There’s a difference between a real traveler and a tourist. Travelers delve beneath the first impression of a place and seek to discover each destination through authentic experiences. Tourists are happy to skim the surface of wherever they’re visiting. How to become a real traveler? One of the most straightforward (and pleasurable) ways to immerse yourself in your travels is to try the local food and drink. There is history and culture to be learned by simply relaxing in a streetside cafe chair (or bar stool or deck lounger), absorbing your surroundings, and sipping on something delicious.
Wherever your 2019 travel plans take you, we can bet that there’s a delicious, Instagrammable cocktail waiting for you. Norwegian Cruise Line offers an array of opportunities for you see the world aboard one of their award-winning cruise ships, with itineraries traveling to South America, Europe, Alaska, Hawaii, and more. Try one of these authentic cocktails onboard, once you reach shore, or, thanks to the recipes below, at home while you finalize your cruise travel plans. After all, cocktails are sure to help you dream up your next vacation.
When in Peru, drink a Pisco Sour
Both Peru and Chile lay claim to the invention of the high-proof spirit pisco. In fact, the origin of this South American favorite is strongly debated in both countries. What we do know is that pisco makes a fine drink called the Pisco Sour, which is exactly what you should order when visiting the oceanside city of Lima, Peru.
Pisco is a colorless or pale amber brandy produced from one to eight varieties of local grapes. South of Lima, the best grapes are grown in coastal valleys all the way down to the tip of Peru. The grapes are crushed, fermented, and distilled in copper stills called alambiques. There are three types of pisco. Puro is made from only one grape varietal, which can be aromatic or non-aromatic, resulting in a different taste, complexity, and olfactory experience for each type. Acholado is a blend of two or more grape varietals; the flavors vary according to the makers who use family recipes passed down through the generations. Mosto Verde differs thanks to a process of not fully fermenting the grapes when the juice is distilled, which results in a subtle refinement.
While you’re docked in Lima, imbibe a Pisco Sour in elegant surroundings at El Bar Inglés, or, for a grand selection of pisco, visit Antigua Taberna Queirolo. And obviously, your stay in Peru is not complete without a visit to a vineyard for a taste of traditional pisco. A fine pisco is enjoyed straight up like a cognac, and true aficionados of pisco are called pisqueros. And after one drink, you may be one too. Salud!
When in Hawai’i, kick back with a Mai Tai
Nothing appeals to travelers to Hawai’i more than drinking a Mai Tai beachside. The original Mai Tai, invented in 1944 by Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron at his Oakland restaurant, contained only lime juice, rock candy syrup, a 17-year-old dark rum, orange curacao, and orgeat syrup. It was poured over ice and garnished with half a lime floated upside down on the drink to look like an island, then topped with a sprig of mint to make for a coconut tree. The Mai Tai quickly surged in popularity, and Matson Steamship Lines brought Trader Vic to Waikiki to develop his tropical cocktails for their hotels. Vic added light rum and pineapple and orange juices to broaden the appeal to the visitors.
Today the Mai Tai is the most requested drink in Hawaii, and the classic is a delightful, layered affair made with quality rums, with or without pineapple juice. Since there is no word for “cheers” in the Hawaiian language, you can sip and say “mahalo” to Trader Vic as you island-hop through Hawai’i with Norwegian’s award-winning itinerary.
When in Alaska, sip on the Northern Lights Cocktail
There are few things in life as spectacular as seeing the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, prancing across a dark, clear sky from the deck of a ship.This natural wonder has fascinated ancient peoples since the beginning of time, and inspires many of today’s travelers to experience it at least once in their lives.
Only viewable within the Northern Lights zone, the high-latitude occurrence is centered at a latitude of 66 to 69 degrees north. The Northern Lights are a result of charged particles from the sun colliding with molecules high up in the Earth’s atmosphere. Different molecules produce different colors: Excited nitrogen atoms emit blue and purple, while oxygen is responsible for red, yellow, and the predominate green color, all exploding into an ethereal display.
Norwegian Cruise Line was inspired by the Northern Lights to create this libation to celebrate the spectacular phenomenon. Enjoy one onboard their Alaska cruises as you search the night sky for the aurora borealis. Cheers!
When in Spain, splurge on sangria and cava
In Barcelona you’ll notice that every signboard on the sidewalk in areas frequented by tourists offers paella and sangria. Sangria, a party punch made with red wine and fruit and sometimes fortified with brandy, is a summer refresher. But why is it so popular with Americans?
Sangria was introduced to the US at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, where Spanish World first served it. It was so well received that when Americans traveled to Spain, the drink they wanted was red wine sangria. Bar and restaurant owners, seeing an opportunity, continued to push sangria to visitors over the years, creating a drink phenomenon.
But Barcelona, the seaside capital of Catalonia, is a cosmopolitan and sophisticated city that has always done things her way. While the rest of Spain may appreciate a glass of sangria made with red wine, Catalans prefer the famous Catalan sparkling wine, cava. Cava is either white or rosé and is made in the Champagne method.
To enjoy cava Barcelona style, you must de tapeo — stop into a few bars to snack and drink before dinnertime — and drink it with a side of tapas. Try traditional tapas with a glass of cava at Bar La Plata, or stop at Cachitos Rambla for sangria and tapas. Salud!
When in Italy, sip an Aperol Spritz
Cruise from Spain over to Italy to experience the Aperol Spritz — it’s the quintessential refresher in spring, summer, and early fall for aperitivo in Italy. Created in Padua in 1919 by brothers Luigi and Silvio Barbieri, the glowing orange-hued Aperol liqueur tastes bitter at first with burnt orange and rhubarb notes and then lightens a bit, perhaps owing to its secret blend of herbs.
Only 11 percent alcohol by volume, it’s the perfect base for the Aperol Spritz as an aperitivo cocktail with the addition of bubbly prosecco or cava, and perhaps a splash of gin. Aperitivo is the Italian custom of gathering with friends after work around 7 p.m. for a drink before dinner. Little plates of salty snacks, olives, almonds, and cheeses are provided by the bar to enjoy with your drink. This delightful custom began in the north (think Turin, Venice,Trieste, and Milan) but is now embraced by most of Italy. When cruising in Italy, order an Aperol Spritz and give in to the tradition of aperitivo. Cin cin!
When in Greece, try Mastic
We owe so much to the Greeks. After all, they gave us democracy, medicine, philosophy, geometry . . . and the infamous, hair-on-your-chest Greek spirits ouzo, raki, and tsipouro. But the Greeks have also been distilling the lesser-known mastic into an alcohol called mastiha since 600 B.C.
Mastic, a gummy resin, is harvested in Greece by cutting the bark of a tree, Pistacia lentiscus, to allow the resin to slowly drip out in droplets. The Chios island mastic called “tears of Chios” brims with pine and citrus flavor.
Cruise from Italy over to the Greek Isles to try mastiha liqueur for yourself. It can be served chilled as a shot, but the most elegant way to try it is in a skillfully mixed cocktail served on the terrace of a swanky Athens bar as the sunset lights up your view of the Acropolis. This cocktail, from the rooftop Galaxy Bar & Restaurant, is a masterful combination of layers of flavors playing off the mastic. Yamas!
When in France, enjoy a French 75
Theories abound as to the true origin of the French 75, or Soixante Quinze as it is called in Paris. The most famous of these claims that during World War I, some Allied soldiers in France wanted to mix a highball akin to a Tom Collins. Using what was available, they poured in some cognac but didn’t have any soda water so they substituted Champagne instead — et voila!
Apparently it packed a wallop, so they named it after the powerful French 75mm artillery field gun that played a large part in winning the war. Another story credits Harry MacElhone of Harry’s New York Bar in Paris with its invention.
All speculation aside, it’s best to stop pondering and just appreciate the drink by having one yourself as you cruise through Europe. Today it’s made with either gin or cognac, and is still enjoyed by many in France. It’s also incredibly popular on the other side of the pond: In New Orleans, the famous Arnaud’s bar is named French 75 Bar. Santé!
When you travel, you’re free to experience local customs, flavors, and culture. And cruising to your dream destination allows you to maximize your travel time and minimize your travel-related stress. Learn more about the incredible destinations you can visit with Norwegian Cruise Line.