1. Piña Colada, Puerto Rico
The pineapple, coconut, and rum slurry known as piña colada had been popular in the Caribbean for at least a hundred years before Ramon “Monchito” Marrero, a bartender at the Caribe Hilton’s Beachcomber Bar (now called Oasis Bar) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, perfected it in the 1950s using cream of coconut. Today, San Juan’s signature cocktail is sipped all over the world, but tastes best in Puerto Rico, by the beach or pool.
2. Caipirinha, Brazil
Made with sugar, lime, and cachaça—a spirit fermented from sugarcane juice—the caipirinha is ubiquitous in Brazil‘s seaside cafés. Even vendors on the beach mix them. Variations abound, the most popular is caipifrutas, which adds one or more of the region’s wide array of fruits, such as caju (cashew fruit), passionfruit, mango, or kiwi.
3. Mai-Tai, Polynesia
Upon tasting this cocktail of rum, orange curaçao, orgeat syrup (made from almonds), and lime at Polynesian-style lounge Trader Vic’s (then called Hinky Dink) in Oakland, California, in 1944, a Tahitian guest remarked, “maita’i ro’a ‘ae,” meaning “out of this world.” Hence the name mai-tai, or so the story goes. The drink got a boost in Elvis’s hit movie Blue Hawaii and has since become a staple at tiki lounges everywhere.
Photo by Porto Bay Trade