The national cocktail of Chile and Peru, this drink may have evolved from the Pisco Punch, which was all the rage in San Francisco during the 1849 gold rush.
Melon Sparkler with Tapioca Pearls
Mixing honeydew juice with the fizzy Italian wine Moscato makes a super-refreshing cocktail. Melon balls and chewy tapioca pearls are fun to eat and cute to look at.
Bourbon Blackberry Collins
Many spirits and fruits and herbs can work in a Tom Collins riff. In place of blackberries and bourbon, try raspberries and vodka or cherries and rum.
This classy, Cognac-based drink is sweet and gingery.
This bluestreaked, vodka-spiked lemonade is popular in Lahaina, Maui, just steps from the beach.
Stepping Razor Blade
The Stepping Razor Blade fuses two old-time cocktails into one rum drink: the Holland Razor Blade (gin, lemon juice and cayenne pepper) and the Army & Navy (gin, lemon juice and orgeat).
Pleasantly bitter, herb-infused Campari is a bracing aperitif, especially when it's blended with a little sparkling wine as it is here. Neal Bodenheimer loves how the vivid-red Italian spirit tastes with fennel. "This is a perfect way to use up any leftover fennel fronds from the kitchen," he says.
H. Joseph Ehrmann particularly likes what the kiwi ("an underutilized fruit") does for this cooler: "It contributes both sweet and sour, like citrus, and gives it a great texture."
Lady Lavender's Mocktail
This drink was Gregory Best's response to a woman dressed in lavender who tottered up to the bar with friends for a nightcap. "My darling," she said, "one more will put me directly over the edge. Fruit juice, please."
According to Jamie Boudreau, a good aperitif often hints at the meal that will follow. This light, summery cilantro-spiked drink—which Boudreau likes to mix with a eucalyptus-infused simple syrup—would be a great lead-up to Mexican food.
Master bartender Wayne Collins's eye-catching Gin Genie won Drinks International's 2001 Cocktail Challenge. Its name comes from the David Bowie song "The Jean Genie."
"Cynar is so distinctively Italian," says Francesco Lafranconi about the bitter artichoke liqueur. "It has a very pleasing burnt-sugar, earthy, bittersweet flavor.";
According to Ryan Fitzgerald, this drink—created by mixologists Kathy Flick and Marcovaldo Dionysos—is based on the Favorite Cocktail in Jacques Straub's 1914 book Drinks. The updated recipe amps up the Favorite's ginger flavor with an intense syrup infused with fresh ginger and black peppercorns.
At the southern Italian restaurant Sotto in Beverly Hills, mixologist Julian Cox uses reposado tequila (“rested,” barrel-aged tequila) for this cocktail. It’s a variation on the Paloma, made with tequila and grapefruit soda. “I put this drink on the menu as a joke, trying to make it Italian by adding Campari and Italian orange soda,” he says. “It became Sotto’s most popular drink.”
Ice cubes made with cucumber water are one of the ingenious twists in this potent martini, which is made with sake instead of gin or vodka.
Ivy Mix, co-owner of Leyenda in Brooklyn, riffs on a mai tai with smoky mezcal. The name of the drink (an anagram of "mai tai") pays homage to a friend to whom she used to serve drinks in Guatemala.