Where to Try the Best European Cocktails

If you've got a bucket list for travelling this year, you've got to add trying these famous European cocktails...

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  • 10 May 2023
  • • 3 min read

Europe is full of history, culture and fine art - things that are all found in the continent's world-famous cocktails. From sweet Sangria in Barcelona to a sour Gimlet in London, Europe's cocktails can have surprisingly captivating flavors and an interesting history to match. If you've got a bucket list for your travels this year, make sure to add ticking off some of these iconic European cocktails in their home countries...

1. A Gimlet in London

This classic British cocktail was apparently created in the late 1800s by a Naval Doctor who thought that gin and lime might ward off scurvy, a disease caused by a serious vitamin C deficiency which was common in sailors. Despite being popularised decades ago, it's making a comeback in the vibrant London mixology scene. It's sour, tangy and a perfect match for London's regal streets.

Head to The Bar With No Name for a classic Gimlet in London.

2. A Sangria in Barcelona

A staple of Spanish food and drink since the Middle Ages (according to some historians), Sangria traditionally consists of red wine and chopped fruit. Nowadays you might find more liquors mixed in with added sugar or lemonade, so the average alcohol content ranges from 10-14% (be careful!).

Head to Plaça del Sortidor for a quiet glass of Sangria away from the more touristy areas.

3. A Martini in Paris

Paris oozes class and a Martini is the closest thing to a cocktail equivalent. Created in the 1800's, it's a favourite amongst locals and visitors alike, with a load of variations like the Espresso Martini, Old Fashioned and Dirty Martini. It's famous for being the favourite drink of James Bond, his version being shaken, not stirred.

If you're not a fan of bitter flavours, try a Chocolate Martini.

4. A Negroni in Florence

A Negroni or an Aperol Spritz in an Italian café is one of life's great pleasures, and it doesn't get better than in Florence! Made with equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, a Negroni has a bitter but balanced taste with lots of herbal influences. Allegedly created in 1919 at Caffe Casoni in Florence, it's one of Italy's most popular, and most vibrant drinks.

If you're not lucky enough to be in Florence, you can try a top-tier Negroni at Belushi's Bars across Europe.

5. Feuerzangenbowle in Berlin

Probably the least classy cocktail on this list (and the only hot one) Feuerzangenbowle literally means "Fire Tongs Punch" in English. With classic German efficiency, this describes the drink pretty well - Feuerzangenbowle is made by soaking a cone of sugar in rum, lighting it on fire in tongs over a mug of mulled wine, and watching the melted sugar drip inside. It makes for a mouth-watering spectacle and a tasty, warming drink.

To try Feuerzangenbowle you'll need to head to a Christmas market in Berlin from late November to early January.

6. A Caipirinha in Lisbon

Technically Brazil's national cocktail, Caipirinha has become very popular in Portugal. It is a simple recipe with cachaça, a distilled spirit made from fermented sugarcane juice, limes and sugar. Similar to a Mojito (without the mint), it's amazingly refreshing on a hot day.

For the best cocktails in Lisbon, head to Bairro Alto, home to over 200 bars and pubs.

If you're looking for somewhere to stay on your cocktail tour, check out St. Christopher's Inns across Europe.

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