12 typical Spanish drinks you should try
We are sure that you already know what the most typical Spanish food is, but what about the drink in Spain?
In Spain we have plenty of alcoholic and non-alcoholic “bebidas” (drinks in Spanish) and you can try them almost everywhere in the country. The locals love all of them and they normally have a time in the day when it is time to taste it (like tea time in England). Hereafter we would like to list you the 12 most famous Spanish drinks.
Even Spain is the third largest wine producer and one of the oldest traditional winemaking countries in the world, for some unknown reason it is one of the least understood. Even wine lovers might feel hopelessly lost and unsure where to start. There is an incredibly wide range of delicious wines produced in this country:
White wines, rosés, young and aged reds, sparkling and sweet wines, sherries and traditional wines.
In a typical Spanish restaurant, it is normal to order wine calling it by the area where it comes from (like Rioja region, Ribera del Duero etc.) You can definitely ask the bar or restaurant´s waiter to help you make your choice.
Price: An average price for a glass of wine is 3€ (Exactly! Wine in Spain is cheap and tasty.)
Where to try it: In any bar, winery, café or restaurant. (We love the Fisna in Madrid and ElDiset in Barcelona)
2. Orange juice
Probably many of us associate Spain with oranges. These bright, sweet and juicy pieces of fruit are a perfect blend of vitamins and minerals. It is a must to have it for your breakfast. The best part is that it is available all year long (though the best period of the year is from October to April).
Price: An average price for a glass of fresh orange juice is 2-3€
Where to try it: In any bar or café, or you can make your own fresh squeezed orange juice at any supermarket.
3. Sangría or Tinto de verano
And yes, for some others, Spain is associated with sangría. This alcoholic drink is one of the symbols of the country. It contains three main ingredients: wine, soda and fresh fruit, but there may be a slight variation of this fresh cocktail in each place. This was the only Spanish drink that entered the CNN´s list of 50 best drinks in the world. The word sangria comes from the Spanish word “sangre”- blood, referring to its red colour. A simpler version of sangria is called Tinto de Verano (summer drink) which doesn’t contain any fruit (only wine and soda). Locals usually order tinto de verano rather than sangria.
Where to try it: Inany bar or café (we love Las Cuevas de Sésamo in Madrid and Cachitos in Barcelona) you can also get a bottled sangria (don´t expect great quality) in any supermarket for 2€.
This light alcoholic drink is a great alternative Spanish drink to wine or beer, some say it is more of a fermented apple juice. Its homeland is Asturias and the Basque Country in the North of Spain. According to the tradition, sidra should be poured in the correct way: the waiter lowers one hand with a glass, and lifts the other with a bottle of wine up, and thus fills up the glass, creating pleasant air bubbles in the drink. It is a really fun experience to try!
Price: 5€ a bottle
Where to try it: In most bars, though the best and most typical places to try it are the Asturian restaurants or Sidrerías. These places are in almost every Spanish town. We love Couzapín in Madrid and El Chigre in Barcelona.
This popular drink is usually associated with British, German or Belgian cultures, but in fact, Spain is the fourth producer of beer in Europe! It is very important for the local social life to have a beer with friends or family at least once a week. However, it can be tricky to say the right size of the desired drink even for Spanish, as in different parts of the country portions have different names. In Madrid and the majority of regions if you ask for a small glass of pressure beer in a bar you should ask for a “caña” and if you could do with a big one then order a “doble”. If you prefer to have a bottled beer you ask for a “botellin” if it is small and a “tercio” if you fancy a bigger bottle. These are the best considered Spanish cervezas:
Alhambra Reserva, Damm Inedit, Mahou Cinco Estrellas, Ambar, San Miguel 1516, Estrella Galicia 1906.
6. Agua de Valencia
The Valencian water is probably the second most popular cocktail in Spain. This Spanish drink is more typical in the Northern part of the country and logically in the town of Valencia. Its main ingredients are: fresh orange juice, cava (Champaign), Gin, Vodka and ice with slight variations.
Cava is the most famous Spanish sparkling wine and the pride of any winemaker. Only a few regions are allowed to produce Cava. In fact the 95% of the country´s sparkling wine is produced in Catalonia (Penedès region). You can classify it by color, variety of grape, region and aging (9-month aging Cava and 2,5 age Cava Gran Reserva).
Price per bottle: From 15€ in a supermarket and 25€ in a restaurant
Where to try it: We love Entrevinos in Madrid and of course the incredible wineries (caveries) close to Barcelona like Bodegas Freixenet, Agusti Torrelló or Codorniu.
Never call it a Martini! This Spanish alcoholic drink called Vermouth is very popular in the country especially in Barcelona (The city of Reus is not only Gaudi´s but also the vermouths’ hometown) as well as in Madrid. There is a well-known expression: See you at the time of vermouth (a la hora del vermú). It means that traditionally this drink is taken on Sundays before lunch with friends or family. It should be fresh with a slice of orange and it is also typical to accompany this bitter drink with olives or some savoury tapas. What distinguishes Spanish vermouth from the Italian one is the complexity and quality of its aroma.
Price: Bottle in a supermarket (around 10€/bottle) in a bar 2€/glass
Where to try it: In Madrid (Bodega de la Ardosa, Gran Clavel, El Viejo rey de los vinos)
Barcelona: La Plata, Bodega Marín
9. Hot Chocolate
Did you know that the first European to try hot chocolate was a Spanish man? In fact, it is said that it was Hernan Cortez. Anyhow, the Spanish brought the cocoa beans to Europe and even today, it is considered that Spain offers one of the best hot chocolate. It is served with churros (donut-like dessert) and the best time to try it is in winter/autumn at around 5pm, just after siesta. Try it with churros!
Where to try it: The oldest chocolatery is located in Madrid and it is called San Gines.
Orujo is a Spanish distilled spirit made of residue of wine production. Sometimes this liqueur is aged with herbs which is then called Orujo de hierbas. It is normally enjoyed after a meal and in many restaurants, it is offered for free after lunch. Some people believe it tastes very similar to Grappa (they are actually made almost the same way). Another popular version of orujo is called crema de orujo, very similar to Baileys. It is a mixture of orujo, coffee, caramel, sugar and milk.
Price: Bottle in a supermarket (around 10€/bottle) in a bar 2€/glass
Where to try it: Anywhere (bars and restaurants)
Horchata is a very popular Spanish non-alcoholic summer drink. You can try it anywhere in Spain, normally in an ice-cream shop. It originally comes from Valencia, where there are even places which specialize in horchata ( horchaterías) as well as street stalls. Even though it looks like milk , it is not a dairy product as it is made of tigernuts (chufa), sugar and water. It is typical to dip a sweet pastry in it (farton).
Where to try it: In Madrid in one of the ice cream place from a chain called Alboraya, in Barcelona at La Valenciana or at Tío Che
Last but not least of our 12 best Spanish drinks is an enchanted drink. If you believe in magic and you drink Queimada, which is typical of the Galicia region, you will get rid all of the negative vibes. Queimada literally means a burning drink as it is served on flames. Its main ingredients are: sugar, lemon, orange zest and coffee beans. All of this added to a pot and then it is set on fire. It is even better if it is prepared by a witch so she can cast a spell to protect you from evil spirits.
Where to try it: Normally only available in Galician restaurants (they are all around the country)
We hope you enjoyed our 12 best and typical Spanish drink list and that you got thirsty enough to get to try them all during your stay in Spain.