scenic cocktails

Who Created Our Favorite Classic Cocktails?

There are few finer things in life than a classic cocktail, lovingly crafted, served over ice and accompanied by spirit-lifting views. Whatever your tipple, making time to relax with a measure of something delicious is always a joy – and there’ll be plenty of time for that when travelling the world with Scenic.

Cast your eye over our drinks menu and you’ll see that we take beverages seriously. From our handpicked selection of regional beers and wines to our comprehensive range of spirits, the quality drinks we serve reflect the regions we visit – and the same goes for our generous cocktail menu.

Our dedication to fine aperitifs doesn’t end with the drinks themselves, either. Across our fleet, we have a dedicated staff of experienced bartenders and sommeliers, there to make sure you’re served only the finest, meticulously well-crafted beverages – be it a refreshing glass of German pilsner or an after-dinner Manhattan.

Cocktail Showcase with Scenic Bartender, Cristian Negreanu

Cristian is one of our wonderful Space-Ship bartenders – we caught up with him to find out what inspires him, how to craft the perfect cocktail and what delicious drinks guests can look forward with Scenic…

cocktails scenic

1. What is your favourite cocktail to make and why?

My favourite cocktail to make ...hmm that is a tough question! I’m a bartender and I love what I do, so I don’t have a preferred cocktail – just like a chef, all the cocktails that I make take a little part of me with them and I hope that they enrich the life of the drinkers.

I’m always checking the drinks and the taste and always ask for feedback from guests – on many occasions people have asked for the recipe or for the secret to a cocktail I’ve made them.

But if I was to choose a favourite, it would have to be a margarita, because I create my own sour mix with freshly-squeezed limes and brown sugar; it’s a recipe that I learned from my time working in Spain and I have to tell you it never fails. Also, I consider myself a “gin guy”, so I like to try new gins and explore new flavours, new botanicals and new infusions.

2. Which cocktail from the Scenic drinks menu would you recommend that all guests try during their river cruise?

This year we have a new concept regarding our cocktails; we wanted to give our guests something different from the usual classic cocktails so, together with my colleagues, we created ten new cocktails which we’re very much looking forward to serving to our guests. I’m not just saying this because I love gin, but the Basil Smash is a particularly great cocktail, with notes of citrus, spices and last but not least basil aromas.

scenic cocktails

3. Do you have any top tips on how to create the perfect cocktail? And what do you think is key to creating a great-tasting cocktail?

To create a perfect cocktail, first of all you need proper tools and equipment, but the tools and the equipment are nothing without passion and love for what you are doing. I always ask my guests what their favourite base drink is, how they prepare it at home; I always want to give them perfection.

Good ingredients are an important component of the perfect cocktail and also, proper measures. The perfect cocktail must be balanced in flavours and look nice: herbs, zests, bitters and fresh fruit will always be the key to make the difference

4. Which cocktails do you think are most synonymous with Europe? For instance, the Kir Royale of Paris and the Bellini of Venice. Are there any others you think our guests should know about?

Europe is a cocktail factory! If I can put it this way… our guests are always delighted to find out in our bar menu that the Aperol Spritz and Negroni were created in Italy, the Side Car and Mimosa were invented in Paris… not to mention that as a surprise for our guests, on the days that we are sailing or have a barbeque, we always make the famous Spanish Sangria either with white or red wine.

5. What cocktail would you recommend Scenic guests try at home?

I would recommend our guests try the Black Mojito at home.

scenic cocktails





  • Tom Collins glass
  • 8 wedges of lime
  • 2 tea spoons of brown sugar
  • 8 mint leaves
  • Crushed ice
  • 2 cl crème de cassis
  • 4 cl vodka
  • top up with champagne or prosecco.


Put the limes, sugar and mint in the glass, smash them with the muddler, add the crushed ice, pour over the vodka, then add the crème de cassis and with a bar spoon shake and steer all the ingredients. Finally, top up with champagne and garnish with mint and a wedge of lime. Delicious!

Signature cocktails to try on your next Scenic journey

Now you’re acquainted with our experienced bartender, it’s time to explore some of the refreshing cocktails you can sample while travelling with Scenic. These timeless concoctions have endured for generations, and offer a refined accompaniment to your journey. Here, we explore the origins of some of our favourite cocktails – from Kir Royale to the Black Russian.

Kir Royale

scenic cocktails

Darling of the elegant Parisian cocktail lounge, Kir Royale is ingrained in the liberal spirit of France. The wine-based cocktail takes its name from Félix Kir, a Catholic priest and revered resistance fighter, who developed the drink after Nazi soldiers confiscated much of the red wine produced in Burgundy during the Second World War. To produce the original cocktail, Kir mixed white wine with crème de cassis, and served it at political events and congregations. After the war, the drink’s popularity grew, and it’s now considered one of France’s most popular after-dinner aperitifs.

Where to try it: Though not invented in Paris, the city of light has adopted Kir Royale as its own. For an authentic Royale in historic surrounds, head to La Closerie des Lilas, a favourite among the literary set of the 1920s, including the likes of Hemingway, Proust and Beckett.

Bellini, Venice
Invoking the sunlit and produce-rich lands of Italy, Bellini is made from a mixture of Italian Prosecco and peach puree or, occasionally, nectar. Originating between 1934 and 1948, the classic Italian Bellini was invented by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of the famous and much-loved restaurant, Harry’s Bar, in the centre of Venice. Cipriani’s original recipe consists of puréed white peaches and Prosecco, though other varieties, including one made from mandarin juice, are now available. It’s said that Cipriani named his creation after Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini, as the peach colour reminded him of one of his paintings.

Where to try it: Where else than the original home of the Bellini, Harry’s Bar. This historic restaurant was founded by the Cipriani family in 1931, and has attracted famous patrons from Ernest Hemingway to Orson Welles. Naturally, it’s one of Venice’s most famous establishments, so book in advance.

Singapore Sling, Singapore
scenic cocktails
Originating in Singapore in 1915, the Singapore Sling is among the world’s most iconic long drinks. Gin-based, the cocktail was first made by Hainanese bartender, Ngiam Tong Boon, at the Long Bar in the world-famous Raffles Hotel, and was originally referred to simply as a gin sling. The original Singapore Sling recipe features a careful blend of pineapple juice, DOM Benedictine, Cointreau, gin, Grenadine, cherry liqueur, lime juice and bitters, though many modern recipes omit or add one or more ingredients. The Singapore Sling is considered the national drink of Singapore, and is available in its authentic form on all Singapore Airlines flights.

Where to try it: The famous Raffles Hotel, of course. This majestic colonial hotel has been a popular watering hole for Westerners since the turn of the century, with the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor and Rudyard Kipling passing through on their visit to the Orient.

White Port and Tonic, Porto
scenic cocktails
Don’t let the lack of an official title put you off this refreshing Portuguese mainstay. Rivalling classic gin and tonic as the ultimate summer aperitif, white port and tonic combines the delicate flavor of Portuguese white port with sparkling tonic – for the perfect antidote to the sultry Iberian weather. Though the origins of the drink are hazy, it’s best enjoyed in northern Portugal within reach of the inimitable Douro Valley, where many of the white grapes used to produce white port are cultivated.

Where to try it: Porto is teeming with places in which to sample the beloved ports and wines of the Douro, but one of our favourites is Bonaparte Downtown, a dark and quirky bar famous for its creative and refreshing cocktails.

Black Russian, Brussels
scenic cocktails
Like the country from which it takes its name, the Black Russian cocktail is enigmatic, sophisticated and unfathomable; the perfect late night, after-dinner nightcap. Despite its name, the cocktail was invented by Flemish barman, Gustave Tops, who first created this unusual blend in the Hotel Metropole in Brussels. Tops made the drink in honor of Perle Masta, the then US Ambassador to Luxembourg, who was staying at the hotel. Today, the Black Russian is considered an iconic after-dinner cocktail, and there are many variations of it – from Vader to Black Magic.

Where to try it: While Brussels is the birthplace of the Black Russian, the historic Flemish capital of Bruges is continuing its tradition. Try an authentic Belgian Black Russian at Groot Vlaenderen, a classy, late-night cocktail bar that takes full advantage of the city’s esteemed heritage architecture.


If this cocktail showcase has whetted your appetite for a late-night aperitif, remember, our skilled bartenders can whip up any type of long or short drink which takes your fancy – so you can indulge in the world’s signature beverages. For more information on our luxury river cruises and tours, visit the homepage or call us on 0808 159 4193.