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Global Flavours for Innovative Cocktails

A growing trend right now is the use of local ingredients in cocktails. As with food menus, more and more customers are wanting to see local ingredients on drink menus and try something new and exclusive to that location. We travelled 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 towards localisation 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 Old Fashioned, Boulevardier and the Hemingway Daiquiri, or as locals in Miami like to call Julio Cabrera’s other name “Papa Doble

Local ingredients you use 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 pina coladas, daiquiris and even cocktails inspired by and incorporating local Hispanic desserts, such as Dolce de leche Pina Colada.

Recipe - Banana Daiquiri

55ml Banana rum (method below)
20ml Lime juice
15ml Rich simple syrup (2 parts sugar; 1 part water)
Fried plantain chip with dusted peanuts and/or lime wheel for garnish

For the banana rum:


2 ripe bananas

175ml light rum



Peel and slice 2 ripe bananas into 1/2 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 and serve with garnish of choice.

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

(2.2 standard drinks*- 1.7 units per serve)


Din Hassan, Bar Owner and Brand Ambassador for SingBev

I started to use local flavours when I set up Bitter & Love bar with Steve Leong and Eugene Chua. We started to use local flavours 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 flavours.

Local ingredients you use in cocktails

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

Recipe - Chili Crab Bloody Maria

10ml Port Wine
2 Dash Lea & Perrins
6 Cherry tomatoes
3 Stalks of thyme
1 Bar spoon chili crab sauce
20ml Fresh lemon juice
15ml Fresh orange juice
15ml Simple syrup


Muddle DON JULIO™ REPOSADO, port wine, Lea & Perrins, lemon juice, orange juice and the syrup 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.

(2.1 standard drinks*- 1.9 units per serve)


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 leads towards long and refreshing drinks, using heavy citrus flavours and also a lot of local fresh fruit.

Local ingredients you use in your 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 flavour.

Recipe - White Camel’s Milk

10ml Orange flavoured liqueur
5ml Date syrup
20ml Lemon juice
5ml Sugar syrup
40ml Camel’s milk
Pasteurized egg white
Candied dates and almonds


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

(2.8 standard drinks*- 2.2 units per serve)


James Fowler, Bar owner and UK World Class winner 2014.

I love seeing diversity on menus & local ingredients which really showcase new & specialist flavours. It is great to support local producers & involving them in the drinks industry. Customers also love to taste & see local influences.

Local ingredients you use in your cocktails

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

Recipe - Marsh – Haul Matters


25ml Vermouth

2.5ml samphire infused JOHNNIE WALKER™ BLACK (small handful of samphire, muddled & infused with 50ml of Johnnie Walker)


Stir all the ingredients on crisp ice.

Pour into a chilled coupe glass.

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

(2.7 standard drinks* - 2.4 units per serve)

What local ingredients are you using in your cocktails? Tweet us at @diageobarac, on Instagram @diageobarac or like us on Facebook – we love to see your creations!

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(*One standard drink contains 8g of alcohol)

The CAPTAIN MORGAN, JOHNNIE WALKER, RON ZACAPA and DON JULIO™ words and associated logos are trademarks ©Diageo 2016.