February 01 2021 – Nicole Brimberry
Sometimes a vacation is out of the question. It could happen for economic reasons, family obligations, or a raging global pandemic. Whatever the case, circumstances might sometimes conspire to make you postpone hopping on a plane for an adventure to silky beaches and wide boulevards.
This might be disappointing but there's no need to get down. Exciting travel opportunities always come back sooner or later and there's no need to let some delay spoil the opportunities for home bound creative exploration. To cheer up the mood despite the local setting, let’s start with vacation drinks. Our guide will show you how to create some delicious concoctions right where you live.
The following are some of the best beach cocktails and elegant drinks that you can easily make from scratch. They're fun, tasty, and almost guaranteed to impress friends or dates who join you for a small evening escape from daily life.
These next several recipes for cocktails on the beach and late-night vacation drinks have diverse origins. Coming from the cosmopolitan sophistication of a Parisian lounge or the glittering sand of tropical isles, all of them are sure to pack rich flavor into a night of laughter and conversation.
Elegant Urban Cocktails
The French Martini
Paris is deliciously sexy and it's hard to think of a drink that symbolizes this more than the French Martini. This sumptuously flavorful but light cocktail creates a deep reddish-purple tone with the inclusion of a decadent Chambord black raspberry liqueur. Reportedly, the French Martini traces its roots all the way back to the 18th century Court of Louis XIV and that makes it an essential vacation drink from the City of Light. As a creation with an elegantly exotic touch, it's unique and would be just perfect with a gift box filled with other decadent Paris treats such as dark chocolate Cocktail Truffles…
Here's how to make it:
½ oz Chambord Liqueur
1 ½ oz Chambord flavored vodka
2 oz pineapple juice
Fresh raspberries as garnish
Add all the ingredients except raspberries to a mixer filled with crushed ice or ice cubes, shake vigorously or stir and strain out into a martini glass. Garnish with a raspberry or two and et voilà.
Since we've already covered one interesting Parisian cocktail, why not include another with a slightly lighter touch? The cutely named Serendipiti creates a refreshingly fruity blend of bubbles and cheer into a jewel of liquid sophistication that traces its origins to the Ritz, one of the most glamorous classic hotels in Europe. It's also easy to make and smartly fun to serve up before a relaxing dinner event.
1 oz apple juice
1 oz Calvados or any Apple Brandy you like, and even ordinary brandy will do in a pinch
Sprigs of mint
Champagne to fill each glass
Add the mint sprigs and apple brandy together in a tall tumbler and mash the two to bruise the leaves into releasing their flavor. Fill the tumbler with ice, pour over apple juice and top off to the brim with fresh bubble champagne. Garnish with a little bit of mint leaf.
Before we move on to some of the best beach cocktails for sunnier, warmer climes, one more fabulous European evening drink is absolutely worth exploring. This is the world-famous Sidecar. Even now nobody quite knows which elegant hotel or smoky European cocktail lounge this creation came from, but this sleekly classic late-evening cocktail is timeless and incredibly flavorful. It also packs a lot of bite into its rich landscape of taste.
Here's how to whip one up, and you'll see what we mean by deep and exploding with taste:
1 oz Cointreau or Triple Sec Orange Liqueur
1 ½ oz Armagnac or if unavailable, Cognac or even Bourbon for more of a New World touch
½ oz lemon juice
A twist of lemon rind for garnish
Vigorously shake together the Cognac (or Armagnac or bourbon) in a shaker filled with ice and lemon juice. Wet the rim of a tall glass and dip it in sugar. Strain the Sidecar mix into the glass and top with a twist of lemon. You're now set for a powerful blast of Old World flavor. This particular concoction tastes especially wonderful combined with some dark chocolate Paris truffles.
Sultry Tropical Vacation Drinks
All of the above cocktails offer their best charm in an elegant evening setting, but they're just as useful for a bit of afternoon lounging in the garden or terrace. The next couple of creations however come with a distinctly tropical vibe and are some of the best beach cocktails for relaxing in the world of tropical sand and emerald islands and while you’re at it, be sure to pair your drink with your Maui vacation in a box.
Piña Colada Mango Sunrise Cocktail
The classic Caribbean Piña Colada Sunrise cocktail is essentially a little bit of a tropical sunrise in a glass. Its combination of sweet, tart, and gently alcoholic perfectly represents what cocktails on the beach and breezy warm landscapes should be all about. What makes this Piña Colada cocktail different from its regular Piña Colada cousin is the touch of grenadine in the mix, for a unique splash of color in the glass. Coconut juice and an added touch of taste with mango create a lovely layered look that's hard not to appreciate while you settle into your home vacation…
Here's how it all comes together:
2 oz coconut rum
2 oz pineapple juice (the fresher the better)
2 oz mango juice (the fresher the better too)
1 tablespoon of grenadine
1 tablespoon of coconut cream
Fresh piece of sweet pineapple for garnish
Mix the rum, pineapple, and mango juices together in a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice. Shake it all up well and let chill for a moment. Pour the mixture over ice in a cocktail glass (or whole pineapple), add coconut cream gently into the cocktail by pouring it down over the back of a large spoon. Then add in grenadine by pouring it gently over the top of your Piña Colada Mango Sunrise Cocktail. Again, voila!
Finally, we come to the Blue Lagoon. Originally from the glimmering Caribbean island of Curacao, the Blue Lagoon almost perfectly symbolizes the local Netherlands Antilles culture of "Everything is Dushi", which in the region of Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire basically translates to "Everything is sweet and oh so fine". The Blue Lagoon cocktail definitely makes it easier to feel these vibes from sun-soaked climes like Curacao. It offers a crisp, cool blend of lemonade, vodka, tangy bite, and color that looks like it was distilled right from the tones of an equatorial sea.
1 oz Blue Curacao
1 oz Vodka
Fully round orange/grapefruit slice
Fully round lemon slice (if desired)
Maraschino cherries and mint for garnish
Blend all of the ingredients except for the lemon, orange, and cherries into a shaker, shake them up, and strain everything over crushed ice into a hurricane glass or your favorite tall glasses or tumblers. Garnish the blend up with a couple of wheels or orange/grapefruit, and lemon, drop in a rich red maraschino cherry and mint. Now you're ready to taste what the best beach cocktails are all about.
Bonus: Heartwarming Cocktails for Chilly Winter Nights:
Stay at home vacations don't always mean being able to escape the weather, especially when a quick flight to the nearest sunny destination isn't possible in the middle of the winter holidays. Luckily though, you can easily shake off the chill with these two bonus drinks that are perfect for a cozy night during the snowy months.
Chocolate-Covered Cherry Hot Cocoa
Decadent, rich, and oh so creamy good, this chocolate cherry cocoa packs a perfect alcohol punch. It's guaranteed to hit all the right notes on a chilly evening. It's also perfect as an after-dinner dessert drink or just as something to enjoy during a holiday vacation of laughs and conversation. For added richness, substitute part of the milk for half-and-half. While brandy is the liquor of choice in this recipe, feel free to experiment with other dark distillations like bourbon or spiced rum.
Here's how to make it:
6 ounces of hot cocoa (homemade with hot milk and melted dark or milk chocolate and cocoa, or from a packet)
1 teaspoon of orgeat syrup
1 oz of creme de cacao
1 oz of brandy (or dark liquor of your choice)
Maraschino cherry or two as a garnish
Prepare the hot cocoa with either heated milk or a mix of milk and half-and-half, you can do this from scratch or from a hot cocoa mix packet. Mix the orgeat syrup, liquor of choice, and creme de cacao in a mug and pour the hot cocoa mix right over them, mixing all together. Add a dab of whipping cream right on top and garnish with a maraschino cherry.
Warm Old Fashioned Cocktail
Simple, elegant, and packing plenty of kick, the Warm Old Fashioned is a heated spin on the classic icy Old Fashioned cocktail. If you love a flavorful mix of citric, whiskey, and tangy-sweet taste that's just warm enough to make winter seem gentle, this is the vacation drink for you.
Here's how it goes:
Ingredients (Makes Two Cocktails):
2 oz purified water
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 dashes of bitters
4 oz bourbon or rye whiskey
1 orange, sliced
Simmer the water over medium heat in a small saucepan and stir in the granulated sugar until it dissolves. Add in the whiskey of your choice and the four dashes of bitters then stir a moment longer. Serve into whiskey tumblers and garnish with a slice of orange and cherry. For added flavor, you can heat the cocktail blend with a bit of orange rind added in near the end.
Wrapping Up Our Favorite Vacation Drinks With a Bow
Vacations are more about mood than a place. This means that getting into a relaxing groove and unwinding can help even if you're still snugly at home instead of jetting across the world. Enjoying a few fun experiments in mixology, new cocktail creations, and sharing them with loved ones is one of the easiest ways to achieve this. The elegant, delicious vacation drinks above are a great start to easing the mind and heart. You can however make the adventure even more interesting by trying a few other sensory explorations on the culinary side of things too while you imbibe.