Happy Hour Around the World!

Don’t you just love a great happy hour? I know I do! Whether it’s margaritas on a patio, wine at the Funky Door, or even a cocktail in my own kitchen, happy hour is one of those great (and sometimes necessary) traditions around here. I spend a lot of time blogging about, researching, and even planning travel around some fantastic French and Italian wines…so you may be thinking that’s exactly where this article is headed.

Well, surprise! There will be {almost} no mention of wine in today’s article!! Instead, I want to give you some outside-the-bottle inspiration for the next time you need an hour that is happy.

Plenty of travelers expect the “famous” drink to be the only one served when they visit a different country, but there’s more to Greece than Ouzo, more to Germany than beer, and more to Mexico than tequila (though someone will have to let me know about that last one)! Today, I invite you to join me for a quick cocktail lesson as we drink our way around the world.

Grab your highball and cocktail shaker.

You’re going to want to try these at home!

1. Kir (Burgundy, France):

You may find it sacrilege to even mention Burgundy without talking about her famous wines…and you’d be right! However, you may not be aware that the white wine of Burgundy was not always as trés magnifique as it is today. One rumor is that Kir—crème de cassis mixed with Burgogne Aligoté wine—was actually invented to mask the poor quality of the wine! Regardless of its origin, Kir has become a favored aperitif and has been adapted all across France to suit local tastebuds. Variations made with cider, plum liqueur, or blackberry currant are all enjoyable, but my favorite is the Kir Royale (click for recipe)!

2. Limoncello (Sorrento, Italy):


Ah, the southern Italian coast. Is there anything so beautiful? I remember seeing blue and yellow kitchen linens and being told they were “Tuscan.” ‘Fraid not. Those stunning colors are inspired by none other than the plump, yellow lemons of Sorrento and her sparkling Mediterranean backdrop. And guess what, friends? Those lemons…they make some mean limoncello! Many attempts have been made to replicate the Italian tipple, but purists know that even the best American lemons will never make real Italian limoncello. If you happen upon sweet success, please share with me! Here’s a recipe to get you started.

3. Applewoi (Germany):

You may think Germans are all about the beer…and why shouldn’t they be?…but a visit to Frankfurt reveals an alternative for washing down your sauerkraut, pork chops, and schnitzel. Applewoi (apple wine) is essentially a tart, hard cider made from apples. And for the little ones, try non-alcoholic kinder cider! I’m so thankful to my German friend, Sandra, for enlightening me to this yummy beverage! Prost!

4. Pisco Sour (Peru):

I first learned of the Pisco Sour when I was researching a vacation to Peru for some clients. There are literally dozens of tours to ordinary bars just to observe the proper preparation of this local libation! Turns out, it isn’t all that hard to make…if you can get your hands on some Barsol, that is (um, hello duty free shop!).  Here’s the recipe…try it and let me know what you think!

5. Caipirinhas (Brazil):


When my friend, Kelly, told me about Caipirinhas—the national drink of Brazil—I immediately had the image of piranhas! EW!! Turns out, Caipirinhas is the yummier cousin of the mojito! It requires a specialty ingredient, cachaça, and would probably be the best party punch ever. Click here to make it for yourself!



I think it is so cool that each of these drinks has a story to tell about the land of their birth. Imagine how something as simple as a cocktail can transport you to another continent! Perhaps you can’t get up and go to South America or Europe, but with a quick jingle of the cocktail shaker, you can have a little taste of another world. Now that is a great recipe for all things happy.

**A BIG thanks goes out to my gifted drinking buddies in the travel industry who provided me with insight into some of these other notable mentions they’ve discovered on their own travels:

  • Marille: apricot brandy made by Austrian monks
  • Mamajuana: yes, “mama”—not the other stuff! This is a sort of port wine made in the Dominican Republic by combining red wine, rum, honey and, um, herbs.
  • Ginja: a berry-infused grain alcohol found in shot glasses around Portugal
  • Kenya Gold: a liqueur made of sugar cane and coffee bean extract in Kenya
  • Txakoli: basically Spanish sparkling white wine (not the same as Cava). The real thrill is in the presentation: bartenders will often stand atop the bar to pour the wine for optimal aeration!

Now it’s YOUR turn! Let others know about your favorite cocktails from around the world by adding it to the comments section!

Ciao…and cheers, cin cin, prost, saluti, santé, saúde….