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6 Tropical Cocktail Recipes From Panama to Try This Summer

By Michaela Trimble

Jul 27, 2020

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The cocktail menu at the American Trade Hotel’s Lobby Bar features fresh fruits and artisanal ingredients.

Courtesy of the American Trade Hotel

The cocktail menu at the American Trade Hotel’s Lobby Bar features fresh fruits and artisanal ingredients.

Transport yourself to Panama with these Central American inspired, summery cocktails.

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With a warm climate perfectly suited for growing tropical fruits, Panama City is a mixology haven. Here, bartenders combine native fruits, such as the tart maracujá (passionfruit) and the sweet sandia (watermelon), with local liquors (like Seco Herrerano, Chicha Fuerte, and Ron Abuelo) to create tasty, refreshing drinks.

Whether you’re planning a trip to Panama City, or simply want to recreate these tropical flavors at home, add these six cocktails from some of the city’s leading bars and restaurants to your “to drink” list.

The American Trade Hotel & Hall’s Seco Sour has a Panamanian twist on the classic pisco sour.

1. Seco Sour

At the American Trade Hotel & Hall, the cocktail menu is full of fruit-forward beverages that celebrate local flavors, such as the Seco Sour. This tangy, strawberry twist on a pisco sour features Seco Herrerano, a smooth, neutral spirit made from sugarcane and widely considered the national liquor of Panama. It might be best sipped from the hotel’s bright, plant-filled Lobby Bar, but it’s also incredibly easy to make at home.

Seco Sour cocktail recipe

Serves: One person

Ingredients

How to make it

  1. Combine Seco Herrerano, strawberry syrup, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly.
  2. Pour ingredients over ice. Garnish with lime wedge and mint.

Buy Now: Seco Herrerano, $14, winechateau.com or saucey.com; strawberry syrup, $10, saucey.com

The Dark Passion cocktail is a tropical cocktail with a velvety finish.

2. Dark Passion

When it’s late at night and you need a smooth drink with a tropical twist, try mixing the Dark Passion from Hooch Panama, a cocktail and music bar located in Panama City’s San Francisco neighborhood. This rum-and-spice cocktail has a velvety finish—the perfect consistency for a nightcap.

Dark Passion cocktail recipe

Serves: One person

Ingredients

How to make it

  1. Combine Ron Abuelo, sugarcane cinnamon-almond syrup, lime juice, Elemakule Tiki bitters, black walnut bitters, passionfruit pulp, and crème de cacao in a cocktail shaker. Shake thoroughly.
  2. Crack an egg into a strainer, allowing only the egg white to sift through. Discard egg yolk. Shake again.
  3. Pour ingredients through strainer into a glass.

Buy Now: Ron Abuelo, $20, saucey.com; BG Reynolds Cinnamon Syrup, $23, amazon.com; Elemakule Tiki bitters, $19, bittersandbottles.com; Fee Brothers black walnut bitters, $10, amazon.com; Giffard crème de cacao, $28, wine.com

Tántalo’s Coco Heaven cocktail is the perfect accompaniment to a hot, sunny day.

3. Coco Heaven

Want a cocktail to sip in the sun? Enter the Tántalo Hotel’s Coco Heaven: a creamy, coconut-and-rum drink that’s like the classy cousin to a piña colada. With watermelon in lieu of the pineapple, this refreshing concoction is exactly what you’ll want to enjoy on a hot day, whether it’s at Tántalo’s rooftop bar overlooking Panama City’s historic neighborhood, Casco Viejo, or in your own backyard.

Coco Heaven cocktail recipe

Serves: One person

Ingredients

How to make it

  1. Mash watermelon in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Once thoroughly mashed, add remaining ingredients.
  3. Strain ingredients over ice.

Buy Now: Malibu Coconut Rum, $16, saucey.com; Ron Abuelo, $20, saucey.com

Caliope’s cocktail, La Chica de Moscu, blends bittersweet almond and pineapple for a balanced drink.

4. La Chica de Moscu

Sure, you may need to purchase a blowtorch to make this drink at home, but the extra gadget is worth the spend. Also located in the Casco Viejo neighborhood, Caliope has earned a reputation for its delicious, artisanal cocktails. Vodka-based La Chica de Moscu is no exception, blending pineapple and Disaronno to create the perfect balance of fruity and bittersweet almond. But if you’re not up to the challenge, one of the talented mixologists at Caliope would be happy to mix you up a glass the next time you’re in Panama City.

La Chica de Moscu cocktail recipe

Serves: One person

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces Grey Goose
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 dashes agave
  • ½ ounce Disaronno
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 strips cinnamon

How to make it

  1. Combine Grey Goose, pineapple juice, lime juice, agave, and Disaronno in a cocktail shaker. Shake thoroughly.
  2. Pour ingredients over ice.
  3. Add cinnamon stick to the mixture, and lightly torch for flavor and aroma.
  4. Add strips of cinnamon for garnish.

Buy Now: Grey Goose, $17, saucey.com; Disaronno, $23, saucey.com

The Tequila Hot Mojito at Tántalo adds a spicy twist to the Cuban classic.

5. Tequila Hot Mojito

For a cocktail with a kick, we head back to the mixologists at Tántalo Hotel for their Tequila Hot Mojito. Subbing white rum for tequila in this Cuban classic, this drink combines the sweetness of passionfruit and the spiciness of Tabasco to make the perfect, Caribbean-inspired summer cocktail.

Tequila Hot Mojito cocktail recipe

Serves: One person

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces tequila gold
  • 3 ounces passionfruit juice
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 6 drops Tabasco
  • Paprika, salt, and mint for garnish

How to make it

  1. Combine the first four ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake thoroughly.
  2. Mix paprika and salt in flat dish, then dip the rim of a cocktail glass into the mixture. Add the shaken tequila, passionfruit juice, lime juice, and Tabasco.
  3. Garnish with mint.

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Buy Now: Tequila Gold, $18, saucey.com; Tabasco, $4, saucey.com

Infused Seco Herreano is the secret to Hooch Panama's Chombolin cocktail.

6. Chombolin

For a cocktail full of Panamanian flavors, mix the Chombolin from Hooch Panama. This juicy cocktail features Seco Herrerano, infused with local ají chombo, a rare, red-hot chili pepper, alongside a fruity blend of hibiscus, lime, and grapefruit that adds to the tropical vibes.

Although you may have to travel to Panama to get the real deal, home cooks can infuse their own Seco Herrerano by soaking ají chombo peppers (or habanero, a similarly sweet but fiery pepper) in a jar of Seco Herreano for about a week.

Chombolin cocktail recipe

Serves: One person

Ingredients

How to make it

  1. Combine first five ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake thoroughly.
  2. Pour over ice.
  3. Garnish with grapefruit slice.

Buy Now: Seco Herrerano, $14, winechateau.com or saucey.com; Aperol, $29, saucey.com; hibiscus syrup, $14, etsy.com

This article was originally published in April 2016; it was updated on July 27, 2020, to include current information. Products we write about are independently vetted and recommended by our editors. AFAR may earn a commission if you buy through our links, which helps support our independent publication.

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