Have you ever had a cocktail or other drink that reminded you of wonderful travel memories? Over the years I’ve had several cocktails that I associated with specific places I’ve visited. Now, whenever I have those drinks, it takes me back to those destinations. With the current state of the world, I’ve really been missing travelling. But I found one small way to get that feeling back – by reliving favourite travel memories with cocktails!
Here are a few of the drinks that remind me of travelling to specific destinations – recipes included!
Bellini – Venice, Italy
Italy was the first overseas trip my husband and I took together. It was a group tour of about 50 people – which quickly made us realize we aren’t large-group tour kind of people. But one of our more enjoyable days was spent in Venice.
After visiting the obligatory glass-blowing shop and lace-making shop, we broke off from the group and spent the day doing our own thing. We visited the Museo Correr, the Archaeological Museum, and spent way too much money on souvenirs.
At one point, we stopped for a drink at Harry’s Bar. This was once a favourite hangout for the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, and more. It’s also home of the bellini – so of course, we had to try them. But they were very expensive. So we ordered one original and one non-alcoholic version for the price difference. To our shock, we both preferred the non-alcoholic version.
The bellini is just peach puree and prosecco – simple. And it’s not even one of my favourite drinks. I find that here, most restaurants and bars oversweeten them with grenadine, turning it into an alcoholic Shirley Temple. But the flavour still reminds me of that first trip together. So every once in a while, I’ll order one for nostalgia’s sake.
- 1 part white peach puree (I used frozen peaches, but I wouldn’t recommend this method, as I found they were a bit under-ripe and not flavourful enough)
- 2 parts Prosecco
Pour peach puree into the bottom of a chilled champagne flute. Top with Prosecco or sparkling wine.
Hurricane – Savannah, GA
The hurricane actually originates from Pat O’Brien’s bar in New Orleans, circa the 1940s. But I first tried one in Savannah, Georgia – circa 2001. (Cue the vintage old-timey film camera photo!)
We took a dolphin watching tour, visited museums and plantation houses, went antiquing, and thoroughly enjoyed some ghost walks in the evenings.
One evening my friend and I went to a place called Huey’s On the River, which served up authentic New Orleans-style cuisine. I don’t remember anything about the food, but I do remember ordering a hurricane. It was the best darn cocktail I ever had.
Hurricanes aren’t a popular drink here in Edmonton, unless you go to a Cajun restaurant or find a bartender willing to make one to order. Unfortunately, to date I’ve never had a hurricane that tasted as good as the ones we had in Savannah.
Even when I went to New Orleans with my parents and purchased Pat O’Brien’s powdered hurricane mix, it was horrible. It was a bright, artificial red colour and tasted like tropical punch Kool-Aid.
I thought I would never be able to get a decent hurricane again, and I was learning to live with that disappointment.
But recently, I came across a YouTube channel called How To Drink – and they dedicated one whole episode to the mighty hurricane. As it turns out, the reason I couldn’t replicate the flavour here was because I was missing a key ingredient – fassionola. Fassionola was a popular cocktail syrup back in the 1930s, but fell out of favour over the years. The main ingredient was passion fruit, which I didn’t realize was the key missing ingredient all these years!
It took a bit of searching, but I was able to find a Canadian company called Prosyro that still makes fassionola syrup. I had to order it from Ontario – but it was worth it just to see how close I could get to the authentic hurricane flavour I missed so much.
- 3/4 ounce orange juice
- 3/4 ounce Fassionola syrup
- 1 ounce light rum
- 1 ounce dark rum
- 1/2 ounce lime juice
Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until the ice is thoroughly crushed. Pour into hurricane glasses.
Although this recipe was tasty, I found it very tart. If you prefer a sweeter drink I would omit the lime juice and add a bit of grenadine. Huey’s recipe actually includes: rum, orange juice, passion fruit, and grenadine. So next time I will make this substitution and see if I can fully replicate the taste.
Interesting point of note – I didn’t think I’d be able to find hurricane glasses locally, but I did – they’re called Bloody Caesar glasses here, but it’s essentially the same shape!
Springbok – South Africa
Oh man, we drank a lot in South Africa. One night that stands out in particular for me was the night before we left on an overnight canoe trip on the Orange River.
I’m not great on the water and my anxiety was running high, so I needed a drink to calm my nerves. The camp we stayed at had a little outdoor bar, manned by a young cocky fellow who kept calling Mark and I “uncle and auntie” – we were only in our 30s, for Pete’s Sake! But the kid knew how to make drinks – and they were dirt cheap. So we had more than our fair share.
One of the many, many drinks we tried was a Springbok (or Springbokkie) shooter. It’s a combination of Creme de Menthe and Amarula, a South African cream liqueur. The colours represent the green and gold jerseys of the Springboks, the South African national rugby team.
Interestingly, the Amarula was much easier to find locally than Creme de Menthe. I went to two liquor stores and received the same reaction when I asked if they carried Creme de Menthe – they asked me to repeat my request, followed by a slow, silent head shake. Does no one use peppermint liquor in their drinks anymore? One shop owner said it was something they used to carry, but it was only popular in the winter time.
So, I found the next best thing – peppermint schnapps. Unfortunately it was yellow, not green. So I had to add a wee drop of green food colouring to get the proper effect.
- 1 ounce Creme de Menthe (or equivalent peppermint flavoured liquor)
- 1 ounce Amarula
Pour one ounce of Creme de Menthe into a shot glass. Slowly pour the Amarula into the glass over the back of a spoon to displace the liquor in a way that it doesn’t blend with the Creme de Menthe. The Amarula should sit on top with definition between the two layers.
And yes, the peppermint schnapps I bought was called Yellow Snow and came in a plastic bottle for $9 CDN.
This Springbok tastes like drinking games and bad decisions. Ahhhh, those were some fun times.
Tanzanite – Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
After Mark and I climbed Kilimanjaro, we headed to Dar es Salaam for a night before heading to Zanzibar the next morning. Our accommodations were little huts right on the beach. They were very simple inside, with just a bed and nightstand. But it was wonderful being so close to the ocean!
We played in the ocean a bit, then headed to the cocktail bar for drinks. The cocktail that stood out for me was the Tanzanite. I wanted to buy a tanzanite ring on this trip since the stone is only found in Tanzania. And purple is my favourite colour, so I had to order the drink bearing the same name!
It wasn’t as purple-toned as I’d hoped. But it was still pretty.
This trip was especially memorable because Mark suffered from severe altitude sickness climbing the last leg of Kilimanjaro. So the fact that we made it back down (relatively) safely and he was feeling much better at this point was a huge cause for relief and celebration.
I don’t remember a lot about this cocktail, other than it being on the sweet side. Also, this was my worst recreation of a cocktail for numerous reasons:
- we only tried it once
- we don’t know what the ingredients were
- it doesn’t seem to be a “real” cocktail (not found in any reference book or online)
- we tried it over 8 years ago
I did my best to try to come up with a decent reproduction though!
Dar’s Tanzanite Recipe
1 ounce white rum
1 ounce Blue Curacao
1/2 tsp Grenadine
1 ounce orange mango juice (pineapple juice would probably work better)
2/3 cup lemon-lime soda
Top with ice
I don’t know – this drink was just okay. A bit too sweet for my taste. I think it needed pineapple juice instead to get the shade/opacity just right and to get the flavour a bit closer to the cocktail I actually had.
Whatever you decide to choose for your red additive, you need to use a light hand. Tanzanite stones are closer to a cornflower blue than they are to a true purple shade. I think I could have got away with adding a touch more Grenadine without having it turn too purple.
These are just a few of my favourite recreated travel memories with cocktails. I will add more in the near future. What cocktails or drinks remind you of your favourite travel memories?
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