Nearly every year I enjoy a holiday with my sisters and our mum – a week or two somewhere warm with no children or men’s tantrums to spoil our time together. Over the years we have created our own traditions on holiday, one being on our last night when we always imbibe in a cocktail or two.

Cocktails on Kos

This started some 12 years ago on the Greek island of Kos, where we found a lovely little taverna right on the beach front. We dined there most evenings. On our last night, they really indulged us by letting us sample many different cocktails “on the house”. We have since become quite the little experts on what makes or breaks a good cocktail. Most we come across are vodka based but we much prefer the whisky ones, the Manhattans and Whisky Sours, Rusty Nails and Earthquakes. And so what if scarlet cocktail cherries are a bit twee and old hat; I like them.

Cocktails, as you probably know, are usually served decorated with a fancy cocktail stick, normally those little paper umbrellas, but over the years we have come across such an assortment it has now also become tradition to keep these as souvenirs. A silly little thing, I know, but I only have to look at my collection, especially on a cold, wet day, like today, to be instantly transported back to lovely times in the sun. I couldn’t tell you which stick came from where, but that doesn’t matter, it’s the memory they create that is the important part – reminders of valuable, precious time together.

Cocktail Souvenirs

As four women abroad unaccompanied by men or kids, we have always been looked after just that little bit more than ordinary couples or family groups in restaurants and bars. Always given the best table, that extra special bit of attention over service: “You have meze while you wait, is on zee ’ouse”. A free bottle of wine or dessert, extra treats served with drinks, the additional refill of the complimentary local liqueur. And they all make an extra fuss of our mother, now a grand old lady of 86. This was particularly true in Cyprus a few years ago. Obviously by treating us well they hoped we would return, which we did as it was a lovely restaurant, good entertainment and superb Greek food – none of the burger and chips on the menu that all the other eateries in the town had to offer. When it came to cocktails on our final evening, they spared nothing when it came to the quantities of drinks or the adornments served by our special waiter, with those words:  “is all free, compliment of manager for you lovely laydees!”

Cocktails in Cyprus

On last year’s summer holiday it was just myself and one of my sisters, and her daughter. We chilled out for a week in an adults only hotel, all inclusive. This included the cocktails, which we partook every day, sampling their “cocktail of the day”. We were disappointed. All the drinks, with the exception of in the dining room, were served in plastic glasses and no trimmings. No slice of lemon or orange, no cherry, no fancy cocktail stick. It just wasn’t the same.

Ah well, at least the four of us have this year’s holiday to look forward to. I wonder what will come in my cocktail this time.

Do you  have any traditions you keep on holiday? I’d love to hear what they are.


10 responses to “Souvenirs

  1. I love this tradition. And I can totally believe that glass of cocktail stirs can transport you to instant sunshine. What a lovely tradition you have with your family. We don’t have anything quite like that, but do go away every winter to a cabin in the snow with our children and grandchildren for 3 nights. We hole up, play games, eat (a LOT), drink (some), and visit (a LOT). It’s a wonderful time.

  2. What a fun idea! Love it – like you said, it keeps the cold, dreary days pass in a hug of warm memories. Your group sounds like a good one to travel with.

    I always keep little things on trips, like napkins with the name of restaurant, brochures and entry tickets. I create a scrapbook with all the goodies.

  3. Me, I’m a postcard person. My husband collects shot glasses. I recently decided I might try collecting wine glasses from different places, but transporting them home could be a hassle, so I have to think about that one.

  4. My mother collects postcards from places she’s been to. Says they are better than photos as hers never come out well. I too keep brochures and ticket stubs and usually buy a small pottery souvenir but they don’t always get home in one piece.

  5. Your holiday traditions sound wonderful. We don’t have anything on a schedule but recently have taken a couple of trips with my cousins. We lost track of each other for a time but have caught up nicely. We live about two hours from each other so besides the trips we meet half way for brunch once a month. The restaurant knows us now since the length of brunch is usually around 2 hours.

    • Hope all going well, Lavada! Two hour brunch sounds good. As bad as Tricia and I when we meet for lunch, usually turns into late afternoon tea as well.

  6. Love your holiday tradition, Kit, and that’s a great photo of the four of you.

    My favourite holiday home is Nice in the south of France. Travelling from Paris by train, we pass by the airport on the outskirts of Nice. Every time we hit this spot I turn to my hubby with a huge smile on my face and say, “We’re back”. It’s sort of become a tradition. The other things we always do on our first evening is enjoy an ice cream from Fennochio’s, the best ice cream on the French Riviera 🙂

    • Ah, gees. Nice? The French Riviera? I wanna go!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

    • Never been to France for holiday and always fancied Nice or Monte Carlo. Am drooling at the thought of that lovely ice cream! Now, that is a nice tradition. (Oops, just realised the pun!) 🙂

  7. Valerie J. Patterson

    Very much enjoyed your post, Kit. What a lovely pic of the 4 of you.

    I collect sand. Every beach we have been to (and there have been MANY) I collect a container of sand. I keep it in a crystal dish on the buffet in my dining room. Just running my fingers through the sand can transport me to the walks my husband and I took together on that particular beach. Got sand of all colors and textures. Even have sand from Africa, though I did not bring that home. A missionary friend of mine did.

    Laurie, don’t worry about bringing home wine glasses. Steve and I bring at least two home from every trip we take, sometimes more. Just wrap them really well. They’ll survive the trip just fine. Makes for an interesting collection, especially while entertaining. Everyone asks for the story behind the glass, and I love those trips down memory lane!

    Kit, have a grand time on your next holiday. I hope you 4 discover the perfect cocktail! 😛

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