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Greg Freitas and Natalie Compagno, co-owners of The Traveler’s Bookcase in Los Angeles, travel and read guidebooks like it’s their job (because it is). Today: No boats, no passports, and no crowds—just cocktails.
The term booze cruise wasn't coined for naught. Travel around the world and you’ll find all sorts of cocktails wherever you go. But let’s face it: Booze cruises aren’t the most sophisticated affairs. We’re leaving the days of Bacardi 151 mixed with fruit juice behind us—along with the passports and the crowds, too—and having an around-the-world booze cruise at home. Sail the high seas with these cocktails instead, which highlight the best the globe has to offer.
First stop, Acapulco. Tequila's popularity will never wane, but the finest mezcals now stack up well against the blue agave. The dense smokiness is an acquired taste, but once mezcal has won you over, simple tequilas can seem a little flat. Get ready for the mariachi band as your cruise director Hi, I’m Brian brings you a Smoky and Spicy Paloma.
Arriba, abajo, al centro, pa' dentro!
Thanks to the Royal British Navy, gin became a global spirit, with Plymouth Gin appearing in the first-ever dry martini recipe. Agatha Christie fans know to never trust a non-gin drinker. In honor of this Dame's 125th birthday, the next cruise is down the Nile River. Become part of the mystery and grab a Lemon Lavender Gin Rickey.
The Baltic Sea connects some of the world's most beautiful countries as well as the smoothest vodkas. It's hard to choose between Swedish, Russian, Polish, Danish, and even Estonian vodka, so to recreate a Baltic cruise at home, stock up on all the flavors—Absolut, Stoli, Sobieski, Danska and Viru Valge. Set up some mid-century modern furniture, accent with Communist-era posters, and turn up the Chopin. It's time for caviar and smoked salmon.
Sailing around the Caribbean conjures images of pirates, parrots, and fruity drinks—rum drinks, to be more precise. The idyllic isles of the West Indies lure travelers with white sand, steel pan music, and strong cocktails. Jamaica is all about friendly vibes and liming the day away. Embrace the warm breezes of summer, play reggae tunes, and fill the bowls with Rum Punch.
The Mediterranean Sea is sophistication personified. Yachts, large sunglasses, and fine wine swirl around France, Italy, and Spain. Bring the glamour to your patio by setting up a chic table with linen, candles, gourmet food, and rosé wine cocktails. Booze cruising can be high class, too—n'est-ce pas? The best part about bringing this famous waterway back home is you don't have to fight with an Onassis for an ocean liner parking spot.
Cocktail photos by James Ransom