Almost any cocktail can be party-ready, but there’s no denying that certain drinks were built to party. Whether slushy, shot-sized or served as a crushable cooler, the essential party drink has a few requirements: It has to be easy to make and relatively light on its feet, and it should be crowd-pleasing enough to ensure that others will join in.
For your next round, consider taking inspiration from abroad. Here are some of our favorite party drinks, from Menorca to Mexico City and beyond.
On the Mediterranean island of Menorca, there’s no better way to celebrate a summer fiesta than with a Pomada in hand. Beginning in late June and stretching throughout the summer, gallons of the refreshing mix of gin and lemonade or lemon soda, served on the rocks or as a granita, are doled out everywhere from the town hall to homes across the island. The easy-drinking slushy is perfect for a hot day, and can be upgraded with a range of ingredients, such as mint, as in this recipe.
The Pisco Sour may be the most popular pisco cocktail around the world, but in its Peruvian homeland, the Pisco Chilcano is giving the shaken classic a run for its money. The simple combination of pisco, ginger ale, lime juice and Angostura bitters has its origins in the days when Italian migrants first came to Peru. Their drink of choice, grappa and ginger ale, eventually evolved into the gingery pisco highball; it gained its moniker because of its golden color, which evokes a Peruvian fish soup of the same name.
Brazil’s Rabo de Galo originated as a shot-sized combination of cachaça and sweet vermouth at São Paulo pés-sujos—which literally translates to “dirty feet,” or dive bars—before making its way into craft cocktail bars across the country. Soon, the drink evolved into a proper cocktail served in a larger glass over ice, incorporating lime and sometimes Cynar. Though the shot may have grown up, the drink is still ready to rally, and deserves a spot in your rotation.
Where the U.S. has the Long Island Iced Tea, Italy has the Invisibile. The hard-hitting combination of unaged rum, gin, vodka and triple sec (also known as “Quattro Bianchi,” or “four whites”) is following in the footsteps of many dark ages drinks before it, and staging a comeback. It’s a relic of the disco days of Italy, when the drink varied depending on the bar and region, and was modified with everything from Midori to blueberry syrup. This modern take on the cocktail, the Quattro Barbie e Fragolino, adds tequila and mezcal to the mix, and updates the template with a spiced strawberry cordial.
The Carajillo is Mexico’s answer to Vodka Red Bull. One bar’s take on the drink brings together Licor 43 (a citrusy, vanilla-forward liqueur) and espresso. In Mexico City, the combination is ubiquitous, showing up at old-school cantinas, cocktail bars and coffee shops alike. One origin story for the drink says it gets its name from the expletive carajo—used similarly to “fuck it”—which, fittingly, resonates with the sometimes chaotic, frenetic energy of a night out.
A Mexican carajillo is made with three simple ingredients: espresso, Licor 43 and ice.