We all like a bit of insider knowledge when it comes to travelling. And it’s no different when it comes to holiday tipples. We’ll ask friends – or trawl TripAdvisor – to find out where the best bars are, what to drink, and how to replicate the best cocktails back home. So, hot on the heels of part 1 – your guide to the best drinks around the world – we’re bringing you this, a collection of top tipple-related tips. We’ve found out the best wine to order with paella, how to mix a proper Cuban mojito, and some of the best places to sip your beer or cocktail. Cheers…
Order off the wine menu in Spain
Let’s face it, most of us need all the help we can get when we’re ordering off the wine menu,
especially when we’re abroad. In Spain, for example, it’s easy to just go for that old standby, Rioja. Luckily, it goes with lots of different things, according to David Rough, who runs the Hertfordshire Wine School.
“Rioja goes with most red meat, though I’d say it’s best with roast lamb dishes. Or try a glass of Priorat, made in the Catalan region south of Barcelona – it’s the fashionable red of the moment.”
Of course, the big question is – what goes best with paella?
“Most dry whites work with a typical seafood and chicken paella. Sauvignon Blanc is a good bet.
Albarino is good, too – Rias Baixas, probably the best Spanish white, is made from that grape. If you want something with a bit more body, then a nice oaky Chardonnay would work, too.”
Make a mojito like a Cuban local
Mojitos have made it to the top of the cocktail list in recent years – people can’t get enough of rum, lime and mint concoctions. Mind you, according to Alejandro Vazquez, our Resort Team Manager in Cuba, you can’t just throw the ingredients in a glass and hope for the best. Oh no.
“The mojito is not just any concoction – it is an art form. There are countless recipes to mix a mojito, but this is the version that’s prepared in its birthplace, La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana,made famous by Ernest Hemingway.
“To make a killer mojito, place 4 mint leaves into a long mojito glass, and squeeze the juice from a cut lime over it – you might not need all of it. Add 2 ounces of powdered sugar, then gently smash the mint into the lime juice and sugar with a muddler or spoon. Take your time over this, to make sure you get as much zest and juice as possible. Add ice – not too much – then the rum. Stir and top off with club soda. Cheers!”
Follow in the footsteps of the SATC girls in NYC
It’s not just about mixing drinks, though – it’s where you sip them. Nicky Jones, our Creative Manager, was lucky enough to follow in Sarah Jessica Parker’s footsteps on a holiday to the Big Apple…
“The best drink I’ve ever had was a cosmo in the Bull and Bear in the Waldorf Astoria in New York. Some of the bar scenes from Sex and the City were filmed there so the cocktails are as authentic as you can get – and strong!”
Mix a key lime pie cocktail, Florida-style
According to Florida local Dawn Croft, nothing could be more quintessentially Floridian than a key lime pie cocktail. Here’s her recipe…
“The way I make it is with vanilla-flavored vodka, fresh-squeezed key limes, a dash of Cointreau or triple sec, and a dash of heavy cream. Shake it over ice and pour it into a chilled martini glass.”
She’s got an unusual addition, too – frozen pineapple chunks.
“They keep it cold and round out the flavour. You can also get really fancy and rim the glass with crushed graham crackers, to simulate the crust, though that’s a little much for my taste.”
Drink a beer in Mexico…
Our design whizz, Nimesh Parmar, recently had a holiday over on the Yucatan Peninsula. And he reckoned the Corona beer tasted different over there…
“Corona beer in Mexico is refreshing and tastes better than it does here in the UK. Kind of like how Guinness tastes so different in Ireland. It probably has something to do with how it’s served, though – in a bucket full of ice with a wedge of lime and, in my case, right on the beach. Lovely!”
…or maybe in Kenya…
He’s not the only one who’s had an exotic holiday recently. Thomson Editorial Executive, Sarah Holt, treated herself to a safari in Kenya this year. And it wasn’t just the animals that made an impression – she found the best setting for Kenya’s tasty Tusker Beer.
“Ooh, Tusker Beer is epic. My brother had one in the balcony bar, overlooking a watering hole crowded with elephants at the Salt Lick Lodge. I actually imported some for his birthday this year, it was that good.”
Have you got any great bars or recipes to share with us? Let us know below.