The World's Best Cocktails & Where to Drink Them
There are few better ways to round off a day of sightseeing in a new city than sitting down at a cocktail bar and enjoying a stiff drink while planning the evening ahead. But while some drinks seem to fit the scenery, others look out of place. You wouldn’t drink a dark ‘n’ stormy in an upmarket Upper East Side establishment, or sip on a martini when everybody else is knocking down mai tais on the beach, would you? Here are five of the world's most iconic cocktails and where they are best enjoyed.
Old Fashioned in New York City
For a bourbon-based drink, it’s no surprise that the old fashioned originates in Kentucky (the birthplace of bourbon brands Woodford Reserve, Jim Beam and Four Roses among many others). But the spiritual home of this manly cocktail is New York City, the playing field of "Mad Men"'s Don Draper, a big fan of the old fashioned. Where to drink it: Head to Chelsea and The Raines Law Room (below), a secretive speakeasy-style cocktail bar that does a killer old fashioned.
Negroni in Florence
Long before it became a favourite on the East London hipster scene, the negroni was one of Italy’s best-loved cocktails. Born in Florence, the drink is the perfect mix of sweetness and bitterness, brought to life by complex herbal aromas. It’s also very easy to make: equal measures of gin, sweet vermouth and Campari, on the rocks, with a slice of orange. Where to drink it: Caffé Giacosa (where the first negroni was mixed) is the obvious choice, but a much better option is a spot on the river bank at Rivalta Café, with Ponte Vecchio in the background. Read our ultimate guide to Italy here.
Mojito in Havana
This classic has somewhat fallen out of favour in recent years – too popular, not trendy enough. But, this old ‘un is a good ‘un. And knocking the mojito is like dissing The Beatles; you’re just trying to be awkward. This drink is best enjoyed in rum mecca, Cuba, and more specifically in its heady capital, Havana. Just don’t mention Bacardi. Where to drink it: Don’t fall for the Hemingway-trail tourist traps; get yourself to the rooftop bar at Hotel Saratoga (below) for great views of Old Havana and El Capitolio.
Martini in London
“Shaken, not stirred”, says James Bond. The suave British spy turned this cocktail into an icon and where better to enjoy it than in the secret agent’s own backyard: London? Let’s forgive 007 for preferring his martini with vodka; for some of us, it will always be gin-based for a more aromatic flavour. Tanqueray No Ten and Bombay Sapphire are good mid-price options. Where to drink it: The MI6 building might be in Vauxhall, but we recommend staying central (sorry, Vauxhall). Head to the Martini Bar at Christopher’s (below), a few minutes’ walk from Covent Garden.
Margarita in Mexico City
There are so many bad margaritas out there that it’s easy to forget what a great cocktail this Mexican classic is. A good margarita combines the herbaceous punch of tequila with the sweet orange flavours of triple sec. The lime juice provides a refreshing finish, perfect to stay cool in a warm place like, say, Mexico City. Where to drink it: While not the most central spot, the San Angel Inn, a restaurant housed in a converted monastery, offers margaritas served the traditional way, in silver ice buckets.