After a long day of work and travel, there’s not much more refreshing than a sunset view and an Italian negroni – my most favorite of cocktails. It speaks of summer and lingering evenings, something I’m very much looking forward to this season. Like cuisine, cocktails can conjure up a favorite travel memory and give us a true sense of place when visiting a new destination. Beyond my favorite negroni, dirty martini and mojito, I’ve sampled concoctions around the world – from frothy, beachy beverages to the most creative of libations, infused with locally grown flowers and herbs. Read on for a few favorites and be so inspired throughout your own travels.
It’s just not a complete Scottish stay until I’ve overnighted at The Torridon and taken advantage of their award-winning Whisky Room, where Peter, the barman, knows a thing or two about this beloved distilled beverage. His particular favorites include Dailuaine 16 Year Old (Flora and Fauna release) – perfect for those who are seeking something new – with its nose of estery fruits, almonds, walnuts and dried fruits. After a day of damp hiking in the hills, there’s nothing like warming up in front of the open fireplace with a pinch of Ardbeg Uigeadail, which, according to Peter, is an almost perfectly balanced whisky – be prepared for its above 54% ABV, though.
My stopovers in Edinburgh almost always include a visit to the Epicurean at the G&V Royal Mile Hotel, where Matthew Wakeford was recently named Bar Manager of the Year. Top mixologists craft creative cocktails inspired by the four Scottish Colourists, Scotland’s most cherished artists, and are often infused with honey from the hotel’s rooftop resident honeybees. My favorites include the Still Life, inspired by Peploe, a lovely concoction of Calvados (a French apple brandy) and Mediterranean wines. Blending champagne, top Edinburgh teas, gin, rhubarb and honey, the Miel Royale is lovely.
On the other side of the world, those sunset views I’m so drawn to are the most blissful with a tea-infused cocktail in hand from Cape Weligama’s Cape Colony Club. Capitalizing on the vast tea plantations of the island, the bartenders here are adept at creating flavors that will long remind one of their time here. Try an Earl Gray Cocktail, with Beef Eater, lime juice, pineapple cordial and cold-brewed green tea, and sprinkled with cinnamon dust. Or a dry D’Martini, with Finlandia and jasmine green tea. Not to be outdone is the D’Mojito, with Havana Club, lime juice, juggery syrup, jasmine green tea, mint and mojito bitters.
When in Ireland, of course, one must partake in pints … but there are plentiful local cocktails to sample as well. Bagots Hutton in Dublin is a chic spot for people-watching, and the chilled limoncello and prosecco cooler with raspberry and mint welcomes spring in a refreshing manner. The bourbon crush at The Exchequer is, I think, one of the best drinks in the city.
What are your favorite destination cocktails? Let us, and your clients, know. Personal recommendations are so dear and add that insider feeling to any journey far from home. Cheers!