With the warmer temperatures and longer days it brings, summer offers the perfect opportunity to vacation to new destinations and soak up the sun in faraway locales. But many of us are unable to travel during the season — and have likely been confronted with sun-drenched photos of the Amalfi Coast or thirst traps in poolside cabanas clogging their Instagram feeds while they dream about teleporting to their dream destinations.
Luckily, you don’t have to travel far from home to enjoy a slice of paradise. This summer, if you’re sweating in front of your box fan and wishing you were relaxing on the coast, try one of these eight cocktails to transport you to your dream destinations.
When you want to feel like you’re in Bora Bora, French Polynesia… try making a Rum Runner
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French Polynesia is a top vacation destination, famous for its above-water resorts, magnificent scenery, and turquoise seas. When it comes to cocktails in Bora Bora, the most popular island in French Polynesia, many drink combinations are inspired by locally grown ingredients such as vanilla, banana, and coconut. Furthermore, while Polynesia never became a central producer of rum, the islands are rich with sugar cane. In fact, Polynesia was the origin location of rhum agricole in the West Indies.
As such, when you want to feel like you’re in Bora Bora, try making a Rum Runner. Using both light and dark rum, banana liqueur, blackberry liqueur, orange juice, pineapple juice, and grenadine, the Rum Runner celebrates rum’s history in the region as well as featuring a prominent local ingredient with the inclusion of banana liqueur.
When you want to feel like you’re in Carlisle Bay, Barbados… try making a Barbadian Rum Punch
When it’s the middle of July and you’re underground, waiting for your subway that’s been delayed for the third time, there’s perhaps no better place you could dream of teleporting to than a resort in the Caribbean. Known for its serene beaches and calm waters, Carlisle Bay in Barbados is a fantasy destination for year-round escapes from the city bustle.
If you’re looking for a quick trip to Carlisle Bay in the form of a cocktail, try making a Barbadian Rum Punch. Considered to be the birthplace of rum, Barbados has a rich history surrounding the spirit and today has a booming rum punch culture. This Barbadian Rum Punch recipe combines aged rum, lime juice, simple syrup, aromatic bitters, and coconut water for a cocktail that is certain to transport you straight to the beach.
When you want to feel like you’re in East Hampton, New York… try making a Cosmo Spritz
This summer’s styles have so far been dominated by the coastal grandmother aesthetic, and what better place to embrace the trend than East Hampton? From upscale shopping and dining options to sprawling estates landscaped with lush hydrangeas, East Hampton is home to a number of A-list celebrities, including celebrity chef Ina Garten, an inspiration behind the coastal grandmother aesthetic’s origin.
When you find yourself daydreaming about strolling around the ritzy town, try making a Cosmo Spritz, a riff on the Cosmopolitan (which happens to be one of Ina Garten’s favorite cocktails). This delicious drink is fruity, floral, and filled to the brim with East Hampton’s favorite beverage: rosé. To make a Cosmo Spritz, combine St. George Citrus vodka, Cointreau, Lillet rosé, rosé wine, raspberry syrup, cranberry, and rosé Prosecco.
When you want to feel like you’re in Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil… try making a Caipirinha
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is known for its incredibly rich landscape, the extraordinary Christ the Redeemer statue, sprawling beaches, and active nightlife — making it one of the most visited cities in the Southern Hemisphere. Considered the city’s crown jewel is Ipanema Beach, the namesake behind the popular song “Girl From Ipanema.” The beach itself is booming with sprawling, gorgeous scenery, and a multitude of subcultures all within Rio’s already diverse cultural makeup.
To take a vacation to Ipanema from your own home, try making a Caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail. Made with cachaça, a whole lime sliced into wedges, and extra-fine white sugar, the Caipirinha is light, refreshing, and endlessly quaffable.
When you want to feel like you’re in Playa del Carmen, México… try making a Paloma
Famed for its palm tree-lined beaches and coral reefs exploding with sea life, Playa del Carmen, México is a dream vacation spot for many. With a lively nightlife scene and stunning beaches, the spot promises to cure your case of wanderlust all year round.
While you might be tempted to start juicing limes for a Margarita when dreaming of your Mexican vacation, the next time you want to feel like you’re in Playa del Carmen, try making a Paloma instead. Mexico’s national drink, the Paloma is a mixture of tequila, lime juice, salt, and grapefruit soda — a combination perfect for escaping to the tropics.
When you want to feel like you’re in Portofino, Italy… try making an Aperol Spritz
It just so happens that the summer months are the most opportune times to visit one of Italy’s most popular coastal towns. Portofino is famous for the colorfully constructed buildings that blossom on the coastline, glimmering off the picturesque blue sea that practically begs you to take a dip.
It’s only right that the next time you want to feel like you’re breezing around Portofino that you try making Italy’s favorite refresher, the Aperol Spritz. Hailing from northeastern Italy, Aperol is a vibrant orange-hued liqueur carrying notes of citrus, rhubarb, and herbs that, when topped with Prosecco and club soda, makes for a delightful sip sure to carry you all the way to Italy from the comfort of your own home.
When you want to feel like you’re in Saint-Tropez, France… try making a Kir Royale
Famous for its long stretches of beaches and picture-perfect azure water, the French Riviera is a highly sought-after destination, especially the town of Saint-Tropez. Known as a playground for the rich and famous, the waters of Saint-Tropez are dusted with a plethora of yachts, and the scenery is worth lusting after when the summer heat becomes unbearable.
The next time you imagine yourself gallivanting on a boat anchored in Saint-Tropez’s harbor, try making a Kir Royale. The cocktail has an incredible history tied to a priest, Felix Kir, who bravely became a hero of the French Résistance when he defied the Nazis and survived an assassination attempt in 1945. Today, the cocktail, a blend of crème de cassis and Champagne with a lemon twist, is a popular French aperitif that’s simple enough to make (and sip) from the comfort of your home.
When you want to feel like you’re in Santorini, Greece… try making the Mediterranean Sparkling Spring
There is perhaps no landscape as distinctive as Santorini’s bright white buildings with blue painted domes contrasting boldly against the serene Aegean Sea. It is for this reason exactly that Santorini is the most frequented Greek island. In the summertime, when even blasting air conditioning can’t do enough to keep us cool, Santoni couldn’t be a more perfect place to chill.
When you find yourself daydreaming of the Greek coastline, try making the Mediterranean Sparkling Spring. This Prosecco and vodka cocktail features one of Greece’s most prominent ingredients as a central flavor: mint. Furthermore, with the addition of lemon juice, another staple ingredient in Greek households, the Mediterranean Sparkling Spring is the perfect cocktail to sip and mentally travel to beautiful Santorini.