The 25 must-try cocktails around the world

A selection that will ensure you find a memorable place to have a drink in just about any city in the world


Dawa Cocktail at Sir James van der Merwe, Johannesburg. Illustrations: Holly Wales
Dawa Cocktail at Sir James van der Merwe, Johannesburg. Illustrations: Holly Wales

Whether you consider yourself a martini man or prefer an Old-Fashioned, there’s a good chance that no matter where you are travelling, you’ll be able to find a memorable place to have a drink in just about any city in the world Sometimes the atmosphere of a place can turn a good drink into a great one—and sometimes the quality of drink transcends its environment. In the case of the 25 cocktails here, we found both: a great drink in a great bar. Some of them are classic destinations, some are hidden-away hot spots. The only rule? Don’t order a beer.

Be Kind Unwind at Door 74
Be Kind Unwind at Door 74

Amsterdam

Be Kind Unwind at Door 74

A twist on the Martinez—a sweeter, maraschino-cherry-inflected precursor to the martini—made with Tanqueray Malacca gin, Saint-Raphaël apéritif, Toschi Nocello, maraschino liqueur, and bitters.

Transatlantico Fizz at Florería Atlántico
Transatlantico Fizz at Florería Atlántico

Buenos Aires

Transatlantico Fizz at Florería Atlántico

Egg whites and soda give this whisky drink, dosed with yerba mate bitters, its foamy character.

The Porthole at The Aviary
The Porthole at The Aviary

Chicago

The Porthole at The Aviary

Try out the bar’s custom-made infuser, which instantly gives any spirit the flavours of fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices.

Clover Tea Club at Oak Room
Clover Tea Club at Oak Room

Copenhagen

Clover Tea Club at Oak Room

Licorice tea-infused Beefeater with homemade raspberry syrup, lemon juice, and an egg white.

Old-Fashioned at The Green Hen
Old-Fashioned at The Green Hen

Dublin

Old-Fashioned at The Green Hen

Legendary, and not only in Ireland. Cherry juice sweetens the bourbon and bitters served in a cut-glass crystal tumbler. Look around and admire the movie-star photos and mirrors, some of which have the day’s specials written on them, a clear indicator of the type of French brasserie that Green Hen aspires to be here in the heart of Dublin’s fanciest shopping district.

Negroni at Caffè Rivoire
Negroni at Caffè Rivoire

Florence

Negroni at Caffè Rivoire

The chocolatier, which started in 1872, is always popular with tourists. Get a couple of single-origin chocolate bars to go, and stay for the classic version of the Italian cocktail: equal parts gin, vermouth rosso and Campari, with an orange peel.

Gin-Basil Smash at Le Lion Bar de Paris
Gin-Basil Smash at Le Lion Bar de Paris

Hamburg

Gin-Basil Smash at Le Lion Bar de Paris

Le Lion isn’t simply one of the best bars in Germany—it’s one of the best in the world. The drink that put it on the map? The Gin-Basil Smash, a cocktail combining gin, lemon, simple syrup and basil in a botanically infused tipple that’s nearly too easy to drink.

Havana

Mojito at La Bodeguita del Medio
Mojito at La Bodeguita del Medio

Mojito at La Bodeguita del Medio

If you want to drink like a famous writer in Havana, head to La Bodeguita del Medio, a low-key hang-out for Pablo Neruda and Gabriel García Márquez in decades past. Whether or not it’s truly the birthplace of the mojito remains a matter of debate, but the minty Cuban highball has been made here since 1942, and few do it better.

Mai Tai at The Royal Hawaiian’s Mai Tai Bar
Mai Tai at The Royal Hawaiian’s Mai Tai Bar

Honolulu

Mai Tai at The Royal Hawaiian’s Mai Tai Bar

What else would you order at the historic Waikiki Beach hotel but the bar’s namesake drink? Go with the classic version composed of pineapple juice, orange juice, orange curacao, orgeat and rum, and listen to the waves crash on the beach.

Gin Martini at Butler
Gin Martini at Butler

Hong Kong

Gin Martini at Butler

A precise touch of Japanese perilla liqueur adds a bittersweet, herbal note to the after-work staple. 5-6/F, Mody House, 30 Mody Rd.

Toucan Brogue at The Bar With No Name
Toucan Brogue at The Bar With No Name

Istanbul

Toucan Brogue at The Bar With No Name

Expats (and locals) gather here for this particular blend of tequila, single-malt Scotch, lime juice and pineapple juice, with a splash of Campari. Gönül Sokak No.7B, Beyoğlu

Dawa Cocktail at Sir James van der Merwe
Dawa Cocktail at Sir James van der Merwe

Johannesburg

Dawa Cocktail at Sir James van der Merwe

An iconic cocktail in Kenya, the Dawa, which means “medicine” in Swahili, is a refreshing mixture of vodka, fresh lime juice and honey. A favourite of game hunters, today you can find it at the antique-stuffed, warehouse-like space of Sir James, served with a dawa stick to squash the limes.

Big Sur at The Walker Inn
Big Sur at The Walker Inn

Los Angeles

Big Sur at The Walker Inn

An Eau De Vie infused with the springtime buds of a Douglas fir lends a legit central-California-coast flavour to this drink made with vermouth, Laphroaig, and absinthe.

Blue Collar Cocktail at The Everleigh
Blue Collar Cocktail at The Everleigh

Melbourne

Blue Collar Cocktail at The Everleigh

Consider it a more potent take on the Manhattan: Along with the usual rye, sweet vermouth and orange bitters used to make the drink, this Aussie version includes the digestif Amaro CioCiaro and maraschino liqueur.

St Rose Sour at Cure
St Rose Sour at Cure

New Orleans

St Rose Sour at Cure

At New Orleans’s superlative cocktail bar, bartenders riff on classics brilliantly. This drink takes a basic egg-white sour and soups it up with pisco, sherry, grapefruit juice and Galliano, making for a foamy, delectable springtime sip.

Shark Eye at Mother of Pearl
Shark Eye at Mother of Pearl

New York

Shark Eye at Mother of Pearl

Curaçao and bourbon, brimming with passion fruit, lemon and maraschino, all served through the jaws of a shark spotted with crimson-coloured bitters.

Caipirinha at Bar dos Descasados
Caipirinha at Bar dos Descasados

Bloody Mary at Harry’s New York Bar
Bloody Mary at Harry’s New York Bar

Paris

Bloody Mary at Harry’s New York Bar

Pouring since 1911, this Parisian landmark claims to be the birthplace of that restorative brunch classic, the Bloody Mary. Join former patrons such as Ernest Hemingway and George Gershwin in pulling up a bar stool, and order the signature vodka-based drink made with tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, salt and pepper.

Rio De Janeiro

Caipirinha at Bar dos Descasados

Here, Brazil’s national cocktail—cachaça, muddled lime, sugar—comes in a glass big enough for two.

Improved Aviation at Jerry Thomas Project
Improved Aviation at Jerry Thomas Project

Rome

Improved Aviation at Jerry Thomas Project

Named after Jerry Thomas, the 19th century American bartender who helped inspire today’s cocktail renaissance, this Rome speakeasy is at the forefront of Italian mixology. Order a classic like the Improved Aviation, a light, floral gin-based drink brightened with rose bitters. Thejerrythomasproject

Singapore Sling at the Bar & Billiard Room at Raffles
Singapore Sling at the Bar & Billiard Room at Raffles

Singapore

Singapore Sling at the Bar & Billiard Room at Raffles

In 1915, bartender Ngiam Tong Boon created the Singapore Sling—a gin cocktail made with pineapple juice and cherry heering—at the Long Bar, Raffles Hotel. The Long Bar is closed for renovation but you can order it at the Bar & Billiard Room in the meantime.

English Mule at Speak Low
English Mule at Speak Low

Shanghai

English Mule at Speak Low

Like the Moscow Mule but with Earl Grey-tea-infused gin. 579 Fuxing Middle Rd.

The Don Juan at Imperial Craft Cocktail Bar
The Don Juan at Imperial Craft Cocktail Bar

Tel Aviv

The Don Juan at Imperial Craft Cocktail Bar

A crowd-pleasing mix of rum, maraschino liqueur, lime juice, agave syrup, Champagne and spicy
ginger.

Peach Bellini at Harry’s Bar
Peach Bellini at Harry’s Bar

Venice

Peach Bellini at Harry’s Bar

Home of the Bellini, a mix of peach purée and sparkling Prosecco.

Vienna

Bobe Special at the Roberto American Bar
Bobe Special at the Roberto American Bar

Bobe Special at the Roberto American Bar

A potent base of gin is diffused with a tart combination of Peachtree liqueur and lime juice. Bloomberg

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