We all know the Swiss make great clocks, the Germans make great cars and the French make good cheese. But if it's a tipple you're after, which country can you turn to for the best drink?
Whether it's the salty citrus tang of a margarita, the fruity refreshment of a jug of Pimm's or the warming buzz of an Irish coffee, it seems most nations have at least one drink any local will tell you is the best in the world. (On that note, what would Australia's be? An icy cold VB?)
For those keen to sample something outside their normal drinking repertoire (but can't afford an around-the-world ticket), The Huffington Post Australia has sourced three delicious recipes from around the globe courtesy of Lonely Planet's latest book The World's Best Drinks.
Happy weekend all!
A sip of a margarita captures the life and colour of a Mexican fiesta with lip-smacking lime and salt starting the party before the tequila dances in, all going down with the crushed-iced coolness of summer.
Nobody agrees on who inspired the margarita. Was it a dancer in 1938 Tijuana with allergies to all other spirits? Or Margarita Cansino, aka actor Rita Hayworth? Most likely the muse is prohibition drink, the Daisy, tweaked to use tequila instead of brandy. After all, the Spanish word for ‘daisy’ is margarita. In any case, it was Mariano Martinez’s 1971 frozen Margarita machine that really inspired a taste for the drink.
- 1 lime
- a little salt on a plate
- ½ tsp fine sugar (optional)
- 20ml fresh lime juice (or other juice)
- 50ml tequila (preferably reposado)
- 30ml triple sec (eg Grand Marnier or Cointreau)
- ice (optionally crushed)
- Prepare a chilled cocktail glass by running the juice from a lime wedge around the rim, then upturning the glass onto a plate of salt.
- In a cocktail shaker, mix the sugar (if you want it sweet) in the lime juice (or other juice) until as dissolved as possible.
- Add the tequila and triple sec, fill with ice (or crushed ice) and shake well.
- Strain into the cocktail glass and decorate with a slice of lime.
On balmy evenings with the music of both waves and mariachi crashing in, the first sight of the glittery rim of a margarita glass is a fine moment. The citrus and salt carry the fragrance of a fresh sea breeze. Take your first sip and these sour and salty flavours cut through the sweetness of the orange liqueur and whatever other juice flavours you have chosen -- perhaps tamarind, lychee or simply lemon. You know that tequila smokiness is there but it’s soothed under crushed ice, making it all too easy to glug down before it kicks in and you have a sudden urge to leap up and move your hips.
Sangria is a refreshing summer drink based on full-bodied red wine, spiked with liquor and combined with fruit (juice and wedges), sugar and soda water or lemonade.
Sangria has a history in Spain that stretches back to the Romans who are recorded enjoying a tipple of watered-down red wine with fruit back in the 4th century; water was deemed unsafe to drink unless combined with alcohol to kill off any bacteria. The name comes from sangre (blood) due to its ruby red colour. Sangria was famously introduced to the USA in the Spanish Pavilion during the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
- 1 bottle (24fl oz) of dry, full-bodied red wine, preferably Spanish
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 3 tbsp orange liqueur, such as Gran Torres
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 orange, thinly sliced (diced peach or apple may also be added)
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 250ml soda water, sparkling water or gaseosa (the Spanish soda equivalent)
- ice cubes
- Combine all the ingredients in a large jug except for the soda
- Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
- Add the soda and ice cubes and serve immediately in goblet-sized wine glasses.
Sangria is, above all, a sociable drink. It is generally prepared in a jug so not designed for solitary drinking. This is a drink to enjoy with friends and family, ideally on a hot summer’s day at a chiringuito (beachside bar) where you can sip your drink sitting on a stool with sand between your toes. Sangria should be drunk soon after it is made otherwise the ice will melt and it will go flat. At the same time, don’t drink it too quickly! Remember that added liqueur -- as innocuous and thirst-quenching as this delicious concoction tastes, it still has serious hangover potential!
PERU & CHILE: Pisco Sour
Tangy, sweet, and citrusy, the pisco sour – a cheerful grape brandy-based aperitif served chilled and practically glowing yellow – is like a lemon drop in a glass.
Pisco was originally produced with grapevines brought to South America by 16th century Spanish settlers, and both Peru and Chile claim ownership over it: the pisco sour is both countries’ national cocktail. The competition remains fierce: when Anthony Bourdain sampled the drink in both countries, a Peruvian newspaper proudly reported that the famous chef preferred the local version.
1 small lime (or ½ large lime), juiced
2 tbsp sugar
60 ml pisco
1 tbsp egg white ice
1. Combine the lime juice and sugar in a blender until the sugar is fully dissolved.
2. Add the pisco, egg white and ice.
3. Pour into a glass, add a few drops of bitters and serve immediately.
In any busy restaurant in Santiago or Lima, you’ll notice waiters carrying trays laden with icy pisco sours -- typically served in tall champagne flute-like glasses in Chile, and in shorter stemless glasses in Peru. While the cocktail is often paired with a savoury appetiser, the pisco sour is an aperitif that’s meant to be started, and finished, before the main course is served. Refreshing but potent, the sugary sweetness offset by the sharp acidity of fresh lemon or lime, it’s an ice-cold treat that opens the appetite for the meal to come. Raise your glass and take the first sip -- don’t be surprised if you’re beckoning the waiter in short order to ask if the two-for-one happy hour special is still valid.
The preparation of a pisco sour is slightly different in Peru and Chile. In Peru, the cocktail is typically made with fresh lime juice and frothy egg white, while the Chilean version omits the egg white and employs fresh lemon juice. As a general rule of thumb, whether you’re mixing drinks for one or for a crowd, the correct ratio for a pisco sour is 3:2:1, three parts pisco to two parts simple sugar to one part fresh lime or lemon juice. The recipe featured here is for a classic Peruvian-style pisco sour.
The above is an extract from The World’s Best Drinks © Lonely Planet 2016. In stores now, $24.99.