Cocktails and drinks all over the world

By Timo Beerman - 13 February 2023

We all know that love goes through the stomach and what is better than some nice, refreshing cocktail under the summer sun? This is one thing that I found, as a bartender, that unites us all. All cultures around the world have a deeply ingrained drinking culture and especially the social aspect of coming together for a nicely tasting drink is something I always look forward to when travelling. So, without further ado, let me take you into the wonderous world of drinks 


Let’s start withone of the first ‘cocktails’ ever created! The traditional format of cocktails all started with the English navy. As we all know, pirates and navy personnel were really heavy drunks, consuming huge rations of alcohol every day and being drunk 24/7. Not surprising, of course, as they would be at sea doing nothing for the majority of the time. Just to compare, they consumed around 400 ml of hard liquor per day. So next time someone tells you that you’re an alcoholic, you know what to tell them. 

Well, coming back to cocktails, the first ‘cocktail’ originated when a navy general wanted to combat scurvy, increase minerals and cut down on alcohol. He put a policy in place where the barrel-strength alcohol, usually gin or rum, needed to be watered down to around 40% ABV, some quinine bitters were added to help with digestion and health, and some citrus added to combat scurvy. Finally, to make the whole affair a little more bearable, they added some sugar. Thus, the first ‘cocktail’ was born. In modern days, this classic cocktail is called a gimlet and is simply made with gin, lemon juice and some sugar. 


For this cocktail, we move with the Western settlers towards Latin America. Even though they originally did have alcoholic beverages, they didn’t have any distilleries. When the English, Spanish and Portuguese came to Latin America, they brought this technology with them and produced a lot of sugar cane distillates. The most popular one is rum, which is a story for another time, but I want to highlight another distillate; cachaca. Cachaca is also a style of cane spirit, but it is fermented differently, which makes it really nice and funky. Well, luckily the Brazilians are familiar with nice and funky, so they adopted this into their national drink: the Caipirinha. In essence, it is just sugar, limes and cachaca with a lot of ice, but really complex. They use complete pieces of limes, so the essential oils in the peels are also in the drink. One of my hidden favorites! 


Next, there is a huge family of cocktails that all come from the rum family. With more and more high-proof alcohol becoming available in the Caribbean, the cocktail culture emerged there. However, this got really intertwined with culture! If you ever wandered into a classic tiki-bar, you should know what this is like: weird and personal styling of the bar, fire and excitement all around and the connection to the sea everywhere. All the cocktails here are made with rum and some tropical ingredient or juices, and are sometimes known to make you forget the end of the evening…. Some personal recommendations are a Mai Tai, a Jungle bird or the Zombie Reviver No 2 (yes long story, ask me about it at on a Thursday drink). 


Moving on in time and also a little more north, we find ourselves in the Prohibition Era in the USA. During this period (1920-1933), all alcohol production and consumption was banned in the whole country, mostly due to the excess consumption in the roaring ‘20s that caused alcoholism, corruption, and family violence. The sazerac was one of the only ones that was still available, illegally, as it requires whiskeys or cognacs (Scotland or France) and a little hint of absinth (France). On top of this, the drink evolved over time when the Prohibition was over and made with American ingredients such as rye or bourbon. Therefore, don’t forget to indicate what kind of Sazerac you would like when you order it in a bar! Choose either French (only cognac), classic (a bit of both) or American (only bourbon and rye) 


The last cocktail on the list is a personal favorite of mine! This cocktail originated in Italy, the country where amaro (a bitter pre-dinner drink) reigns supreme. This drink was invented in Florence when count Negroni asked to have a boozier version of the Americano, a mix of vermouth, Campari and seltzer. The bartender on the shift added some gin and forgot to add the sparkling water, and thus the famous classic was born. This drink was further popularized by the most famous amaro brand, Campari, and has seen a surge in popularity as the Negroni Spagliato was featured on TikTok. This twist on the classic cocktail literally means ‘Negroni; the wrong was’ and swaps the gin for prosecco. If you ever have a nice dinner planned where you appetite needs a boost? Ask for a negroni and you will be all set.  

After our shallow dive into the world of cocktails, it seems about time for me to get my drink on. What I find fascinating about the world of cocktails is the extensive culture and tradition that is behind it. If I’m on holiday in another country, I cannot wait to taste and hear about the stories that connect the drinks to the society. Well, if I can give you one more piece of advice about cocktails, it is that you should try everything and talk with your bartender! Who knows, maybe the thee coffee beans in you espresso martini, the three dots on a pisco sour or the three sprigs of mint in a mint julep have something in common, even though they come from all different parts of the world! 


Intermate is the study association of the bachelor Technical Innovation Sciences, the majors Sustainable Innovation and Psychology & Technology and the masters Human Technology Interaction and Innovation Sciences.


040-247 4430


SV Intermate

© 2024 - sv Intermate