Your guide to the food and culture of the tropics


3 Must-Try Tropical Cocktails for Summer

One of my favorite things about Mexico is that the country is hung in a state of perpetual summer: great weather all year round, fruity cocktails at every turn, and watermelons are always in season.

Yes, thats right. Watermelons are always in season in Mexico. The succulent, guilt-free treat that many of us only enjoy during the summer months is a year-long favorite in Mexico, often incorporated into drinks to help rehydrate and nourish the body.

Even though Mexico has adopted watermelon as its own, the fruit actually originated from Africa, where tomb paintings in Egypt have depicted the fruit going back 5,000 years.

Gathered together here are a collection of tropical fruit drinks all have a similar history. While the fruits these cocktails celebrate are icons in their regions, they all originated in different places.

Just like the watermelons that came from Africa to Mexico in the early 1600s, mangoes were introduced to the region from India around the same time. And even though pineapples are indigenous to Brazil, they came to Caribbean before the time of Columbus in 1493, where his sailors gorged on the fruit and used it to prevent scurvy on their long journeys to and from Europe.  

Today we may not be preventing scurvy, but these favorite-fruit-imports are to here to help us stay refreshed all summer long- no matter where we may be!

3 Must-Try Tropical Cocktails for Summer

Cocktails, Watermelon, Mint, Fresca, Cocktail, Summer, Tropical, Iced

(Flickr: Joy)


Watermelon Mint Agua Fresca

Agua fresca, or fresh water, is a popular Mexican drink that consists of water, fruit, and a little bit of sugar. They are generally non-alcoholic and not overly sweet, so its a great way to cool down during the summer months. (Also a great mocktailfor the kids! Not too much sugar and delicious equals a healthy alternative to soda and sugary fruit drinks!)

You will see gallons of agua fresca in restaurants all across Latin America with different flavors available. Dont like watermelon? Mango, orange, and strawberries can also be substituted (or added!) to this heavenly drink.

Want to turn this into an adult summer cocktail? Try adding a shot of tequila or rum to each glass and serve over ice.

Watermelon Mint Aque Fresca
  • ¼th of a watermelon, approximately 2 pounds
  • 1 cup water
  • Lime juice squeezed from two limes
  • 10 mint ten leaves
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar (optional)
  1. Bring water to a boil over medium-heat.
  2. Remove from heat, add the mint leaves. Let steep for 10 minutes until flavor has infused the water.
  3. Blend all ingredients and serve over ice.


Cocktails, Mojito, Pineapple, Passion Fruit, Cocktail, Summer, Iced, Mint, Tropical

(Flickr: Annie)

Pineapple Passion Fruit Mojito

The mojito was born in Havana, Cuba and is typically made up of five ingredients: rum, lime, mint, sugar, and club soda. Its a popular summertime drink because its crisp and refreshing, and comparatively low in alcohol content. Its simple, delicious, and can please just about anyone.

But if you want a truly memorable cocktail thats fruity, yet classic, try infusing pineapple and passionfruit into your next mojito. The fresh fruit and pineapple juice will add enough sweetness that you wont need to use additional sugar! We think this is a drink that even Hemingway would approve.

Pineapple Passion Fruit Mojito
  • 1 pineapple, peeled, cored and chopped into chunks
  • 50ml can of pineapple juice
  • 10 fresh mint leaves
  • 4 limes, sliced
  • 4 shots of light rum
  • 4 passionfruit, seeds and pulp removed
  • 2 liters club soda
  • ice, to serve
  • lime slices, to serve
  • fresh mint, to serve
  1. Put the pineapple and pineapple juice in the blender. Blend on high until you have a smooth puree.
  2. To make the mojito, press the pineapple puree, passion fruit, mint and lime together with the bottom of a spoon. Try not to cut up the mint so much, you just want to crush it a bit to infuse with the fruit and lime.
  3. Pour ⅓ cup of the mixture in the bottom of each glass.
  4. Add ice on top of the mixture.
  5. Add enough soda water so that it fills the glass.
  6. Add fresh mint and a lime wedge to serve.

Cocktails, Mango, Ginger, Margarita, Frozen, Drink, Cocktail, Summer, Tropical

(Flickr Waywuwei)

Mango Ginger Margarita

There is a point during every summer when the heat becomes unbearable. We find ourselves almost wishing it was winter again just so that we could find relief from the 100+ degree days and sticky-mosquito-filled nights. Need relief from this summers heat wave? Enter the mango-ginger margarita.

Margaritas found their fame in Mexico, but are now a popular summertime drink around the world for its refreshing fun flavor. The mango and ginger combine in this drink for a sweet and almost spicy taste that will help you cool down by the pool or at the beach.

Mango Ginger Margarita
  • 1 fresh ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 large lemon, squeezed
  • 1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon agave nectar
  • 4 shots tequila
  • 1 - 1½ cup ice
  1. Blend the diced mango, lemon, ginger, agave nectar, and tequila on high until it becomes a puree.
  2. Add the ice ½ cup at a time.
  3. When it reaches a consistency you like, divide between four cups and serve.



Written by

Dara Denney is the author of The Traveller’s Cookbook. She has lived in New York City, West Africa, and India. She grew up in a small village in Ohio where her favourite meal was pizza and chicken fingers. Thankfully travelling changed all of that. She currently lives in Egypt where she teaches Kindergarten and writes at night. Follow her adventures at The Travellers Cookbook