What are the best cocktails in Latin America?
In honour of World Cocktail Day, the 13th May each year, I decided to conduct a quick straw poll of the office as to everybody's favourite cocktail originating from Latin America. With due fanfare and drumroll, the results are now in!
In no particular order:
For Natasha, it's all about the Mojito, one of Cuba's great gifts to the world. According to her, it's an ideal summer drink, and she revels in the history of its creation, way back in the 16th Century when the likes of Francis Drake would quaff it. (Though I suspect the truth may have rather more to do with dreams of Johnny Depp in eyeliner).
Former Lima resident Kristina decided to dodge the more obvious choice of a Pisco Sour, in favour of the lesser-known Chilcano. This is a refreshing combination of pisco, lime juice and ginger ale, and as she candidly admitted, it's much easier to make than a pisco sour!
Sticking with Peru's national spirit, Thomas is clearly more than happy to put the work in and break out his egg whites and Angostura Bitters. It's certainly true that the Pisco Sour, when done well, should surely rank in anybody's top 10.
Our (half) Mexican Laurent naturally had to opt for a tequila-based choice. Eschewing such obvious choices as Tequila Sunrise or Margarita, he cast his vote for the Jarrito de Tequila. This basically comprises a large wallop of tequila and a load of fruits, traditionally served in small, handmade earthenware jars.
Perhaps even more obscure was Sarah's choice, the Ecuadorian Canelazo, which includes cinnamon, cloves and aguardiente (aka fire water) amongst the ingredients. The only hot cocktail on our list indicates that sometimes it's more about the memories (cold nights at altitude in the Andes) than the taste!
For Diego, the flavour of Brazil came to the fore, with the nomination of a Caipirinha. Not a million miles away from a mojito, the distinctive taste comes from Brazil's signature spirit, cachaça. Now more readily available in the UK, this is definitely one to help conjure images of the gorgeous beaches of Brazil.
And for myself, having seen most of my favourites already nabbed, I could only reflect on the one cocktail which I have enjoyed all over Latin America: the Cuba Libre. Unfairly derided as 'just rum and coke,' this can be so much more. The key is a great rum (I favour Havana Club Añejo 7 Años), a minimal splash of Coca Cola (never Pepsi), and plentiful, freshly squeezed lime juice, with the squeezed out fruit thrown in for good measure.
As the sun is out, we suggest you enjoy one or two of your own favourite 'cocktel latino' today, or take advantage of the increased availability of the vital ingredients to try something new. ¡Salud!
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