For the time being, our travel plans are on hold—except for those of the armchair kind. In the spirit(s) of better times to come, we suggest whipping up a cocktail that will remind you of places you’ve been, or places you dream of visiting. You don’t have to brave a trip to the liquor store: Drizly partners with local liquor stores to deliver wine, beer, liquor, mixers, bitters, and more to your doorstep. Make a video cocktail-party date with friends, or settle in to take a virtual tour of some of the world’s most popular destinations. Best of all, you won’t need a designated driver or an Uber.
Since two countries claim the Pisco Sour, you’ll be able to dream double as you drink one. Pisco is a type of brandy—essentially wine that is then distilled—that began being produced in the 17th century with grapes imported from Spain. Both Peru and Chile claim this tart and sweet cocktail. The Pisco Sour is so inextricably linked to Peruvian culture, there’s even a national Pisco Sour Day: February 1. To get a peek of Peru, mix yourself a Pisco Sour and immerse yourself in a virtual tour of Machu Picchu, Cusco, or Lima. For a quick trip to Chile, grab a drink and sip your way through 360 degrees of Santiago or Easter Island.
- 2 ounces pisco
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- 3/4 ounce lime juice
- 1 egg white
- 2 to 3 dashes Angostura bitters
Mix the pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white in a cocktail shaker. Add ice to fill, and shake vigorously to produce a good amount of foam. Strain into an old-fashioned glass, and sprinkle the Angostura bitters on top of the foam.
There’s something about sipping a Sidecar that evokes an elegant evening at a glamorous Parisian bar. The precise origins of the Sidecar have never been definitively settled on, though most agree it was in Paris in the early 1920s and may (or may not) have involved an American G.I. who liked to ride in his friend’s motorcycle sidecar (hence the name). Shake up a batch of this simple, classic cocktail, then enjoy a virtual tour of the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, or visit the City of Light’s iconic sites via 360-degree panoramic photos.
- 2 ounce Cognac
- 1 ounce Cointreau
- 1 ounce fresh lemon juice (or 3/4 ounce if you prefer a slightly less tart cocktail)
Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. A sugared rim is optional.
Harry’s Bar, a favorite of Ernest Hemingway’s, has attracted a host of notables over the its nearly 90 years, including Alfred Hitchcock, Truman Capote, Orson Welles, and George Clooney. In 1950, owner Giuseppe Cipriani devised the Bellini, in honor of Italian Renaissance painter Giovanni Bellini, and the rest is history. (Fun fact: Two years later, Cipriani is credited with first creating carpaccio, named after Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio.) Summer is peak Bellini time, when fresh peaches are in season. Stir one up, and take a 360-degree tour of San Marco Square, the canals, and the Rialto Bridge.
- 2 ounces peach purée
- 4 ounces chilled sparkling wine (or Prosecco)
If fresh peaches are in season, you can make your own purée—but don’t use canned peaches. Pour the peach purée into a Champagne flute, then slowly top with sparkling wine while gently stirring to incorporate. If you like, garnish with a slice of fresh peach.
Some credit Antoine Amédée Peychaud, who owned a drug store in New Orleans, with inventing the very first cocktail in 1838 (or at least giving it its name). Peychaud liked to treat friends to his own concoctions, often including his Peychaud’s Bitters, made from a secret family recipe. The drinks were made using a double-ended egg cup for measuring, called a “coquetier” (“ko-k-tay”), the word from which “cocktail” was derived. Savor a Sazerac while immersed in the sounds of New Orleans: Radio station WWOZ has a daily list and links of virtual gigs by NOLA artists, mostly on social media platforms. A number of artists are offering digital “tip jars” through Venmo and other payment platforms, so you can support them until they can play to live audiences again.
- 1 cube sugar
- 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
- 1 1/2 ounces Sazerac Rye Whiskey
- 1/4 ounce Herbsaint
- Lemon peel
Pack an Old-Fashioned glass with ice. In a second Old-Fashioned glass, place the sugar cube and add the Peychaud’s Bitters to it, then crush the sugar cube.
Add the Sazerac Rye Whiskey to the second glass containing the Peychaud’s Bitters and sugar. Empty the ice from the first glass and coat the glass with the Herbsaint, then discard the remaining Herbsaint. Empty the whiskey/bitters/sugar mixture from the second glass into the first glass and garnish with lemon peel.
The Negroni’s origin story goes something like this: One day in 1919, Count Camillo Negroni asked the bartender at Caffe Casoni to fortify his favorite cocktail, the Americano, by replacing the soda water with gin. The bartender added an orange peel for an extra flourish, and the Negroni was born. Before long, the bar was swarmed with patrons asking for the new drink. Enjoy this easy-to-make libation while taking a virtual tour of Florence, including the famous Ponte Vecchio, an interactive view of the Duomo and city from the Campanile, and a virtual tour of Uffizi Gallery.
Add all the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice, and stir until well-chilled. Strain into a rocks glass filled with large ice cubes, and garnish with an orange peel.
New York City
Cocktail historians pretty much agree that the eponymously named Manhattan made its debut in the 1880s at New York’s Manhattan Club. But other lore, like that it was invented for a party in honor of Winston Churchill’s mother, have been pretty much debunked. Nevertheless, this ageless cocktail is still considered one of the cornerstones of craft-cocktail culture. Mix one up, then take a 360-degree virtual grand tour of Manhattan. Music lovers can check out the Metropolitan Opera’s streaming daily concerts of past performances, available for 24 hours before they are replaced with the next one.
- 2 ounces bourbon or rye
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 dash orange bitters
- Brandied cherry for garnish
Add all the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice, and stir until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a brandied cherry.
Tennis fans were saddened when this year’s Wimbledon tennis championships were canceled. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the event’s signature cocktail, the frosty and fruity Pimm’s Cup No. 1. This cocktail’s story goes back to 1832, when James Pimm offered guests of his oyster bar a gin-based drink with quinine and various spices as a digestive aid. It’s been hugely popular in Britain during the summer months ever since. Whip one up and then take a 360-degree tour of the Tate Modern, the National Gallery, and Buckingham Palace.
- 2 ounces Pimm’s No. 1
- 4 ounces lemon-lime soda
- Mint sprig, cucumber slice, strawberry slice and apple slice, for garnish
Sangria (“blood” in Spanish) gets its name from the dark red wine that has been used in it for hundreds of years (except the eight centuries or so when the Moors ruled). Some say the modern popularity of sangria was launched at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, when a generation of Americans tasted it for the first time when it was served at the Pavilion of Spain. It has been a favorite of tourists ever since (Spaniards barely touch it). That doesn’t mean it isn’t tasty, though. Make yourself a batch and take a virtual tour of the Sagrada Familia or a panoramic tour of city sites such as Gaudi’s Battlo House and Park Guell, Montjuic Castle, and the Plaça d’Espanya.
- 1 bottles chilled dry red wine, like Rioja
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar
- 1 orange, cut into thin rounds; 1 lemon, cut into thin rounds; 3 Key limes, cut into thin rounds; 1 apple, cored and cut into small chunks
- 1 cup chilled soda water
In a large pot or bowl, combine the wine, brandy, orange juice, and sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the orange, lemon, and lime slices, the apples and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour. Remove from the refrigerator and add the soda. Serve in glasses over ice.
More from SmarterTravel:
- The World’s 6 Most Incredible Luxury Train Trips
- 3 Playlists to Get You Through Now and Take with You Later
- 9 Best Travel Hoodies
Deb Hopewell is a longtime journalist and the former editor of Yahoo Travel. She writes for Outside, Fodor’s, Architectural Digest, Travel+Leisure, and others. Follow her on Instagram @debhopewell and Twitter @dhopewell.
We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
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