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3 drinks you need to try in Spain

My love affair with Spain began on a language exchange to Madrid. From a boring suburban town near Watford, suddenly I was in the middle of one of the most exciting cities in the world and at 16* allowed to drink in bars and clubs. As you can imagine, I had a hell of a time and my Spanish improved drastically. Who knew learning could be so much fun? Since then I’ve been back many times. Whether it’s to Barcelona, Jerez or the Basque country, I always get a little thrill at arriving in Spain.

Gonzalez Byass bodega in Jerez

Spain is a drinks superpower

One of the best things about the country is the food. Especially in the south, there are still places which will bring you a plate of snacks to eat alongside your drink. But even when you have to pay, prices tend to be incredibly reasonable for delicious things like tortillitas de camarones (tiny shrimp fritters), jamon serrano or a nice bit of cheese. Not like the Spanish food in London – £75 for four dishes and a glass of sherry at Barrafina in King’s Cross. My life!

The Spanish know how to drink too, big generous measures, low prices and everybody seems to be having a wonderful time. Like Britain and France, Spain is a drinks superpower. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed wines from Rioja, fizz from Cava, and crisp lagers served very cold in little measures called cañas. I’ve even ordered a Whisky DYC (pronounced ‘dick’ – the bestselling Spanish whisky brand) with a straight face. 

But the drinks below are the ones I most associate with Spain. Whether you’re in Ibiza, Majorca, Madrid or Barcelona, these three never fail to hit the spot. 

The Gin Tonica

Picture the scene: a bar in Barcelona in the mid ‘90s, I’ve just ordered a Gin Tonica. The barman fills a tall Collins glass with ice, then free pours Lariosalmost to the top, adds a slice of lime, adds a splash of tonic on the side, and I marvel as the UV light turns the drink blue (something to do with the quinine) while ‘Ritmo de La Noche’ bangs away. That was my first taste of a proper Spanish G&T. 

Make it with…

Larios 12 Premium Gin Mediteránea

Premium choice

Xoriguer Mahon Gin 70cl

Spanish brandy and coffee

In Spain, it’s quite normal to see people having a little brandy or anise with their morning coffees. Nobody stages an intervention. That’s a little too early for me but there’s really nothing better to sip alongside a cafe solo after lunch than Spanish brandy. You could choose something a little fancy like a Brandy de Jerez or go for Soberano, the country’s leading brandy. It also makes a splendid long drink with soda or tonic water, or mix it in an Espresso Martini instead of vodka. 

Make it with….

Soberano Reserva 12 70cl 

Premium choice

Lepanto Solera Gran Reserva

Fino sherry with olives

Very dry sherry does take a bit of getting used to if you’re accustomed to the fruity flavours of pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc. But for whisky drinkers, the intensely dry, wood-influenced flavours of a fino or a manzanilla make perfect sense especially when there’s salty snacks involved. Sherry is such a great allrounder at the table, there’s very few savoury dishes that it doesn’t go with. It also has the most incredibly transportative powers – close your eyes, add some olives and you could be in Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

Make it with…

Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe Palomino Fino 75cl 

Premium choice

Gonzalez Byass Dos Palmas Fino 50cl

*Drinking age is now 18 in Spain.

The post 3 drinks you need to try in Spain appeared first on Master of Malt Blog.

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