Happy Hour Around the Globe
Pull up a bar stool and let Travel Channel serve up the origins of some well-known liquors, mixers and cocktails from around the world, including vodka, mojitos, sake, Bellinis and Pimm's cup.
Turkey: RakiKnown as the national drink of Turkey, raki — pronounced “raka” — can be found at most large-scale liquor stores in the US. The trick to making the drink correctly? Use 1 part raki and 2 parts ice-cold water. Because the anise oils in the raki emulsify when mixed with water, the clear liquids combine to form a white beverage known as Lion’s Milk. It’s named that because Turks believe that raki gives you the strength of a lion. 960 1280
Russia: VodkaAccording to legend, a monk named Isidore -- from Chudov Monastery inside the Moscow Kremlin -- made the first Russian vodka. Since then, Russian vodka producers like Smirnoff, Stolichnaya and Russian Standard have become popular among vodka connoisseurs. This spirit is traditionally drunk neat, but it is also commonly used in cocktails like the vodka martini, Bloody Mary, Sex on the Beach, Screwdriver and White Russian. 960 1280
Peru: Pisco SourChile and Peru both claim the Pisco Sour as their national drink, but the cocktail originated in Lima, Peru. American bartender Victor Vaughn Morris invented and then served the first Pisco Sour at the counter of Morris’ Bar in the early 1920s. This concoction is usually made with bourbon or whiskey, lemon or lime juice, and a sweetener. 960 1280
Japan: SakeWith its origin dating back to the 3rd century, sake is the beverage of choice in Japan. Sake is made from fermented rice. Undiluted, it contains 18 to 20% ABV (alcohol by volume). That’s double the amount of alcohol found in most beer. So sip slowly -- and savor its taste. 960 1280
Mexico: TequilaTequila is made from the blue agave plant, located in the city of Tequila, in Jalisco, Mexico. And if you didn’t know already, Mexico has claimed the exclusive international right to the word “tequila,” which allows the country to take legal action against countries who manufacture the distilled blue agave spirits. Mexico’s national drink is the Paloma -- made by mixing tequila with a grapefruit-flavored soda, a lime wedge, and served in a glass rimmed with salt. Tequila is also mixed to make cocktails like the margarita, Tequila Sunrise, Matador and Tequila Slammer. 960 1280
France: ChampagneWine and absinthe are popular spirits in France, but champagne is, too. The sparkling wine is produced from grapes grown in the country’s Champagne region, which includes Aube, Côte des Blancs, Côte de Sézanne, Montagne de Reims and Vallée de la Marne. Since the 17th century, champagne has been associated with luxury and power among royalty throughout Europe. Times have changed and now the tasty beverage is mixed with orange juice to create a mimosa, a tangy breakfast concoction. 960 1280
New Orleans: SazeracIn New Orleans, the Hurricane is a popular cocktail, but did you know about the Sazerac -- sometimes referred to as the oldest American cocktail? Mixologists believe this drink originated in the period before the American Civil War. This stiff drink is a mixture of cognac or rye whiskey, absinthe or Herbsaint, sugar and Peychaud’s Bitters. 960 1280
Puerto Rico: Piña coladaPuerto Rican bartender Ramon Marrero created and sold the piña colada in 1954, while working at the Caribe Hilton International Hotel. He received numerous accolades, which included receiving an award from Coco Lopez -- the maker of the coconut cream used in the drink -- for selling his 3 millionth cocktail. In 1978, the government declared the piña colada the official drink of Puerto Rico. 960 1280
Brazil: CaipirinhaSit back and sip on Brazil’s national drink, the Caipirinha. The sweet, but refreshing cocktail is made with cachaça (sugarcane rum), sugar and lime. Looking for a more fruity taste? Try the caipifruta, made with cachaça, crushed ice and crushed fresh fruit or fruits, including tangerine, lime kiwifruit, passion fruit caju, mango, grapes, lemon, caja and/or pineapple. 960 1280
NYC: ManhattanDr. Iain Marshall was the genius and creator behind the Manhattan cocktail first served at a banquet in honor of US presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden in 1870. Usually garnished with a maraschino cherry, the Manhattan is closely related to the Brooklyn cocktail, made using dry vermouth and Maraschino liqueur. A Manhattan is made with sweet vermouth, whiskey and bitters, an alcohol flavored with herbal essences. 960 1280
Greece: OuzoA symbol of Greek culture, ouzo is an anise-flavored aperitif usually served with a small plate of appetizers that usually include small fresh fish, fries, olives and feta cheese. This drink is popular in Greece and Cyprus. It evolved from tsipouro, a beverage created by a group of 14th-century monks living in a monastery on Mount Athos. 960 1280
Scotland: ScotchAfter a long day at work, slowly sipping from a glass of Scotch whisky seems to make the worries of the world melt away. Scotch is a malt or grain whisky made in Scotland and aged in oak barrels for at least 3 years. Notable Scotch whisky brands include Bell’s, Dewar’s, Johnnie Walker, J&B, Chivas Regal and Cutty Sark. 960 1280
UK: Pimm's CupJames Kent was the first to serve Pimm’s Cup, in 1823 at a London oyster bar, making it a popular drink in England, particularly southern England. It is the one of 2 staple drinks at the Wimbledon tennis tournament, Henley Royal Regatta and the Glyndebourne Festival Opera. There are 7 Pimm’s products, but only Cup Nos. 1, 3 and 6 are still available. For a refreshing summer cocktail, we recommend the gin-based Pimm’s Cup No. 1 with chopped fruit and mixed with ginger ale or champagne. 960 1280
Spain: SangriaStop and share a pitcher of sangria with friends if you’re strolling through Barcelona’s Plaza Mayor. This tasty wine punch consists of wine (of course), chopped fruit, a splash of brandy and a sweetener, like honey, sugar, syrup or orange juice. Sangria is popular is Spain, Portugal, Mexico and Argentina. 960 1280
Cuba: MojitoHistorians believe the African slaves who worked in Cuba’s sugarcane fields during the 19th century were instrumental in the mojito’s origin. The traditional Cuban cocktail consists of white rum, sugar, lime juice, sparkling water and mint. The mojito is not only popular in Cuba but was also author Ernest Hemingway’s favorite cocktail. 960 1280
Singapore: Singapore SlingIn Singapore, Ngiam Tong Boon, a bartender working at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel Singapore, created the Singapore Sling sometime prior to 1915. The original recipe used gin, Cherry Heering, Benedictine and pineapple juice. Decades later, the hotel served the premixed drink from an automatic dispenser, but customers can request a shaken version from the bartender. 960 1280
Italy: BelliniTry this delicious cocktail if you’re visiting Italy. The Bellini is one of Italy’s most popular long drinks created by Giuseppe Cipriani, the founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice. The color of the drink reminded the mixologist of the color of a saint’s toga in a painting by the 15th-century artist Giovanni Bellini. So what’s in it? This mixed drink consists of Prosecco sparkling wine and peach puree. 960 1280
Belgium: Black RussianBelgian bartender Gustave Tops created the first Black Russian cocktail in 1949, at the Hotel Metropole in Brussels, in honor of Perle Mesta, who was (at that time) the US ambassador to Luxembourg. This cocktail contains 3 parts vodka and 2 parts coffee liqueur, owing its name to the use of vodka, a traditional Russian spirit. 960 1280
Cé La Vi (Singapore)
Cé La Vi (formerly called Ku Dé Ta) is a premier rooftop party bar — emphasis on the rooftop, as it sits on the 57th floor of the Marina Bay Sands, an architectural landmark in Singapore. Part of the spectacular SkyPark, the bar lets guests take in one of the best unobstructed views of the city and the rooftop's infamous infinity pool. Whether you’re watching the sun set over mini wagyu beef burgers with fontina cheese green chili mayo and smoked tomato relish, or you're just mesmerized by the nightly laser show, Cé La Vi is a place to see and be seen.
Insider's Tip: The price for a cocktail, such as the Lady Be Mine Grey Goose martini with lychee and rosewater, is $16, roughly the same fee the resort complex charges to board the elevator to the observation deck just below — so think of it as breaking even.960 1280
Plunge (New York)
Taking over the Gansevoort Hotel's 14th-floor penthouse in the Meatpacking District, this granddaddy of New York's rooftop bars is still among the city's best — with some of the most stylish parties, an amazing outdoor pool and, of course, a sick view of the NYC skyline and the Hudson River. Plunge is packed with pretty young things on the weekends, so those not looking to be part of the scene may prefer to watch the sunset from the wraparound balcony midweek.
Insider's Tip: Give the recently revamped, American bistro-style menu, with its fresh chopped salad, jumbo shrimp skewers and rooftop sliders, a shot; you'll be pleasantly surprised.960 1280
The Roof (Madrid)
If your first glimpse of this club atop the ME Madrid is the line to enter — at its peak length during summertime — know that it's worth the wait. Once you board the private elevator to the penthouse terrace, you'll be treated to unmatched views of Madrid's skyline. Owned by Rande Gerber (also known as Cindy Crawford's husband), this swanky rooftop consistently attracts beautiful locals and celebrities alike, thanks to guest DJ sessions, inviting daybeds and a VIP bar embedded in a stone wall.
Insider's Tip: Like most places on our list, the Roof serves cocktails that are on the pricier side. If you're going to have just 1, make it the black mojito.960 1280
Three Sixty (St. Louis)
For a bird's-eye view of Busch Stadium, pass on the nosebleed seats and instead, head to this slick rooftop bar atop the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. Panoramic views of the Gateway Arch serve as the backdrop for gourmet bites prepared by chef Rex Hale, such as house-smoked salmon chips, mini New England lobster rolls and Korean BBQ pork tacos. Save room for the sweet stuff; the desserts — especially the house-made Kit Kat bars — are among the best in the city. The 6,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor space accommodates cozy fire pits, flat-screen TVs and several bars, making Three Sixty a year-round destination.
Insider's Tip: Cardinals fans, hold on to your ticket stub to skip the $10 cover charge after the game. And for those trying to score one of the coveted tables overlooking the field, Three Sixty opens at least 2 hours before every home game.960 1280
POV (Washington, DC)
To see the Washington Monument in all its recently unscaffolded glory, head to this trendy bar perched atop the historic W Hotel. POV's velvet banquettes and black wicker chairs are first-come, first-served, so we suggest arriving in plenty of time to watch the sun go down, or you may have to wait in line to board the elevator to the 11th floor. Drinks are expensive by DC standards, which makes it mostly a popular spot for tourists and special occasions (both bachelorette parties and proposals are popular here). But enjoying unobstructed views of Washington lit up at night has its price.
Insider's Tip: The scene is more club than cocktail bar after 10 p.m., so we suggest either springing for a table with bottle service next to the dance floor or, for a more economical option, meeting up around the corner at the Hamilton for dinner and drinks before taking in the view.960 1280
Sevva (Hong Kong)
If you're looking for one of the most glamorous bars in Hong Kong — and possibly even the world — look no farther than this penthouse bar on top of the prestigious Prince's Building. The 360-degree views of Norman Foster's HSBC Building and I.M. Pei's Bank of China Tower from Sevva's wraparound terrace, combined with dazzling interiors that reflect owner Bonnie Gokson's iconic style, has made this the top spot for impressing out-of-towners. The well-coiffed crowd clamors for dishes such as baked truffled mac and cheese and signature crunch cake from the Taste Bar. Also popular is the traditional high tea, where you'll be Instagramming 3 tiers of Ms. B's treats — including chocolate fudge cake with marmalade and mini short rib burgers — as much as the scenery.
Insider's Tip: The Sevva terrace is an ideal vantage point for the popular "Symphony of Lights" laser show that illuminates Hong Kong's famous skyscrapers.960 1280
The American Bar (Innsbruck, Austria)
End your day with a relaxing sundowner and panoramic views of the Alps on the heated rooftop terrace of Innsbruck's glass architectural gem, the Penz Hotel. Order the signature Fifth Floor cocktail, a Bellini Royal made of peaches and Champagne, or ask one of the skilled bartenders to whip up something unique. A bonus for hotel guests is that they can begin the day with an extensive breakfast buffet (with more fresh fruit than you can name) served against the same beautiful backdrop.
Insider's Tip: People who don't like smoke should be aware that cigars are permitted inside.960 1280
New York Bar (Tokyo)
This landmark bar, situated on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt Tokyo, served as the backdrop of Lost in Translation. Rather than shy away from the Sofia Coppola connection, the bar embraces it, even creating the L.I.T. cocktail, made with sake, Sakura liqueur, peach schnapps and cranberry juice. Enjoy the panoramic views of Shinjuku, order from the extensive wine menu (which has more than 1,600 bottles to choose from), listen to live jazz and try to get in a New York state of mind — while in Tokyo.
Insider's Tip: We recommend arriving before 6:30 p.m. to avoid a line and watch the sunset through the floor-to-ceiling windows. After 8 p.m., there is a cover charge of about $20 for guests not staying at the Park Hyatt.960 1280
Bramante Terrace (Rome)
Just 1 block from the Piazza Navona, atop the ivy-covered Hotel Raphael, this multilevel rooftop garden boasts sweeping views of the Eternal City in the summer. Order an omelet of artichokes, red onions and fresh mint for lunch from chef Jean-Luc Fruneau's creative Mediterranean menu (now completely vegetarian), or watch the sun set between St. Peter's Basilica and Castel Sant'Angelo over a dinner of fresh caciotta cheese ravioli and marjoram with cherry tomatoes and basil.
Insider's Tip: It's one of the most romantic places in Rome, so don't be surprised if you see a proposal take place while here!960 1280
Vue Bar (Shanghai, China)
Spread over Levels 32 and 33 of the 5-star Hyatt on the Bund in Shanghai, China, Vue offers guests 2 floors and 2 distinct views overlooking the historic waterfront and the futuristic Pudong skyline on either side of the Huangpu River. Pull up a seat at this sophisticated lounge's circular cocktail bar or continue up the spiral staircase to the open-air terrace, where you can lounge in a 4-poster daybed or take a dip in the marble whirlpool.
Insider's Tip: For those who can justify a $100-plus price tag, Vue's bottomless brunch is hard to beat: free-flowing Perrier Jouet Champagne, a Bloody Mary counter and chefs preparing dishes that include everything from made-to-order eggs to lightly pickled steak tartare on brioche.960 1280
Galaxy Restaurant & Bar (Athens)
The star of the Athens skyline is the majestic Acropolis — and there's no place where it seems to glow more brightly than from the Galaxy Restaurant & Bar atop the Hilton Athens. A hot spot for locals and tourists, this chic open-air terrace is the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail or a romantic dinner. We suggest starting with one of the restaurant's inventive (read: not just Greek) salads or sesame-crusted seared tuna with caviar, pickled pearl onions, black and yellow cherries, and a truffle vinaigrette, followed by an assortment of sushi. Otherwise, try the surf 'n' turf — a beef tenderloin and lobster tail atop a sizzling hot stone.
Insider's Tip: If you can't snag a reservation, stop by for an aperitif. The bar typically opens 2 1/2 hours before dinner service starts.960 1280
360 (Istanbul, Turkey)
True to its name, this spot offers 360-degree views stretching over Istanbul and the Bosphorus Strait that are enough to take your breath away — but so are the "special occasion" prices. Forgo 360's Turkish-fusion menu and instead, come early, score a coveted window seat and nurse your drink while snacking on stuffed olives and nuts before grabbing some street food nearby. On weekends, the restaurant turns into a club from around midnight until the wee hours, with avant-garde entertainment (including burlesque), up-and-coming DJs and well-mixed cocktails.
Insider's Tip: The unassuming entrance in the historic Misir Apartment building is easily missed, but don't let that deter you. Once you've entered the lobby, take the elevator directly to the eighth floor and follow the candlelit stairs.960 1280
World's Best Rooftop Bars 12 Photos