8 Traditional Spanish Drinks to Try
Sangria might steal the show when it comes to Spanish drinks, but there’s a whole bunch of lesser-known beverages to whet your whistle. From fiery queimada served as part of an ancient Celtic ritual to punchy sherry cocktails, here are some traditional drinks to try when you’re on holiday in Spain.
Made with crushed ice and fresh fruit juice or syrup, there’s nothing better than a granizado on a hot summer’s day. There are all sorts of flavours, but one of the most popular is limon – made with lemon juice, sugar and shaved lemon peel to give it a zesty kick. You’ll find granizado all over Spain from ice cream parlours and grocery stores to bars and cafes.
Cava is Spain’s version of Champagne. It’s made in a very similar way, but with different grapes. Most cava grapes are grown in the Penedès region in Catalonia, but it’s also produced in the Basque Country, Valencia and La Rioja. There are several varieties of Cava including blanco (white) and rosado (pink) – it looks like you’ll have to try both to see which one you prefer! Cava pairs very well with sheep milk cheeses, salty Padrón peppers and seafood.
The La Rioja province in northern Spain is one of the world’s most famous wine regions. It’s known for its bold reds that are on par in deliciousness with French wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux. Rioja wines are split into four categories – Genérico, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva – depending on how long it has matured, but you can typically expect a medium to full-bodied vino with high tannins and notes of dark berries and earthy herbs. Oak may also be present depending on how long the wine aged in the barrel.
Ratafia is an ancient Mediterranean liqueur made from a curious concoction of macerated fruits, herbs and nuts. It can be made with various seasonal fruits, but it usually includes walnut, cinnamon and nutmeg. The liquid is then aged in wooden barrels for at least three months. Catalan ratafia is sweet, strong (up to 30% ABV) and is best drunk as a digestif over ice, or as an accompanying beverage with dessert. It’s also delicious poured over ice cream.
Qeimada, or ‘fire drink’, is from Galicia in northwestern Spain. It’s drunk as part of an ancient Celtic ritual believed to purify the soul and ward off evil spirits. It’s made by simmering lemon peel, coffee beans, cinnamon and a strong alcoholic liqueur called orujo over a big stove pot. It’s then set alight until the flame turns blue and is poured into small cups. Evil spirits aside, drinking queimada is bound to put a fire in your belly and a spring in your step! It’s very likely you’ll encounter queimada as you walk through small Galician villages on the Camino trail.
Rebujito is an alcoholic punch from Andalusia, the southernmost region of Spain. Made with dry fino sherry, lemon or lime soda, mint and ice, it’s a refreshing tipple to cool down in the intense summer heat. You can drink rebujito on its own, or pair it with seafood or salty cheese and cold meats.
If you like the intensity of port and brandy, chances are you’ll like Jerez, a fortified sherry wine from the southern region of Cádiz. Jerez varies in sweetness and colour, ranging from a pale yellow to darker treacle, but the darker varieties are generally more intense. A glass of Jerez is best enjoyed as a digestif, or with a cheese board or slab of something rich and sweet.
We couldn’t not feature Sangria on this list. Sangria is an iconic Spanish drink loved around the world. There are heaps of versions, but the classic recipe is made with red wine, brandy or vermouth, sliced apples and oranges, and sparkling soda. A crowd-pleasing pitcher of sangria is the perfect drink to share with friends over tapas.
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The most popular drinks in Spain
With a reputation for being one of the best countries in the world, Spain’s irresistibly vibrant culture continues to beckon visitors from all over the globe.
Offering mouth-watering cuisine, sun blossomed wines, Mediterranean beaches, and incredible architecture spilling from every street crevice, it’s easy to see how Spain has become one of the most popular destinations to visit in Europe.
Whether you’re a party lover, art buff, dance fanatic, foodie, or simply seeking to relax, Spain offers the quenching of every thirst. Food is an integral part of the Spanish culture, with an average lunch lasting between 2 and 3 hours. But no meal could be complete without something to drink.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the large selection of drinks available- don’t fret, ShBarcelona has got you covered. Below we have compiled a list of famous Spanish drinks, helping to guide you towards choosing the best beverage any occasion!
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With a refreshing blend of fruits and spices, sangria is known to be the signature Spanish beverage. Ingredients can include ginger, cinnamon, pieces of lemon, orange, apple, peach, mango, melon, kiwi, grapes, pineapple, berries, and more.
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These ingredients are then marinated in base alcohol such as red or white wine or as is preferred in Barcelona, cava. Some variations include triple sec or brandy and lemon-lime soda, sugar, lemon slices, and ice are used to finish.
Sangria, which stands for “blood-letting” is a popular drink choice for groups due to their typical serving style in large jugs with accompanying glasses for all, perfect for parties and gatherings!
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Cava is the champagne of Spain and it comes in the form of a light, bubbly wine available in both white and rosé. Cava is often consumed alongside tapas but it is also an important part of tradition to drink cava during celebrations such as weddings, Christenings, Christmas, birthday parties and more.
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About 95% of all cava is produced in the Penedès area in Catalonia (village of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia), which is home to many of the oldest and largest cava producers in Spain. The most traditional grapes varieties used to produce cava include the macabeu, parellada and xarel·lo.
In order to be labeled as “cava” wines must be produced according to the traditional champenoise method; other wines processed via alternate methods are regarded as “sparkling wines”.
Related article: Spanish Drinks to Refresh You This Summer
Vermouth is another well-loved beverage in Spain, a popular choice due to its distinct aromatic taste and crisp finish. Frequently consumed by Spanish tourists and locals, vermouth is a firm favorite when it comes to choosing a drink to compliment simple tapas.
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The Spanish style of vermouth is known to be more aromatic than the Italian (red-sweet) and French (white-dry) versions, often including more than 100 different herbs resulting in a distinctive botanical flavor.
The ideal vermouth is typically crisp to taste and it contains a balance of acidic, bitter and sweet notes.
Spanish horchata is a very popular sweet, creamy drink made by mixing the milky juice of tiger nuts with white sugar. The drink must be refrigerated to ensure that upon serving, it is extremely cold and refreshing.
With a smooth blend of hazelnut and almond flavors, tiger nuts are the key ingredient used to create the sweet signature taste of horchata but since tiger nuts are only harvested in Valencia, horchata is very rarely available outside of Spain.
Traditionally horchata is accompanied by long thin buns known as “fartons”.
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Clara is a refreshing blend of beer and lemon soda, typically created by combining 2 parts beer, 1 part lemon soda but this can be altered depending on the individual tastes.
Often consumed during lunchtime, the drink is a popular choice for many people living in or visiting Spain.
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Originating in Cuba, the Mojito is a well-known alcoholic cocktail consumed by many in Spain. Traditionally, the cocktail is made from a mixture of five ingredients, including white rum, sugar, lime juice, club soda and ice and mint to finish.
The mojito comes in a wide range of different varieties depending on personal preference- even non-alcoholic mojitos are available by replacing the rum with pineapple juice.
Related article: Where to Drink a Good Beer in Barcelona
Spain is the fourth-largest producer of beer in Europe and the tenth in the world, many restaurants and cafes offer beer alongside soft drinks at all hours of the days.
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Typically, Spaniards order a caña (small glass of beer), a tubo (long glass) or a bottle, as opposed to pints of beer, which is more of a British custom. There are a variety of beers which are produced in Spain.
The most popular ones are Mortiz, Estrella Damm, Mahou, San Miguel, and Cruz Campo.
What is your favourite traditional Spanish drink? And where do you drink it?
Let us know your tips for places with great Spanish alcoholic drinks!
Spain’s 10 most popular drinks Noticia
Tinto de verano (tinto de verano)
Summer version of red wine. Many Spaniards prefer not sangria, but this refreshing drink, a mixture of red wine and soda or lemonade.
Tourist bars often offer overpriced sangria, while tinto de verano can be sampled at any local establishment for a more than modest fee.
Jean – tonic (gin tonic)
The Spaniards took the good old cocktail to new heights, making it the most fashionable drink of recent years.
Gin tonic, so popular in the best bars of the country, is served in large rounded glasses with plenty of ice and a variety of gourmet toppings.
Beer ( cerveza)
In Spain, it’s not enough just to order “two beers” – its variety here is much wider than you might imagine. The locals themselves most often order beer in “cañas”, small glasses that keep the drink cool and refreshing. Some prefer “doble”, which is twice the size, or “harra” – a mug. Bottled beer lovers should learn the words “boteyin” and “tercio”, which refer to bottles with a capacity of 250 and 330 ml. Fans of shandy, or beer mixed with lemonade, will benefit from its Spanish name “clara con lemon”.
The northern regions of the country – Asturias, Galicia and the Basque Country – are famous for it. The former accounts for 80% of the total volume of cider produced in Spain. You can try it all over the country, and specialized bars called “sidreria” are best suited for this. The art of serving cider is to hold the bottle over your head and pour the drink into a wide glass to create bubbles.
Vermouth is so popular in Spain that it even has its own legal time of the day – just before dinner, when the inhabitants of the country, especially Madrid and Catalans, gather and drink a glass.
To make the experience even more authentic, it is worth ordering draft vermouth, which in Spain is called “de griffo”.
You can’t leave Spain without trying the traditional local hot chocolate churros.
It has nothing to do with the cocoa-like watery drinks often served under this name in other countries: Spanish hot chocolate has a very thick texture and rich taste.
Chacoli dry white wine produced in the Basque Country.
However, it can be found all over the country – it is a traditional drink served in Basque restaurants along with tapas or pintxos.
Like cider, chacolis are poured into glasses from a height to make the wine sparkle.
Also originating in the Basque Country, this drink is made by mixing red wine and Coca-Cola in proportions 1:1. He is very fond of young people: kalimocho is popular among participants in the so-called “botellones”, or mass drinking of alcohol on the street. However, now it can be ordered in almost every bar in Spain, where calimocho is served with a lot of ice.
Horchata ( horchata)
A traditional Valencian drink made from ground almonds, water and sugar. The production of horchata is controlled by its own regulatory board.
The town of Alboraya gained the greatest fame thanks to her. On the streets of the city, there are many specialized bars where you can try horchata.
Jerez (jerez )
This drink owes its name to the Andalusian city of the same name, where it is produced.
As in the case of champagne, which can only be called sparkling wines from the Champagne region, sherry is the name given exclusively to wine produced in the vicinity of Jerez de la Frontera.
Jerez de la Frontera
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Popular Spanish Drinks | About Spain from a guide
What are popular Spanish drinks like? What do people like to drink in Spain?
Traveling to other countries and cities, it is always interesting to learn the gastronomic features of the traditions of this place. It is interesting to “taste the country”, this allows you to better feel the atmosphere of life.
At the height of a hot summer day, strolling through the sun-drenched streets of Barcelona, it’s nice to take a breather, sit at a table in an outdoor cafe and order a refreshing drink.
I also recommend that you read the article on how to find a place where you can eat tasty and inexpensive in Barcelona. Alcoholic soft drinks 29
Popular Spanish drinks: Sangria
This drink is extremely popular. It is prepared on the basis of dry red wine , with the addition of sugar, fruits, orange juice and spices. Served in clay or glass jugs with plenty of ice. It is drunk very easily and intoxication is not felt for a long time, exactly until the moment when you try to get up from the table and are surprised to find that your legs have stopped obeying you. The Spaniards, knowing the insidious properties of sangria, called it Devil’s Blood.
Another variation of sangria, less known among tourists, but dearly loved by the local population. This is a sangria based on sparkling wine – cava. It is made with strawberries, peaches and fresh mint leaves.
Tinto de verano
Red wine in its summer version with the addition of lemonade or soda. Served well chilled.
Popular Spanish drinks: Clara
A cocktail made by mixing equal proportions of light beer and lemonade / or sweet soda. It turns out a very refreshing drink with an extremely moderate alcohol content.
Young red wine, 1:1 Coca-Cola and plenty of ice. This drink can be safely called the “king” of beach parties.
These popular Spanish drinks can be ordered in any bar or restaurant. This applies equally to both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks in Spain.
Non-alcoholic soft drinks
Popular Spanish drinks: horchata
Valencia is the birthplace of this drink. However, in other regions of Spain it is also loved, so much so that there are special cafes. These establishments are called horchatería , where, in addition to the horchata itself, you will be offered pastries and ice cream.
Horchata is made from peanuts, which are called “chufa” . Based on nut milk, water and sugar. You need to drink very chilled. The taste is very difficult to compare with something, it is quite original, but it is definitely worth a try. Usually, horchata is a fairly common option for an afternoon snack, it is served with buns called farton.