
  • 1 bottle Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc
  • 20 sugar snap peas
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1 large lime
  • 1 ½ ounces lime

Instructions: Slice sugar snap peas lengthwise and place in a pitcher. Slice granny smith apple and lime into wheels and place in pitcher. Pour tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, and Casillero del Diablo sauvignon blanc into the pitcher and refrigerate for at least six hours (ideally overnight for optimum fragrance and flavor). Serve over ice.

New York City: The Manhattan

Courtesy Hudson Whiskey

Ingredients:

  • 2 parts Hudson Manhattan Rye
  • .75 part sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash each of Angostura aromatic bitters & orange bitters
  • Orange twist & cocktail cherries for garnish

Instructions: Add vermouth, Manhattan rye, bitters, and ample ice into a mixing glass. Stir for 30 seconds to mix and chill. Strain into a stemmed cocktail glass. Express oils from an orange twist over drink and discard twist. Garnish with a high-quality cocktail cherry (or two).

Hawaii: Big Pau Hana

Courtesy Kona Brewing Co.

Ingredients:

  • 2 parts Big Wave Golden Ale
  • 1.5 parts strawberry or berry vodka
  • .5 part Chambord liqueur
  • 2 parts cranberry juice
  • 1 parts raspberry (blackberry or huckleberry will work as well) simple syrup
  • 3 dashes of peach bitters (or any flavor) – can be replaced with a squeeze of lemon

Instructions: Lightly stir all ingredients in a tin and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a floating lime wheel.