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Feb 6, 2008 09:20 AM

Around the World Martini Bar

I'm throwing an around the world hors d'oeuvres party for some friends this next weekend with stations to include the following:

Arabian Nights
A La Provence
Antipasti Dell'Italia
Asian Influence
Nuevo Latino
America The Beautiful
Bombay Palace

I would like to do an "Around the World" Martini Bar, one martini to represent each cuisine. Do you have any suggestions - I'd like to make them interesting and something that you don't see everywhere!


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  1. Sorry that this comment is not an immediate answer to your question, but: Can you perhaps call the different drinks you end up making COCKTAILS and not MARTINIS? Unless, that is, one or more of them is actually a martini (or a play on one).

    Perhaps this attempt to redirect recent nomenclature is in vain, but I know I have the sympathies of an least some hounds here.

    Okay, now a few ideas:

    ITALY: Something with Campari. You could go Negroni (with an Italian vermouth) or something more out-of-the-way.

    AMERICA: Choices abound. How about something old and classic. Sazerac? Aviation? Gin Fizz?

    LATIN: Something with muddled fruit/herbs with either tequila or rum/cacha├ža base.

    These answers aren't very creative, but I'll leave it open to the board's more experienced bar-hands to help you out.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mhoffman

      "Sorry that this comment is not an immediate answer to your question, but: Can you perhaps call the different drinks you end up making COCKTAILS and not MARTINIS? Unless, that is, one or more of them is actually a martini (or a play on one).

      Perhaps this attempt to redirect recent nomenclature is in vain, but I know I have the sympathies of an least some hounds here."


      Are the cocktails supposed to incorporate the flavors found in the various cuisines and accompany the food? Or can they stand alone and represent the spirits or drinking culture of a particular country or region?

      1. re: mhoffman

        I'll third the term cocktails as proper terminology. It drives me nuts when you see everything called martini this and that. I have worked with quite a few restaurants designing cocktail specials for them and it takes forever to get them to use the proper terminology. Don't let yourselves get sucked back into the 80's and 90's. It's now the Second Golden Age of Cocktails. Let's treat them right. (The Golden Age of Cocktails was apx. 1800-1920)

      2. Oooh, I really like this party idea, especially the martini/cocktail bar.

        Let's see:

        Arabian Nights - something with mint (for the mint tea that is popular in North African/Middle Eastern region) or coffee flavors? Or there are always olives or oranges - both are grown in those regions and play huge parts in the cuisine.

        A La Provence - The first thing I think of is lavender, which may be difficult to incorporate.

        Antipasti Dell'Italia - I second the Campari, or maybe Limoncello.

        Asian Influence - Something with lots of tropical fruits for southeast Asia? I've also had cocktails that used lemon grass that were pretty good.

        Nuevo Latino - My first thought is margaritas or mojitos, or maybe pisco sours.

        America The Beautiful - Perhaps something classic and created in the U.S.? Manhattans?

        Bombay Palace - Mango flavors would be good, or perhaps something incorporating cardamon?

        Be sure to come back and let us know what you end up making!

        1. I drink a lot of cocktails and would probably fall over by the time we crossed the Rio Grande. . . but I'll give it the old college try. I'm trying to be rather simple on a few courses so you're not mixing drinks for the entire evening.

          Arabian Nights: The Middle East isn't known for its alcohol consumption. I might recommend having club soda for that round (and probably moving it to the middle of the order). Perhaps a Moroccan mint tea. This can be as complicated ritual if you want it to . This would also be an opportune time for your any smoking guests to run outside and take a break.

          Provence: If you're not pairing with food, perhaps a small glass of green chartreuse on crushed ice.

          Italia: A negroni or an americano.

          East Asia: Perhaps a good, cold sake.

          Latino: A pisco sour. This might be the high energy (at least as far as the making of it goes) drink of the night.

          The US: A Manhattan comes immediately to mind. Not too complicated but so delish.

          Bombay: Another tough one. You could try a small glass of Old Raj gin on the rocks (I know, I'm imperialist scum, save your anger for the voting booth). Or you could finish off the party by opening a cooler of IPA beers. Or better yet, both.

          Make sure you have taxi vouchers.

          On a purely drink level, my recommendation based on the above menu would be to fly from Peru to Italy, then France, then Morocco, then Japan, then the US and then all the way back to India.

          1. Sounds like a fun party! Here are some ideas for modern-style "martini" cocktails and other drinks.

            Arabian Nights: How about a pomegranate cocktail with Pama liqueur or Pom juice, lemon, and vodka (or gin)? Or - A local Middle Eastern restaurant makes a lovely saffron cocktail that is delicious and hauntingly exotic. Unfortunately, I don't have the recipe, but here's a link to the drink menu, where they list the main ingredients:

            A La Provence: The classic summer cocktail in Provence is Pastis (licorice-flavored yellow liqueur) mixed with water. (See I like the lavender idea, too - here's a drink with a lavender-honey syrup:

            Antipasti Dell'Italia: Prosecco and Campari - sort of an Italian kir royale. But only if you can get naturally-flavored Campari - the artificially flavored stuff is foul. Otherwise, use Aperol instead. Or you could add any Italian liqueur to the prosecco - limoncello, amaretto, sambucca, ...

            Asian Influence: Saketini! Or ... There's a green tea vodka by Charbay that sounds interesting, although I've never tried it. Charbay's site suggests equal parts of tea vodka and sake. Or you could infuse your own green tea vodka per this recipe:

            Nuevo Latino: So many options! Mango juice, rum, and lime sounds good to me. (I guess that's a mango margarita, more or less.)

            America The Beautiful: It would be lots of work, but how about creating a layered red, white, and blue drink? Perhaps Grenadine (or Chambord), Blue Curacao, and cream floated on top? See this site for tips on liqueur weights:

            Bombay Palace: How about something with rosewater? Here's a recipe for a rosewater rickey:

            Or see epicurious for gin-laced chai tea:

            Have fun,

            6 Replies
            1. re: AnneInMpls

              AnneInMpls -

              I may be stealing the Campari and Proseco for a pasta dinner I'm making this weekend. I was thinking kir royale but your idea is much more appropriate. Another thought - Belinis (sp?)Thanks!

              1. re: AnneInMpls

                Artificially flavored Campari? Can you say more? My bottle of Campari doesn't say one way or the other, but it does say "artificially colored" on the back.

                Do our Milanese friends really make two versions: one fake, one real?

                1. re: mhoffman

                  I believe there is a wholesale switch to artificial Campari but there are bottles still out there that are at least less artificial.

                  1. re: sailormouth

                    Actually, I was imprecise saying "artificial flavoring." They've changed the red coloring (was Carmine, now is something artificial). Most of the Campari available in the US now has the artificial coloring, and it tastes nasty. But the real stuff can be found if you search. Here's a thread with more info.



                    1. re: AnneInMpls

                      What a fascinating, infuriating thread! Sometimes it feels as if everything cultural started to go south right before I became old enough to enjoy it. (I'm 24.)

                2. re: AnneInMpls

                  More on the American cocktail idea - Here's another red-white-and-blue idea from Fine Living magazine. Follow the links for recipes for red drinks with white-and-blue garnishes, or blue drinks with red-and-white garnishes.



                  P.S. I'll bet your guests will want to try everything - I know that I would - so I echo the comments of other posters: be sure everyone has a safe way to get home!

                3. everyone is right, we should talk cocktails, not martinis. better yet, "drinks", or,. a favorite of mine, "adult beverages"..

                  for Provence, let me share with you a recent discovery of mine - henri bardoiun pastis, a delicious provencal pastis. whats your provencal hors d'ouvre? it might work.

                  for your general idea, let me gently suggest that it sounds interesting but runs a strong risk of being a little too blithely multi-multi and chaotic. if you are going to do it, let me urge you to do it well and not just throw some curry powder on it and call it "Bombay Palace".

                  for the "America the Beautiful" segment, may i suggest rye whiskey sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and a touch of gasoline? it would be a uniquely american cocktail.

                  oh, i am being catty - i should stop. the bardoin pastis is a real gem, anyhow, hope at least that part of my post is helpful.