With Memorial Day weekend just a few days away, our mouths are literally watering at the thought of grilling out and sipping on some fruity and refreshing cocktails. The start of summer is almost here and we are so ready to kick back and relax with a tasty drink in hand while chilling with family and friends this long weekend, so we’ve been stockpiling cocktail recipes for a couple of weeks now, so we’ll know just what to have on hand for the festivities.
Whether you prefer tequila, rum, vodka or nearly any other spirit, there’s a Latinx-inspired cocktail that’ll be perfect for your barbecue, from super-simple drinks with just a few ingredients to more complex craft cocktails, we have a Memorial Day cocktail suggestion for you. Some are traditional cocktails out of Latin America and others are prepared using common ingredients in Latinx cuisine, but all are guaranteed to be delicious.
Peru’s Pisco Sour is made from the country’s ubiquitous variety of brandy, pisco. Pisco is essentially wine that is distilled into a spirit, to make a sour you just combine a shot of pisco in a shaker with an ounce of fresh lime juice, half ounce of simple syrup and one egg white until it is icy cold and frothy, for a refreshingly tart and universally appealing cocktail. Add a dash of Angostura bitters as a garnish if you want to get fancy.
The mojito was invented in Cuba using a simple combination of rum, mint, sugar and lime juice, but it is now a signature drink in many Caribbean countries including Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and variations of the cocktail including any number of tropical fruits are widely available. This guava version created by Havana Club rum sounds amazing. It’s just rum, guava nectar, sugar, lime juice and a splash of ginger ale served together and garnished with fresh mint.
Similar to pisco in Peru, cachaça is a spirit native to Brazil that is made with fermented sugar cane rather than fermented grapes like pisco. The caipirinha is the traditional cocktail to make using Brazilian cachaça and it is perfect for summer weather. It’s made with just three ingredients–the juice of a couple of limes, a couple of spoonfuls of sugar and just shy of two ounces of cachaça—so it’s perfect to serve to a crowd. Just muddle the sugar and lime and stir in the booze.
Most people don’t think of combining a tropical fruit with Scotch whisky, but Buchanan’s is a brand that’s particularly popular throughout Latin America and they did just that. To make a Pineapple Smash cocktail simply combine a shot of Buchanan’s with grilled pineapple, mint leaves and half an ounce of simple syrup that have been muddled together in a cocktail shaker. Then pour in half an ounce of lemon juice, a quarter ounce of lime juice, three dashes of orange bitters and one ounce of aquafaba. Shake dry, add ice, shake again and serve over ice. This one is sure to impress!
The Paloma cocktail is an excellent alternative to the margarita. Traditionally, it was prepared with a simple combination of tequila, lime juice and grapefruit soda, but we love this even punchier version from @bestcocktails on Instagram, that includes two ounces of tequila, one and a half ounces of grapefruit juice, a spoonful of agave syrup and two ounces of grapefruit soda as well as a quarter ounce of lime-based sour mix and a pinch of habanero salt.
Summer Citrus Sunrise
A huge variety of fresh citrus fruits can be found all over Latin America, which is why it’s so common for them to be used in cocktails in many Latino countries. This Summer Citrus Sunrise cocktail takes the concept of a Tequila Sunrise and replaces the tequila with Ciroc Summer Citrus vodka for an even fresher take on the classic summer bevvy. Just add an ounce and a half of citrus vodka, three ounces of orange juice and one ounce of cranberry or pineapple juice to a glass and serve over ice.
Colombia’s Coco Loco cocktail is a doozy of a drink that packs a serious punch. There’s not just one kind of booze in it, there’s three—rum, vodka and tequila are combined with coconut cream, lime juice and simple syrup to create a cocktail that will surely make you feel like you’re lying on a beach somewhere. And get this, most Colombians don’t measure anything for this drink, but pour everything in to taste. Now, that sounds dangerously delicious.
The Michelada is Mexico’s answer to America’s Bloody Mary, but we have to say, it’s far more appealing. It’s a beer-based cocktail that combines a number of spicy and savory ingredients for a much lighter, more refreshing drinking experience. Just combine a Mexican beer with lime juice, tomato juice and Worcestershire sauce (or a Michelada mixer like the one from Salsaology) and serve over ice with a salted and spiced rim.
Made with a Bolivian grape brandy similar to pisco that is called singani, the Chuflay cocktail is a simple combination of a shot of singani, a scant cup of ginger ale and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. It’s very similar to whisky and ginger or even a Moscow mule. Served over tons of ice, it’s totally refreshing and absolutely delicious.
We would be remiss not to include the Piña Colada on this list, which of course is Puerto Rico’s national cocktail. These days the piña Colada is served all over the world and has come to be symbolic of the kind of tropical vacation everyone dreams of. There’s no reason you can’t bring it to your own backyard this Memorial Day though. And it doesn’t even have to be served frozen. We love this lightened up version from Bacardi, which features fresh pineapple muddled with sugar and combined with a couple ounces each of pineapple juice, coconut water and coconut rum, shaken and served over ice.