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Signature Cocktails: Drinks Inspired by Travel

Signature Cocktails: Drinks Inspired by Travel

Collecting spices from foreign markets is a creative way to infuse exotic flavors into traditional cocktails. Capture the smells and spices from your travels with craft beverages. Re-live your vacation with a cocktail that invigorates your sense of adventure.

What are craft cocktails

What sets a craft cocktail apart from an ordinary drink is fresh ingredients used to develop flavors within a beverage. Crafting a cocktail is a work of art, and with our simple recipe you too can become a fancy mixologist.

Like baking, cocktails follow recipes.  Substitute flavors and ingredients based on simple variations to make personalized concoctions.  We are going to show you how to stat with a simple recipe, the “sour cocktail”, and add flavors collected on your vacation.

The Sour Cocktail

A “sour” is a combination of spirit, citrus and sugar.  This recipe is the foundation for hundreds of different cocktails, with some of the most popular being a daiquiri, margarita, lemon drop, and whiskey sour.  The sour recipe is typically:

  • 2 oz spirit
  • 3/4 oz citrus
  • 3/4 oz simple sugar (recipe below)

To execute a successful sour we recommend picking up a Boston Shaker Set with Hawthorne Strainer and Japanese Jigger.

How to mix

  1. Put ice and all of the ingredients into a shaker and shake hard for about 20 seconds to chill the liquid really well
  2. Strain the mix into a glass filled with ice and garnish with citrus, herb or spice

Become a mixologist: Vacation Spice Sour

We love the sour because it is a simple recipe to execute and improve upon.  A great cocktail has balance and not one flavor overpowers the taste of the drink.  Sticking to the sour recipe above is a bonafide way to execute a successful libation.

Now the fun part, how do you improve upon our sour recipe?  Simply add additional flavors which compliment the original recipe.  Certain spices, herbs, fruits, bitters, and vegetables develop fun flavors that changes the outcome of the drink.  Here is an example we were inspired to create after a trip to Morocco:

Tangiers Sour

  • 2 oz Old Tom Gin
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz turmeric and ginger simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 1 oz egg white
  • Pinch fresh cardamon
  • Fresh grated cinnamon

How to mix

  1. Put ice and all of the ingredients into a shaker and shake hard for about 20 seconds to chill the liquid really well
  2. Strain the mix into the empty chamber of the shaker, and discard of ice. Dry shake for an additional 10 seconds.
  3. Strain the mix into a glass filled with ice and garnish with cardamon and grated cinnamon

Spices from a Tangier spice market

How to craft a signature cocktail

The best ingredients for a signature sour are complimentary.  First start with a few spices or flavors that were prominent during your travels.  For example, you might have tasted a lot of lemongrass and coconut in Thailand, corn and chili in Mexico, and garlic and fresh herbs in Italy.  Make a list of your favorite flavors you encountered in a specific region, and then find how compatible they are with each other.  Use food pairing resources, such as The Flavor Bible, to discover which flavors naturally work together.

Try adding spices and herbs to your simple syrup (recipe below).  Or use citrus that was prominent in the region you visited; like lime for Mexico, or Yuzu for Japan.  Remember to sample in small doses, start with your sour recipe and add small pinches of new ingredients until you get the ratios balanced.

Simple Syrup
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins

How to make flavored simple syrups to add to signature cocktails.

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Beverages
Servings: 1 serving
Simple Syrup Recipe
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Water
Simple Syrup
  1. Pour sugar and water into a pot and bring to a boil. When sugar has dissolved, turn off stove and let syrup cool to room temperature before using in a cocktail.

How to add additional flavors to create signature simple syrups
  1. Add spices, herbs, vegetables, or fruit to simple syrup.  Boil until syrup begins to taste like the added ingredient(s), turn off stove and let syrup cool to room temperature.  Strain (if necessary).

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