Six cocktails from around the world and when to drink them

Our guide to which cocktails to drink at various times of the day spans the world of mixology, from pomadas to pisco sours. Whether you’re abroad and wish to order like a local, or mixing up a tipple at home, take a leaf from global drinking cultures.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020,
By Zane Henry
It’s generally agreed that the first pisco sour was made in Lima in the 1920s. Peruvians and ...

It’s generally agreed that the first pisco sour was made in Lima in the 1920s. Peruvians and Chileans alike enthusiastically quaff this tart drink around dinner time.

Photograph by Getty Images

There’s something about the summer heat that inspires us to forgo our usual drinking habits and throw caution to the wind, whether it’s a cheeky glass of rosé with lunch or an icy jug of Pimm’s in the afternoon. Fortunately, no drink is quite so flexible as the cocktail, so, taking our lead from culinary cultures around the world, we bring you a boozy blend for every part of the day — from breakfast gin, Menorcan-style, to a prandial pisco in Peru.

1. Pomada

When: Breakfast
Where: Menorca, Spain
It could be argued that anything containing citrus is a breakfast drink, and Menorcans take this proposition a step further. It’s customary for locals to start the day with a pomada, a delicious combination of lemonade and gin. It’s also a case of starting as you mean to go on, as the drink is popular throughout the day, and it’s not uncommon to see tightly clutched vessels of this golden elixir popping up around markets and festivals. The proper way to have it is with the local gin, Xorigeur, made in wood-fired pot stills from distilled wine (eau-de-vie). If you’re making it at home, your favoured gin brand will do. Garnish with a slice of lemon.

2. Caesar/Bloody Mary

When: Brunch
Where to have it: Canada
Brunch is traditionally the time when sinners chase the mythological hair of the dog, and the Bloody Mary is the queen of 11am hangover desperation. It’s delicious and divisive enough as is, but The Caesar rivals it on both of these counts. This Canadian variant is virtually identical to its older aunt: vodka, lemon, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and salt. The game changer is a dash of clam juice — the broth taken from steamed clams. Devotees swear by its medicinal and epicurean powers. Sceptics remain unconvinced.

Born in the bars of old Havana and achieving iconic status as one of Ernest Hemingway’s favourite drinks, a mojito is made of rum, mint, lime, sugar and crushed ice.

Photograph by Getty Images

3. Mojito

When to have it: Lunch
Where to have it: Cuba
The mojito is a stone-cold classic, born in the bars of old Havana and achieving iconic status as one of Ernest Hemingway’s favourite drinks. Rum, mint, lime, sugar and crushed ice, piled up in a tall collins glass is a powerful riposte to the steamy heat of summer in Cuba. It was traditionally made with cane sugar syrup, and is thought to have been invented by Sir Francis Drake. Have one — or three — with a lunch of ropa vieja (shredded beef with rice) or a traditional Cuban sandwich at a cafe. Watch out, though, as each one contains two shots of rum.

4. Americano

When to have it: Late afternoon
Where to have it: Italy
Composed of Campari, sweet vermouth and soda water, sipping this light and refreshing drink is an elegant way to slip into evening. What makes a good one is the quality of vermouth — you’ll want an authentic Italian brand like Punt e Mes or Antica Formula. Stiff-browed aficionados would also advocate fancy soda water like Perrier, but that’s arguably less important. Side note: it’s the first drink James Bond ever ordered in Ian Fleming’s first novel Casino Royale. If it’s good enough for 007…

5. Pisco Sour

When to have it: Dinner
Where to have it: Peru
While Peru and Chile have been hotly contesting the claim to pisco (a piquant type of brandy) for centuries, it’s generally agreed that the first pisco sour was made in Lima in the 1920s. Provenance notwithstanding, Peruvians and Chileans alike enthusiastically quaff this tart drink around dinner time. Comprising pisco, egg white, sugar syrup and lime/lemon, it’s served either over ice or straight up, with a couple of drops of Angostura bitters floated on the foamy surface.

Born in London, the espresso martini is the perfect pick-me-up after a fancy dinner in Mayfair, or an ill-advised boost at 3am at a dive bar in Camden.

Photograph by Getty Images

6. Espresso Martini

When to have it: Late night/early morning
Where to have it: London
This cocktail’s legendary origins revolve around a model walking into Fred’s Club in London and asking barman Dick Bradsell for something that would ‘wake her up, then f*** her up’. Its properties befit these mythic beginnings, with the freshly made espresso achieving the first of her directives, and the vodka and coffee liqueur achieving the second. It’s perfect as a pick-me-up after a fancy dinner in Mayfair, or an ill-advised boost at 3am at a dive bar in Camden. Just remember that the caffeine will fool you into thinking you’re not as tipsy as you almost certainly are.

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