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Global Flavors for Innovative Cocktails

A growing trend right now is the use of local ingredients in cocktails. As with food menus, more and more customers want to see local ingredients on drink menus and are looking to try something new and exclusive to their location. We traveled the globe to find out what local ingredients top bartenders are using.


Rebecca Quinonez, Diageo Global Brand Ambassador for Ron Zacapa

I think the trend toward localization is brilliant. Using local ingredients is a way of identifying with individual cities and markets and telling the story of their culture, heritage and traditions.

In my hometown of Miami, cocktails are incredibly trendy and we’re experiencing a renaissance of the classics, paying homage to the likes of the Old-Fashioned, Boulevardier and the Hemingway Daiquiri, which the Miami locals like to call by Julio Cabrera’s other name, “Papa Doble."

Local Ingredients Used in Cocktails

Miami is a unique city with much of our gastronomy and mixology influenced by our strong Caribbean and Latin American culture. Cocktails will often incorporate ingredients inspired by Caribbean cuisine, such as plantain garnishes. Tropical fruits, such as papaya and guava, are also extremely popular and are used to enhance recipes and make variations or more exotic twists on traditional cocktails like Piña Coladas, Daiquiris and even cocktails inspired by and incorporating local Hispanic desserts, such as Dulce de Leche Piña Colada.

Banana Daiquiri

For the Banana Rum:


Peel and slice 2 ripe bananas into ½-inch slices.

Add the banana and Rum to a jar, seal and shake.

Let steep for 2–3 days.

For the cocktail:

Add the Banana Rum, lime juice and syrup to a shaker and fill with ice.

Shake vigorously for a full 10 seconds.

Double strain into a chilled coupe glass.

Garnish with fried plantain chip with dusted peanuts on top and/or lime wheel.


Din Hassan, Bar Owner and Brand Ambassador for SingBev

I started to use local flavors when I set up Bitter & Love bar with Steve Leong and Eugene Chua. We started to use local flavors because these ingredients were easy to source and soon we started to see lots of bars doing it. I believe this trend will continue to grow as more and more people want to try local flavors.

Local Ingredients Used in Cocktails

Rose syrup with milk (Bandung), Milo (chocolate-flavored energy drinks), chicken rice stocks and chili crab paste.

Chili Crab Bloody Maria


Muddle DON JULIO Reposado, Port Wine, Lea & Perrins, lemon juice, orange juice, simple syrup and chili crab sauce together, then shake and strain into a highball glass.

Rim half glass with salt and thyme.

For the garnish use local cucumber and cherry tomato with pepper on top.


Chris Strong, Bar Manager, Dubai

In terms of cocktails the UAE is still very young and is still finding its feet in terms of a national drink, however the trend leans toward long and refreshing drinks, using heavy citrus flavors and also a lot of local, fresh fruit.

Local Ingredients Used in Cocktails

Camel’s milk is one that really surprised me as an ingredient in the Middle East. It is a product that is amazing in a White Russian and adds a totally different dynamic to a Ramos Gin Fizz in terms of texture and flavor.

White Camel’s Milk


Dry shake all the ingredients then wet shake over rock ice.

Double strain into chilled rocks glass over ice.

Garnish with candied dates and almonds.


James Fowler, Bar Owner and UK World Class Winner 2014

I love seeing diversity on menus and local ingredients which really showcase new and specialized flavors. It is great to support local producers and involve them in the drinks industry. Customers also love to see and taste local influences.

Local Ingredients Used in Cocktails

The UK has some great foraged wild ingredients. Our countryside and remote areas produce some really unique ingredients. I love using seaweeds, rock samphire and wild mushrooms.

Marsh – Haul Matters


Stir all the ingredients on crisp ice.

Pour into a chilled coupe glass.

Garnish with fresh samphire pegged to the side of the glass.

(*One standard drink contains 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol)

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