5 Famous Cocktails and Where They Come From

The is a story behind every cocktail (and surely a night spent drinking said cocktails)

It’s even better if you can cut the liquor with other native ingredients into a full cocktail representation of your country’s drink offerings.

Singapore: Singapore Sling


Dan Heap

The Singapore Sling was created by a Hainanese bartender in Singapore’s Raffles Hotel, so it was initially meant for the booze-swilling ex-pat aristocracy and not for a local crowd. Yet Singaporeans have always excelled in absorbing the best attributes of their colonizers (like capitalism) while violently discarding the worst (like chewing gum and a tolerance for street litter). Maybe that explains why the eight(or more)-ingredient Singapore Sling is damn near the perfect cocktail.

Spain: Sangria


The name of Spain’s famous punch translates into “bloodletting,” which is fitting for the country that gave us bullfighting and the Spanish Civil War. Sangria is now a popular drink in much of the rest of the world. For a while, any bastardized punch containing wine was called sangria, but as of January 2014, only sangria made in Spain or Portugal (a country which has an equal claim to the drink) may actually be called sangria, according to European law.

Puetro Rico: Piña Colada


The piña colada (“strained pineapple”) was allegedly invented by the pirate Roberto Cofresí, who was known to offer his band of buccaneers the cocktail when morale was low. The piña colada is the official drink of Puerto Rico, and even has its own holiday on July 10. The piña colada earns extra points for inventing what is probably the definitive Caribbean drink, containing, as it does, such quintessential tropical ingredients as rum, pineapple, and coconut.

Brazil: Caipirinha

Flickr/Kenn Wilson


The choice of Brazil’s most patriotic drink is easy: It’s the caipirinha. The caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail, and when translated into American English, it basically means “little hillbilly.” That name alone is victory enough for Brazil.

France: Mimosa

Flickr/Susan Lucas Hoffman

France is another country that just has too many great drinks to choose from; however, the mimosa is far more universal than, say, absinthe or pastis. The mimosa is actually a cocktail that, unlike the country’s wine, may well be the best in the world. The mimosa combines two simple ingredients, both found in France: Champagne, the country’s famous sparkling white wine, and orange juice. I can think of no more Mediterranean cocktail than the mimosa — which, by the way, was invented at the Hotel Ritz Paris.


Addtional reporting by Matt Hershberger.