Hosting a dinner party this weekend? Try out our top 5 favourite cocktails from Latin America which will turn your night into a 'fiesta'.
The coral-flecked seas of South and Central America are swarming with exotic marine life, and joining them could not be easier - just jump in! With each of the close-up encounters in our top 5, you can really get up close and personal with some of the ocean's most magnificent inhabitants.
Canelazo in Ecuador
Entering dubious territory when it comes to the definition of a cocktail, but nevertheless extremely tasty - it's the Ecuadorian canelazo. This is a mixed drink containing aguardiente - a loose term for high-strength alcohol, literally translated as 'fire water' - and a mixture of festive spices including cinnamon and cloves, served hot. It's a fantastic winter warmer, so it's not by coincidence that its origins lie in the highland regions of Ecuador and Peru, where it can get extremely cold at night. We'll be posting a recipe next month to help you keep away the chill of winter without going quite so far as Ecuador.
Daquiri in Cuba
It was a tough call choosing this over the other Cuban classic, the mojito, but the sophistication of the daiquiri won out in the end. This was Hemingway's tipple of choice, so much so that he gave his name to one of its many variations. Unfortunately, however, an early translation error has meant that the simple lime version with a drop of maraschino that was his true preference tends to be interpreted to this day as being full of grapefruit! Hemingway's favourite Havana hang-out, El Floridita, still does a roaring trade in its signature cocktail, and still reserves 'Papa Doble' the prime seat.
Margarita in Mexico
Based on Mexico's most infamous export, tequila, the margarita has a distinctive tart flavour that tends to provoke Marmite-style reactions in that you'll either love it or you'll hate it. A basic margarita contains tequila, triple sec and lime juice and is typically served with salt around the rim of the glass, but there are plenty of different ways to mix a margarita, and fruit versions are particularly tasty.
Pisco Sour in Peru
Much loved by locals and visitors alike, the Pisco Sour is concocted from an alcohol produced in (and named after) Pisco in Peru, mixed with egg white, syrup and lime juice and topped with a dash of Angostura bitters. Its origins are contentious, with Chile also laying claim to inventing the drink - although Peru is, as far as we know, the only country to dedicate a whole day to its enjoyment! In case you plan to join the celebrations on National Pisco Sour Day, it's held every first Saturday of February. So now you know.