Sipping a cocktail from Latin America is like taking your taste-buds on vacation. At once smooth and sultry, with flashes of fresh flavour, exotic Latin American cocktails are an intoxicating and fun way to enjoy the unique atmosphere from this region.

Caipirinha in Rio
The Caipirinha (pronounced kai-pur-een-ya) is the national drink of Brazil and is based around the local spirit which is called cachaca. Cachaca is made from fermented sugarcane juice, and has an earthy taste that blends perfectly with the other ingredients in this popular cocktail. Combined with fresh lime juice, raw brown sugar and crushed ice, it’s easy to see why the Brazilian people love it so much.

The origins of the Caipirinha date back to the early 1900’s, when a popular flu remedy made from lemon, garlic and honey was used. Locals added rum which was a common therapeutic remedy at the time, and the rest is history.

Daiquiri in Havana
The Daiquiri is a summer favourite cocktail around the world, and is a refreshing mixture of white rum, lime juice, sugar and crushed ice. Modern variations are more like a smoothie in texture, and come in a variety of flavours and colours.

The daiquiri was invented by an American who was based in Cuba during the Spanish-American war. His name was Jennings Cox, and his invention didn’t become popular until the 1940’s, when rum lost its bad reputation and became a fashionable drink in the USA.

Pisco Sour in Peru
The Pisco sour hails from Peru (although its provenance is a hotly debated topic), and is a sweet cocktail that packs a serious punch, thanks to the Peruvian Pisco brandy made from local muscat grapes. The Pisco Sour was designed by an American, Victor Vaughn Morris. The modern day variation was designed in the late 1920’s by a bartender at Morris’ bar, who added Angostura bitters and a teaspoon of egg white to the mix. If you’re on holiday in Peru – then this unique cocktail is unmissable.

Margarita in Mexico
The margarita is a well-loved cocktail that was designed by a creative bartender named Don Carlos Orozco in 1941. He was experimenting with new recipes, and mixed the now famous drink for a visiting dignitary named Margarita Henkel, the daughter of a local German ambassador.

A margarita is made from tequila mixed with Cointreau liqueur and lime juice. For the true margarita experience, the cocktail should be served in a salt-rimmed glass and served shaken with ice. Other variations see the cocktail blended with ice or served with crushed ice.

Venezuela Libre in Venezuela
The Cuba Libre is a no-nonsense cocktail made from a combination of rum, cola and lime juice. Many believe it originated in Cuba after coca cola was introduced to the island. In recent years the political affinity of Cuba and Venezuela has seen plenty of cultural exchange. As such, the Venezuelans have come up with their own version of the Cuba Libre, which uses white and gold Venezuelan rum and a dash of angostura bitters.

Latin America has a rich history of cocktail discovery, and it’s easy to create your own at home with just a few simple ingredients. Many good bottle shops stock cachaca from Brazil, and the other spirits mentioned here are easily found.

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This article was written by Cyncia P – a South America and travel enthusiast and blogger.

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