The cocktail. A central part to today’s social culture. Meeting friends to kick off the weekend? Go get a cocktail. Celebrating a major life event? Go get a cocktail. Had a bad case of “the Mondays”? Definitely, go get a cocktail.
In honor of our own case of “the Mondays”, we’ve put together a list of 5 classic cocktails (though some have a modern flair!) and where to get them.
Three classic cocktails all in one magnificent room! Bar Hemingway in the iconic Ritz Paris has been a favored watering hole for many icons over its 115-year history. Coco Chanel made the pilgrimage down from her suite upstairs, F. Scott Fitzgerald had a favorite table and Ernest Hemingway reportedly liberated the bar from the Nazis at the end of World War II. With this much history in one room, it stands to reason that not one, but two historic cocktails were born in these hallowed halls, both with classic French liquors.
The Cognac based sidecar is the cocktail that Bar Hemingway is known for creating (back when Hemingway was liberating the bar!) at the end of WWII. With Cointreau and lemon juice rounding out the ingredients in this classic, the sidecar is a wonderful way to end the day in Paris.
Looking for something to start your day instead? How about the quintessential brunch beverage, the mimosa? This refreshingly bubbly cocktail with equal parts champagne and orange juice was supposedly first served in the bar in 1925 and continues to be a favorite around the world.
Ready to visit the Ritz Paris for yourself? River Oaks Travel clients receive a guaranteed upgrade at the time of booking, no set check-in/check-out times, daily breakfast, AND private airport transfers with VIP meet and greet!
The gin & tonic is another classic cocktail enjoyed worldwide, but especially popular in the British Isles and throughout the lands historically part of the British Empire. This famed cocktail originally became popular as a treatment and preventative measure against malaria in the 1700’s but in the last century has become a forgotten favorite. This has all been changing recently though as the G&T has become cool again and many small batch distilleries around the world are creating exceptional gin in much the same way that they made whiskeys a few years ago.
Speaking of small batch, The K Club in Straffan, Ireland has a distillery that is about as small batch as it gets. They produce a rosy blush gin flavored with rhubarb to be served only in their onsite bar, the Vintage Crop. Between the pink gin, the craft tonic and the fresh grapefruit slices that garnishe the drink, this cocktail is not only delicious and refreshing, but beautiful too!
Gin & tonic not quite your style? You can also enjoy a whiskey tasting and “pour your own pint” experience – complimentary as a River Oaks Travel client!
Mai Tais, the classic cocktail of beach vacations and tropical themed parties world-wide. While it wasn’t invented in San Francisco, one of our favorite places to imbibe this tropically delicious drink is at the Tonga Room in the iconic Fairmont San Francisco. The Tonga Room has been serving thirsty San Franciscans and travelers in its tiki themed bar (including a lagoon and floating stage!) since its renovation from hotel pool to kitschy watering hole in 1945. Even Anthony Bourdain spent time at the Tonga Room and in his typically cynical attitude deemed it “the greatest place in the history of the world.” Belly up to the bar and order yourself a drink, but don’t be alarmed by the tropical storms, they’re just for effect!
Psst – As a Virtuoso agency, we offer all of our clients a $100 food and beverage credit that can be used during your stay. We promise not to judge if you use it all at the Tonga Room!
Our next beguiling beverage takes us back to the British Empire and the early 1900’s, specifically The Long Bar at Raffles Hotel in Singapore. This icon has been hosting travelers to Singapore since 1887 and the bar has been slaking travelers thirst just as long. Raffles has been known as an innovator in Southeast Asia since their inception, they were even the first hotel in the region to have electric lights, and The Long Bar is no exception.
Since under the etiquette rules of the time ladies were not able to drink alcohol in public, bartender Ngiam Tong Boon decided to create a drink that from afar would appear to be simply fruit juice so that his female customers could also enjoy a tipple or two! It (understandably) was an instant success and is even now considered the national drink of Singapore. Next time you’re in the neighborhood make sure to crunch your way across the discarded peanut shells and order one of these classic cocktails for yourself and any ladies with you!
Our fifth and final classic cocktail on this list is actually a rotating collection of (not so) classic punches that are arranged based on 5 categories and are served at the aptly named Punch Room in London’s EDITION hotel. While the newest collection is based on the 5 classical elements (earth, air, water, fire and aether) the original iterations of “The Five” were based on the five traditional elements of punch; spirit, water or tea, citrus, sugar and spice. Since each element has several cocktails available, there are around 30 options to try and each is more delicious than the last!
With it’s historic private club vibe and wonderful cocktails, the Punch Room is definitely worth a visit, but make sure you request a reservation since the bar is often full! For a full experience travel with a group of friends and try any of the signature punches as a table drink served from vintage punch bowls.
Whether the above bars have you dreaming about your next nightcap, or you’re looking to head somewhere a little more dry, our team of knowledgeable travel advisors can help – there’s a reason we’re viewed as the top travel agency in Houston! Contact us or make an appointment with our team to get started.