Crafted with love, skill and precision, classic cocktails have stood the test of time. Their allure lies in their balanced flavors and the artistry of mixology, and each has a story to tell. As you put the glass to your lips, you’re instantly transported to a bygone era of glamour and refinement. And to sip classic cocktails in some of the world’s most magnificent hotels just further elevates the experience.
To tantalize your palate and stir your wanderlust, we’ve selected some of our favorite classic cocktails, and paired them with some truly exquisite hotels.
The Old Fashioned is one of the oldest cocktails, dating back to the early 1800s. Exuding sophistication and simplicity, it embodies the essence of classic mixology with its straightforward, time-tested recipe.
The recipe typically calls for bourbon or rye whiskey, muddled sugar, aromatic bitters and a twist of citrus rind. Served over ice in a rocks glass, the Old Fashioned offers a perfect balance of sweetness and bitterness, accentuated by the whiskey’s rich flavors.
There’s no better place to sit back and enjoy an Old fashioned than in the Southern United States, the birthplace of bourbon. And there’s no hotel quite like the Ritz Carlton in New Orleans.
Nestled in the heart of the French Quarter, the Ritz Carlton epitomizes Southern elegance and charm. And the hotel’s bars feature skilled mixologists whose attention to detail and the use of high-quality ingredients ensures that each cocktail is a work of art.
While you enjoy your Old Fashioned, bartenders will share stories about the history of classic cocktails and the role of New Orleans in their evolution. So sit back, enjoy and see why this iconic drink has stood the test of time.
Sip an Old Fashioned at the Ritz Carlton on: Southern Grace
Originating in Florence, Italy, the Negroni is closely linked to the Italian aperitivo culture. Legend has it that the cocktail was invented in the early 20th century when Count Camillo Negroni asked a bartender to strengthen his Americano by adding gin.
Brandishing a brilliant red hue and bittersweet flavor profile, the Negroni offers a combination of herbal, citrusy and aromatic notes. Its simple yet bold composition, traditionally equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth, creates a perfectly balanced aperitif.
To enjoy your Negroni in the perfect setting, head to the Hotel Montebello Splendid. Centrally located in the heart of Florence, this elegant five-star hotel occupies a charming 19th-century villa that exudes glamour and grandeur.
The hotel’s rooftop pool bar offers a breathtaking panoramic view of Florence’s skyline. Enjoy your Negroni while basking in the sun against a stunning backdrop of Florence’s iconic landmarks, such as the Duomo, Palazzo Vecchio and the surrounding Tuscan hills.
Savor a Negroni at the Hotel Montebello Splendid on: Ultimate Italy
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While the exact origins of the Sidecar are somewhat disputed, the prevailing narrative credits its creation to Harry MacElhone, an American bartender who worked at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris.
According to the story, the Sidecar was allegedly invented around the end of World War I when a patron arrived at the bar in a motorcycle sidecar. The drink was then named after the vehicle. MacElhone is said to have refined the recipe, using Cognac or brandy, Cointreau, and lemon juice in equal parts, creating the classic Sidecar we know today.
A stunning Parisian setting to enjoy your Side Car, and other classic cocktails, is the St James. Paris’ only chateau hotel, this is an architectural jewel tucked away in the city’s most exclusive district, the 16th. Its bar is sumptuous, filled with greenery, wood paneling, cozy velvets and worn leathers. Renowned for its mixology, this is one of the ultimate meeting places in the city, for both Parisians and those from far flung places.
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Refreshing and vibrant, the Caipirinha hails from Brazil and has become a very popular cocktail. It’s the national drink of Brazil and is deeply rooted in the country’s culture and traditions. Not only invigorating, it is hailed as one of the best classic cocktails for celebrating warm, sunny days.
The primary ingredient of a Caipirinha is cachaça, a Brazilian spirit made from sugarcane juice. Blended with lime and sugar, it is typically served over crushed ice. To prepare a Caipirinha, lime wedges are muddled with sugar in a glass, and then cachaça and ice are added. The result is a delightful balance of sweet, tart and boozy flavors. You can also enjoy numerous variations, with passion fruit or strawberries often used to mix it up.
Where better to enjoy a glass that the Belmond Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Situated on the world-famous Copacabana Beach, the hotel has been an emblem of elegance and sophistication since its opening in 1923.
Its architecture reflects a blend of classical European style with touches of Brazilian charm, set behind an impressive façade. The interiors are adorned with exquisite furnishings and artwork. Relax, enjoy the sunshine and a Caipirinha, as numerous celebrities, politicians and dignitaries have done over the years.
Enjoy a Caipirinha at the Belmond Copacabana Palace on: Classic South America
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While it has become a global icon, the Manhattan has strong associations with the bustling borough of New York City. And for the most iconic setting to enjoy this classic cocktail head to the Park Lane New York hotel, and its Darling rooftop lounge. Located on the 47th floor, the Darling offers a stunning backdrop of the Manhattan skyline and an elevated cocktail menu.
It is said that the key to a perfect Manhattan lies in finding the right balance between the whiskey’s richness and the sweetness of the vermouth. The traditional recipe adds a few dashes of aromatic bitters, and its usually garnished with a maraschino cherry or a twist of orange peel. Over the years, variations of the Manhattan have emerged, with some people preferring bourbon instead of rye whiskey, or opting for dry vermouth to create a drier version.
The Martini is one of the most iconic and enduring cocktails in the world of mixology. Made with gin and dry vermouth, stirred with ice, you’ll find it served in a chilled cocktail glass, garnished with a green olive or a twist of lemon peel.
A cocktail of strength and clarity, the exact origins of the Martini are somewhat debated. But historians believe that it evolved from a late 19th-century mix of gin and vermouth. Over the years, the Martini has inspired various interpretations and modifications. This has led to the creation of famous variations like the Vodka Martini, the Dirty Martini and the Gibson.
Literature, film, and popular culture have also celebrated the Martini. Most notably by James Bond, who famously ordered his martinis “shaken, not stirred.” More than worthy of a Bond moment, the Grand Hotel Quisisana on Italy’s Isle of Capri is an exquisite hotel in which to enjoy a sip of this classic cocktail.
5-star luxury in the heart of Capri town, the Quisisana is just a short walk from the famous Piazzetta. Surrounded by lush gardens and offering breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea, it’s an enchanting retreat for the discerning traveler seeking elegance and relaxation.
Enjoy a Martini at the Quisisana Hotel on: Ultimate Italy
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The origins of the Singapore Sling are associated with the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. The cocktail was created by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon in the early 1900s, and quickly became a favorite among patrons. Today, the Singapore Sling remains a symbol of tropical indulgence and is enjoyed by cocktail enthusiasts around the world.
This elegant cocktail is made a gin base spirit, along with pineapple juice, lime juice, cointreau and cherry liqueur. Some versions also include Bénédictine, grenadine, and Angostura bitters. Reddish-pink, it is typically served over ice in a tall glass and garnished with a slice of pineapple and a maraschino cherry.
The Raffles Hotel Singapore is still one of the most iconic luxury hotels in Asia. And the Long Bar is still in service. Meaning you can still enjoy this historic cocktail in old-world grandeur, dreaming of days gone past.
To savor classic cocktails around the world, we invite you to take a look at our exquisite collection of small group luxury journeys.