30 DIY Cocktails That Will Make You Feel Like You're On Vacation

Even the most frequent fliers are homebound sometimes. But it's still possible to take your tastebuds on a world tour with DIY cocktails that will make you feel like you're vacationing in paradise.

The sandy beaches of Puerto Rico are just a hop, sip, and jump away via the Piña Colada. And unusual liquors like cachaça or pisco — from Brazil and Peru, respectively — will take you on a journey. Our only advice: don't try all 30 of these recipes in one go. Otherwise, shake, stir, and pour your way around the globe. Bon voyage!


New Orleans: Sazerac

Nothing quite captures the spirit of New Orleans like a Sazerac cocktail. As the story goes, it was invented by a creole apothecary Antoine Peychaud in 1838 (via NewOrleans.com). The original recipe featured his favorite French brandy, but somewhere along the way it was replaced by bourbon or whiskey. Add it to a glass rinsed with anise-flavored Herbsaint, with Peychaud's bitters and a sugar cube, and you have yourself an authentic taste of the Big Easy.


As reported by NewOrleans.com, some even credit Peychaud with inventing the word "cocktail," based on the egg cup, or coquetier, that his wares were sold in. Whether that's true is up for debate. But here's what we do know: one sip and it's like you're right there on Bourbon Street.

Havana: Mojito

Refreshing, citrusy, and a little sweet — the mojito may just be perfection in a glass. At least, that's likely what English naval captain Sir Francis Drake thought. In 1586, when Drake descended on Havana to plunder the Spanish treasure in the name of the Queen, he left behind a delightful concoction of muddled sugar, lime, and mint added to the medicinal spirit aguardiente or "fire water" (via Difford's Guide). At the very least, the drink kept scurvy at bay.


In the 1800s, rum replaced the original fire water, and the Mojito was born. A perfect drink for those who like a good story — like Ernest Hemingway, who is believed to have famously said: "My Mojito in La Bodeguita. My Daiquiri in El Floridita." (More on Daiquiris later.) Find the recipe at All Recipes.

New York: Manhattan

Are your nerves jangled after a day bumping elbows in America's busiest metropolis? The Manhattan cocktail is here to soothe them. A fiery mix of rye, vermouth, and Angostura bitters makes this cocktail as strong as it is delicious.


There is some debate on which bar in Manhattan christened the drink. As Esquire explains, many believe it was created in the 1870s at the Manhattan Club, where Winston Churchill's mother was throwing a gala. But this version seems unlikely since she was pregnant in England at the time. Nevertheless, this cocktail has stood the test of time. Make it here, make it anywhere (preferably in your own home).

London: Pimm's Cup

If you need a reason to break out your ascot or fascinator, we've got you: mix up a Pimm's Cup. This refreshing-yet-refined tipple is the drink of Wimbledon, and delicious to boot. Tailor it to suit your tastes — all you need is the gin-based Pimm's No. 1 liqueur, something bubbly (ginger ale, soda, or lemonade), plus the fruit and/or vegetable of your choosing. Traditionally, cucumber and mint make the cut, but you do you.


This venerable cocktail hails back to 1840 when it was first invented by James Pimm, the owner of an oyster bar in the middle of the city (via Liquor.com). At the time, it was a "health drink." Today, it's enjoyed by royals and regular folk alike.

Bangkok: Sabai Sabai

Known as the "Thai welcome drink," the Sabai Sabai cocktail features Thailand's national spirit, Mekhong (via The Spruce Eats). Infused with Thai herbs and spices, Mekhong is distilled from molasses and rice, so although it's whisky-like, rum is probably its closest relative. Add Thai basil, fresh-squeezed lemon, a splash of sugar, and club soda to the Mekhong for a deliciously refreshing drink. If you can't be on a beach in Thailand, it can still feel like you have a little taste of paradise.


Tokyo: Tokyo Station

In 1989, the bartender at The Tokyo Station Hotel mixed up a libation to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the train station (the building that houses the hotel). As Forbes reports: "The building itself inspired the drink. 'The red bricks go to the color of cocktail, using Tanqueray and Suze [a French aperitif], [which have] the same initials as Tokyo Station. Also, a cut of lime expresses the color of pine trees planted in front of the station.'" Simple syrup and grenadine round out the ingredients. Shake, strain, and imagine yourself on a train going anywhere.


Los Angeles: Zombie

Don the Beachcomber, the pioneer of tiki culture, invented the Zombie cocktail in the 1930s (via Liquor.com). His own bar had all the tiki trappings you'd expect: parasols floating in fruity rum drinks, hula music, and Polynesian décor. So is it any wonder his most famous concoction would make you feel like you're on vacation? But beware; according to Liquor.com, patrons were only allowed two Zombies at Don's establishment (before, we assume, they felt like literal zombies). It's a potent mix of Puerto Rican, Jamaican and overproof rums, falernum liqueur, and a splash of Pernod. Add a mix of tropical juices — grapefruit and lime — plus grenadine, bitters, and cinnamon-infused syrup. Extravagant garnishes and tiny umbrellas are encouraged.


Hawaii: Mai Tai

The Mai Tai may have been invented in Oakland, California, but these days, the Aloha State has a firm claim on it (and justifiably so). We can't think of a better place to sip this cocktail than on a white sandy beach. Although your own backyard is pretty good, too.


As Eater reports, the drink hails back to 1944, when it was invented at Trader Vic's tiki establishment. It's an easy-drinking mix of rum and orange Curaçao, alongside orgeat almond syrup, simple syrup, and fresh-squeezed lime. In the 1950s, the drink arrived in Hawaii, and pineapple and orange juice sweetened the recipe.

Find the recipe over at Difford's Guide. However you decide to make it, it's essentially a vacation in a glass. Paradise found.

Paris: French 75

When in Paris, drink the French 75. It's a champagne cocktail, with a little kick (à la Moulin Rouge). The mix of gin, lemon juice, sugar, and champagne was named after the French 75mm gun, as both the drink and the gun pack a punch. Even novelist Alec Waugh called it "the most powerful drink in the world" (via Liquor.com).


According to Culture Trip, the World War I–era drink was invented at Harry's New York Bar in Paris, one of the most famous cocktail bars in the City of Lights. As with any famous cocktail, the true origin story is murky, but the drink itself is crisp and refreshing. One sip, and you'll be transported. Santé!

Jamaica: Rum Punch

The classic punch dates back to the 17th century when British sailors were looking for an alternative to the beer that spoiled on their tropical journeys (via NPR). If necessity is the mother of invention, then imagine what a boatful of Englishmen without beer or wine will dream up. Eventually, the punch made its way to the Caribbean, where Jamaican rum was added. 


The Jamaican Rum Punch recipe calls for a blend of rums, tempered with fruit juices, a splash of citrus, and sugar syrup or grenadine. Make lots, put it in a punch bowl, and call a few friends. Find the recipe at Liquor.com.

Spain: Sangria

Sangria likely hails all the way back to the Middle Ages, when wine was often safer to drink than water (via Food & Wine). Back then, the wine was lighter, so it was mixed with spices.

At the 1964 World Fair, the rest of the world was introduced to Sangria via the Spanish pavilion. That version mixed fruit and wine together, and since then countless variations have been concocted. Fruit juice, brandy, wine (any color!), sugar, club soda, and any sliced fruit that is in season come together in a pitcher of deliciousness. Find a recipe at Delish.


No garnish is required in this unfussy drink. Spain, here we come. 

Portugal: Port and Tonic

On its own, Portugal's famed fortified wine is smooth, sweet, and delicious. But turning port wine into a cocktail adds a whole new element. First, you'll need to track down white port, the red port's refreshing, fly-under-the-radar cousin. Just as satisfying as its ruby-hued counterpart, white port can be sipped on its own or used as the base for a Port and Tonic cocktail. The mixed drink is as simple as it sounds. Build your cocktail over ice with one part white port to two parts tonic (via The Kitchn). Add an orange garnish and voilà! A truly tasty warm-weather tipple.


Brazil: Caipirinha

As Esquire explains, the Caipirinha is often described as "a Brazilian Mojito." The main difference is the liquor used: cachaça. Similar to rum, cachaça is made from distilled sugarcane. However, in cachaça the sugarcane is fermented, while rum uses sugarcane juice or molasses. The resulting flavor is earthier and funkier than rum.


Like a Mojito, muddle the lime and sugar before adding ice and cachaça. Even if you're nowhere close to a rainforest or beach, this drink will make you say ahhhhhh.

Florence: Negroni

Ask any bartender: Negroni's stock is rising. After a century, this classic cocktail is back in style and on menus everywhere (via The Guardian). Like many other drinks, the Negroni was created due to the demands of a picky customer. The year was 1919, and the customer was Count Camillo Negroni of Florence on the hunt for a stronger version of the Americano — another excellent Italian drink (via CN Traveler). The final recipe is a simple-yet-delightful concoction that balances sweet and bitter.


To make your own, add equal parts of gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari to an ice-filled glass. Garnish with an orange, then raise your glass to the Count. Cin cin!

Malaysia: Jungle Bird

Back in the 1970s, the Jungle Bird cocktail was served as a welcome drink to visitors to the Kuala Lumpur Hilton Hotel (via Liquor.com). Jeffrey Ong See Tiek, a bartender at the hotel's Aviary Bar, is credited with its invention (via Epicurious). Rumor has it that the hotel's aviary gave the drink its name and that it was even served in a bird-shaped vessel. Failing that, a highball glass will still show off a blend of your choice of dark or blackstrap rum, Campari, pineapple juice, fresh-squeezed lime, and simple syrup. This drink definitely veers into tiki territory. But that's not a bad thing.


British Virgin Islands: Painkiller Cocktail

If wishing so hard for a tropical vacation is causing you metaphorical pain, then the Painkiller cocktail is the cure. Basically liquid sunshine, the Painkiller is a mix of rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, and cream of coconut. Then shake, shake, shake. If you want to get really fancy, dust a little nutmeg on the top. (Teeny umbrellas are also highly recommended.)


According to Delish, this frothy cousin to the piña colada was invented at The Soggy Dollar Bar in the British Virgin Islands. The 1970s original used Pusser's Rum, a throwback rum to the British Royal Navy rum (via Liquor.com). But let's be honest: any rum will do in a pinch — although dark rum is preferred.

Mexico: Margarita

If your idea of a Margarita is something that comes out of a slush machine, prepare to be pleasantly surprised. Wine Enthusiast describes the real deal as a tart, refreshing mix of tequila, orange liqueur, and lime, shaken and poured into a salt-rimmed glass. One sip and it's clear how this cocktail won the world over. This classic cocktail has many creation stories. Which is true? Well, perhaps the best story is that in the 1940s, a dancer at the Foreign Club in Tijuana inspired the drink. Later on, that dancer became known by her stage name: Rita Hayworth (via Drink). With that kind of star power, no wonder the drink found fame.


Venice: Aperol Spritz

It's light. It's summery. It's bubbly. It may be the perfect drink to sip in an Italian piazza — or anywhere, really. Oh, and did we mention that it's extremely easy to make? Just add prosecco to Aperol in a glass packed with ice. Garnish with an orange slice or, to make a Venetian Spritz, an olive.


The Aperol Spritz didn't arrive on the scene until the 1950s, but spritzes have been around for a few centuries. As Town and Country explains, visitors to Italy who found the wines too strong would often add a splash ("spritz" in German) of water. Aperitifs eventually replaced the wine (like Aperol, invented in 1919), and prosecco was swapped out for water. The result is buonissimo.

Peru: Pisco Sour

Pisco is a South American liquor, distilled from fermented grapes, that hearkens back to the 16th century. The magic is in the grape varietals, which are specific to the region. As Eater reports, "It's very much a terroir spirit." The resulting spirit's closest relative is brandy, although pisco isn't aged in oak barrels, which gives it a very different flavor profile.


Once you've found your bottle of pisco, the rest of the drink is pretty straightforward: shake pisco, lime juice, simple syrup, and an egg white, then strain into a cocktail glass (via Liquor.com). Garnish with Angostura Bitters. Then sit back and enjoy the view of the Andes — or whatever your window overlooks.

Santiago: Daiquiri

Like the Margarita, the blender has done the Daiquiri no favors. The original Cuban cocktail combines rum and maraschino cherry liqueur for an understated sweetness. Add lime and sugar to your shaker, then strain into a coupe for the grown-up version of the too-sweet slushies many of us are accustomed to (via Saveur). This version may be new to you, but as The New York Times reports, the Daiquiri's history goes back to 1898, during the Spanish-American War. Some credit the drink to an American miner, others to an American soldier. Whoever invented it, we can safely say: they nailed it.


Brussels: Black Russian

If you're a fan of the Espresso Martini, meet its distant relative. The Black Russian is a simple sipper: vodka and coffee liqueur are combined over ice. As Wine Enthusiast reports, the drink was created in Brussels at the Hotel Metropole by Gustave Hops. In 1949, Hops mixed the drink for the US ambassador to Luxembourg. After that, it gained some popularity, before cream was added and the White Russian was born, sometime in the 1960s.


Puerto Rico: Piña Colada

If you like Piña Coladas — then bust out the blender. This dreamy mix of rum, cream, cream of coconut, and pineapple is a taste of the tropics, and has been since its creation in 1954. The fruity concoction was invented at San Juan's Caribe Hilton by Ramón "Monchito" Marrero, who apparently experimented for months before arriving at perfection in a glass (via Wine Enthusiast).


In 1978, the island of Puerto Rico declared the Piña Colada its official drink. It even has its own day — July 10, in case you're wondering — making it the stuff of legend (via Forbes).

Germany: Gin Basil Smash

The Gin Smash is a testament to the power of a good name. As Difford's Guide reports, the drink created by Jörg Meyer in Hamburg, Germany was originally called the Gin Pesto. Meyer created the drink in the spring of 2008, but in July he blogged about the drink renamed the Gin Basil Smash and it became a sensation (via Punch). Now, Le Lion, the bar where Meyer first invented the drink, serves 22,000 a year. Find out what all the fuss is about by shaking up your own: add basil to your shaker and muddle, before adding gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice to the mix. We'll choose it over a giant stein of beer anytime.


Singapore: Singapore Sling

Back in 1915, the barkeep at the Long Bar at Raffles hotel took the classic Gin Sling and made it extra (via Liquor.com). It's fruity and delicious, and a tad heavy on ingredients: gin, herbal Benedictine, Grand Marnier, cherry liqueur, pineapple and lime juices, Angostura bitters, and club soda.


Don't let the rosy hue fool you — this drink packs a punch. As Raffles Singapore reports, the feminine-looking drink looked innocent enough for ladies to sip at a time when it wasn't socially acceptable for women to do so. As if there wasn't already enough to like about the Singapore Sling.

Bermuda: Dark 'n' Stormy

For all the drama the name imparts, the Dark 'n' Stormy is a pretty simple cocktail. Esquire reports that its name came from swirling Gosling's Rum into ginger beer (that naval officers were brewing for seasickness), and one sailor declaring that it looked "the color of a cloud only a fool or a dead man would sail under." That was around WWI, and the drink has gone on to conquer drink menus everywhere. The recipe is still that simple — dark rum, ginger beer, ice. The only question is: lime, or no lime? You're the captain of this ship, so the choice is yours.


Canary Islands: Barraquito

We're not sure about you, but the Barraquito cocktail combines three of our favorite things: coffee, in the form of espresso (good); liquor, in the form of Licor 43 or another vanilla-flavored alcohol (very good); and dessert in the form of condensed and frothed milk (no complaints here). Often the drink is layered, beginning with the condensed milk and ending with a dusting of cinnamon and a squeeze of lemon. According to Atlas Obscura, the Barraquito is usually served as dessert after a meal. But we're pretty sure it tastes great alongside pancakes, too. Find a recipe at Guide to Canary Islands.


Argentina: Fernet con Coca

It's two ingredients. It's definitely different. If you want to DIY a cocktail, but can't tell a coupe from a flute, the Fernet con Coca is one to try. As Food52 explains, this Argentinian hangover remedy uses herbaceous Fernet-Branca — already a hangover cure over in Italy. Fernet-Branca's history in Argentina began in 1870, and today it's the "only country outside of Italy where Fernet-Branca is made," according to Food52. Around 30 years ago, Coca-Cola was added to Argentina's favorite amaro and history was made. Fernet-Branca has a distinct flavor — bitter, herbaceous, spicy — that makes this drink interesting. Mix the spirit with soda over ice, and garnish with lemon (via Food & Wine). And remember — if you drink too many, mix yourself another in the morning.


Kenya: Dawa

Strangely enough, Brazil's Caipirinha was the inspiration for Kenya's most popular cocktail. The two recipes are very similar, except the liquor in a Dawa is vodka instead of cachaça. Also not to be overlooked is the honey-coated stir-stick that brings the whole drink together. As Eater explains, the man who is credited with naming the drink, Dr. Dawa himself, says: "It's a magic stick," since it stirs, muddles, and imparts flavor. The word "dawa" means "medicine" in Swahili, although the drink's curative properties are up for debate. Not up for debate, however, is how refreshing this mix of vodka, sugar, lime, and honey is. But if you're seeing elephants after a few, make sure it's because you're in Africa.


Canada: Caesar

Like its cousin the Bloody Mary, the Caesar cocktail has a choose-your-own-adventure vibe. Like horseradish? Throw it in! Lime juice? Add a squeeze! One slight-yet-significant difference to the Bloody Mary: clam juice. Thankfully, you won't have to fresh-squeeze a clam — it comes premixed in Clamato juice, the salty-savory-umami Caesar mixer. Put it in a celery salt-rimmed glass with vodka (the usual), gin, or tequila — your choice. Then add a dash of Worcestershire and Tabasco (via Liquor.com). Here's where it gets fun: a celery stalk garnish is standard, but let loose your wildest snack fantasies. One Canadian eatery put a whole roast chicken on top, according to Eater. A hard act to follow, but give it your best shot.


Nicaragua: El Macuá

As the Washington Post explains, the El Macuá cocktail was created for a national cocktail competition in Nicaragua. (Is it just us, or is this a great idea?) The fruity, tropical cocktail is now the country's national drink. The drink's creator, Dr. Edmundo Miranda Saenz, collaborated with a few family members before landing on this winner of a drink (via Liquor.com).


The recipe calls for a blend of fruit juices — guava foremost among them, alongside orange and lemon juice — a splash of simple syrup, and your choice of either white or aged rum. It's named for a tropical bird native to the region, so feel free to get bird-of-paradise extravagant with your garnishes.