Are you planning to visit Spain and wondering what Spanish drinks you should try? Or at least which drink of Spain will pair with the Spanish food you’ll be having? Then we’ve got you covered!

Most people will know the traditional Spanish drinks like sangría, red wine and cava, but this list goes beyond the usual and shows you other Spanish beverages you can try during your next Spanish holiday.

bottle of cabre and sabate cava with glass on blue table

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Spain is a stunning country, well known for its beautiful beaches, friendly people, colourful villages, festivals and rich Spanish culture, where Spanish cuisine plays a very important part of this culture.

Sangria, paella, and Spanish wines are all world famous and every visitor to Spain should definitely try at least a pan of paella with sangria. But did you know that Spanish food is so much more than just paella and belongs to the world famous Mediterranean cuisine?

Having a drink together plays an important part of Spanish daily life, and since Spain is a land full of traditions, it should come as no surprise there is such a wide variety of drinks from Spain. With that said, it can get a bit overwhelming when trying to decide what to drink and what is available and from which region.

So, here is a short list of our favourite drinks from Spain:

Sangría

Sangría is a fruity and refreshing alcoholic beverage and is one of the most popular and famous drinks in Spain. This vibrant fruit punch is typically made from red wine, chopped fruits (such as apples, peaches, oranges and lemons) and a sweeteners, which can be sugar or a sweet beverage. These are the basic ingredients, but recipes vary within Spain and beyond.

Usually served chilled with ice cubes Sangría tends to be more prevalent in tourist areas where it is the number one popular drink. However, it is also enjoyed by locals, especially during social gatherings, parties and festivals.

The story about the international popularity of the drink goes that at the World Fair in New York, USA in the 1960’s Madrid had a display and introduced Americans to sangría. From here it spread, achieved legendary status and became one of the most famous Spanish drinks.

Cava

Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine closely related to French Champagne with regards to utilising a similar production process to make the sparkling wine. This process is according to the traditional method or méthode champenoise and involves a secondary fermentation in the bottle to form the bubbles that Cava is known for. The name ‘Cava’ is derived from the Spanish word for cellars, referring to the cellars in which the wine is stored for aging.

pouring cava from a bottle in a few cava glasses

The vast majority of Cava wines are produced in the Penedès region close to Barcelona with smaller quantities coming from other areas in Catalunya, La Rioja, Aragón and Valencia. While Penedès remains the most prominent area, these additional regions add to the diversity and quality of Cava.

Cava is widely enjoyed within Spain but has also gained popularity abroad as it is cheaper than champagne while still offering the same high quality. It’s often hard to tell the difference. Try it. A €40 bottle of Champagne versus a €4 bottle of Cava.

Spanish Rioja wine

Spain is the world’s third largest wine producer and exporter after France and Italy. What’s more, as Spain has a very diverse geography and climate, it consequently has the opportunity to produce a very wide variety of quality wines which in turn makes it one of the most important wine countries in the world.

Spain is also home to no less than 7 main wine regions based on climate, geography and culture. The red wines from the Rioja region with the Tempranillo grapes are world-renowned and possibly the most famous and popular wines outside of Spain. Rioja has a long history of winemaking dating back centuries which has helped established its reputation as a quality wine region.

Sherry

Sherry is a fortified wine that can only be produced in the South of Spain, inside the sherry triangle as defined by the towns of Jerez de la Frontera, Puerto de Santa Maria and San Lucar de Barrameda. If a wine is fortified it means it has been mixed with a distilled spirit, which is brandy in the case of sherry. It is then aged through the solera method, which involves blending in old and new wines to increase the flavour of the final product.

glass of sherry on a blue table in Spain

With their roots embedded in rich, moisture-retaining soil and the vines bearing the high humidity coming from the sea, the Palomino grapes consequently have a distinctly earthy flavour that is maintained through the distillation process. However, contrary to popular belief, sherry is actually a very dry, clear, crisp and refreshing white wine. It is usually paired with seafood or a savoury meal.

The sherry most people know is called ‘cream’, although it isn’t really creamy. It is made from Pedro Ximenez grapes, which are dried under the hot sun to preserve the natural sweetness. The thick liquid is fortified and then aged the same way as the Palomino grapes, resulting in the famous dessert wine many people love to drink after dinner as a digestif.

Clara

Clara is a perfect refreshment on a hot summer’s day in Spain. If you find regular beer too strong or too bitter, Clara offers an ideal alternative.

Also known as ‘Clara con limón‘ in some parts of Spain, this beer cocktail is well known and popular throughout the whole country. This Spanish drink is incredibly simple and easy to make. Similar to the German ‘Radler‘, half a glass of pilsner or lager beer is mixed with half a glass of lemonade for the typical Clara.

It’s the perfect drink for anyone who loves a slightly sweeter, less alcoholic, and more refreshing alternative to standard beer. Excellent to enjoy on a hot day when travelling through Spain. Clara is also know as shandy in the UK and some other parts of the world. It is essentially the same thing.

Tinto de Verano

Tinto de Verano literally translates to ‘red wine of summer’. It’s a refreshing, thirst-quenching Spanish beverage which is even more popular during the summer months, hence its name. This delightful summer drink is prepared by mixing red wine with lemon soda and a slice of lemon. It is then topped with ice cubes resulting in a delicious, fizzy, lightly alcoholic cocktail.

glass of tinto de verano on a table in frigiliana white village

It’s mostly locals who drink Tinto de Verano when tourists seem to prefer Sangría, and while both are red wine based summer cocktails, and what with Sangría being very popular with tourists, you mainly find it (Sangria) served in tourist traps, at higher prices.

Tinto de Verano is also less expensive and easier to prepare, which is why Spanish locals prefer to make it at home or when going out or at festivals, making it the perfect summer refreshment as it would take a whole lot of it before you even get slightly drunk, never mind wasted.

Tinto de Verano is usually mixed with either Casera (order Tinto con Casera), which is a mild and lightly sweetened lemon flavoured soda or with Fanta Limón (order Tinto con Limón)

Sidra Asturiana

Sidra is a very popular Spanish drink from Asturias. While the exact origins of apple cider itself remain unknown, sidra is an integral part of the local culture in Asturias, a lush and green autonomous community in the northwestern part of Spain. The region is renowned for its extensive apple orchards which supply the essential ingredient for local cider production. Asturian cider, also known as ‘sidra natural’ is famous for its natural fermentation process which involves the addition of extra sugars and yeast. Contrary to some expectations, this cider is not sparkling and is instead still and is what sets it apart from many other ciders.

bottle of sidra natural from Asturias

What also makes this cider even more interesting is how it’s served. The process of serving is called ‘escanciar‘ which involves pouring the cider from a height partly in and partly on top of the rim of a glass. The reason for this is to create air bubbles in this natural cider. Once it’s poured, it’s supposed to be drank immediately as the air bubbles soon disappear. It’s not only refreshing and enjoyable to drink, but it also holds a cherished place in Asturian social gatherings and culinary traditions.

Agua de Valencia

As the name already indicates, Agua de Valencia is a cocktail originating from the city of Valencia. It literally translates to ‘Valencian water’, only it doesn’t have any water in it. Instead, it’s a vibrant and refreshing cocktail combining cava with fresh juice made from Valencian oranges, as well as gin and vodka and is mainly enjoyed during warm evenings and festive gatherings.

The story of the creation of Agua de Valencia is that a group of travellers from the Basque Country frequented the bar ‘Café Madrid’ in Valencia in 1959, ordering cava and calling it Agua de Bilbao (or ‘water’ from Bilbao). They then callenged the owner Constante Gil to create a new drink which they would call Agua de Valencia instead. The owner then came up with mixing freshly squeezed orange juice, cava, gin, vodka and sugar topped with ice.

Madroño liquor

Madroño Liquor is a traditional liqueur from the area of Madrid. It is made from the iconic fruit of the Arbutus Unedo, which means ‘tree of which only one fruit must be eaten’. The fruit of this Arbutus Unedo or Madroño tree is capable of fermenting and producing alcohol and so has the reputation of being intoxicating.

It is also this tree that stands as a symbol of the city of Madrid, together with the bear, el Oso y el Madroño, of which a statue can be seen in the Plaza del Sol in Madrid.

Kalimotxo

Originating from the Basque Country, Kalimotxo (also known as Calimocho) is a popular Spanish drink especially favoured among the younger crowds at festivals, parties and other gatherings. Kalimotxo combines red wine with coke in equal parts.

2 glasses of kalimotxo on a glass plate with ice and orange slice

It was in 1972 during the festival of St. Nicholas at the Puerto Viejo or Old Port in Algorta (close to Bilbao) that the organisers bought red wine which didn’t taste too nice. So in order to sell this ‘unpleasant wine’ they mixed a 1:1 ratio coke with it and hence Kalimotxo was ‘born’ and made popular.

Coincidentally it was also when I lived many years ago in that very area of San Nicolas in Algorta where I had my first taste of Kalimotxo and got hooked on it.

It’s perfect to drink during the warmer summer months and is still widely consumed in the Basque Country. However, even though it is known all over Spain, it isn’t that common elsewhere. Yet still to this day it is generally mixed with a lower quality, cheap, basic red wine. The stuff you buy in plastic 2 litre bottles or 1 litre tetra boxes. Just bear in mind it’s actually quite hard to find genuinely bad wine in Spain, no matter the container it comes in.

Brandy de Jerez

Brandy de Jerez is a Spanish brandy produced in the region of Jerez in Andalusia. Matured in a traditional solera system, the brandy de Jerez undergoes a meticulous process of blending different vintages in American oak barrels to achieve its distinctive flavour profile. The result is a smooth and complex spirit with a distinctive aroma along with notes of vanilla, caramel and toasted oak.

Brandy de Jerez can only be produced in the Sherry Triangle and is made from Airén or Palomino grapes.

bottle of veterano brandy osborne on a table

Patcharán

Pacharán is a liqueur originating from the region of Navarra, in the Basque Country in Northern Spain. This iconic drink is made with sloe berries or the small dark blue coloured fruits of the blackthorn bush which grows wild on the plains of the Navarra region.

In Spanish, sloe berries are known as endrinas. They are macerated and mixed with anisette liquor. Pacharán or Patxaran (in Basque) has a red brown colour with a sweet anise-like and very distinct aroma. The origin of the drink goes back to the Middle Ages where it was used for medicinal purposes. It wasn’t until the mid 19th century that it was sold as a commercial brand.

It is found all over Spain but is particularly popular in the Basque country. It is best drank after a meal as a digestif, chilled, with or without ice. It can be mixed with other drinks but in general it is savoured straight up.

Orujo de Hierbas

Orujo or Liquor de Hierbas is a Spanish herbal liqueur made from distilled pomace infused with local herbs. Pomace is the residue from the wine production and is the basic ingredient of Orujo. It is obtained from the skin, seeds and stalks of the pressed and squeezed grapes, which is then fermented and distilled to reach an alcohol level of between 37% and 45%.

Originating from northern Spain and more particularly in Galicia, it is usually served as a chupito, in a shot glass after a meal. When Orujo has just been distilled it is a clear liquid, however, when the spirit is left to age in the oak barrel for 2 year it turns into its distinctive amber to bright yellow colour.

Spanish Vermouth

Spanish Vermouth or Vermút is a fortified and aromatised wine, infused with various botanicals and typically served as an aperitif before a meal. It has a dark red colour with a sweet taste, flavoured with hints of spices like cardamon, cinnamon and cloves.

glass of vermut in bar with ice and lemon slice

When trying Spanish vermouth you may notice that no 2 have the same flavour. This is because the recipes and ingredients vary from producer to producer with each having their own blend of aromatics.

Even though there is red and white vermouth, the red is the one that’s more popular and is widely found all over Spain. It is very traditional to enjoy a glass of vermút in a bar with friends or family at midday with some tapas before lunch starts.

It is usually served cold with ice and depending on the region poured from either a bottle or del grifo (from the tap)

Rebujito

Rebujito is a refreshing and popular drink from the region of Andalusia in Southern Spain. It is a fizzy alcoholic drink that blends sherry with a lemon based soda and sometimes fresh mint and ice. Rebujito is the drink of choice during the spring and summer festivals in Southern Spain. It became increasingly popular during the Feria de Abril (translated as April festival) in Sevilla, to enjoy a local sherry (mainly manzanilla or fino) in a more refreshing way to withstand the heat.

Licor 43

Renowned for its unique and complex flavour, Licor 43 or Cuarenta y Tres is a Spanish liqueur made in Cartagena. This golden coloured liqueur is infused with a secret blend of 43 botanicals and spices, hence its name.

The taste can be described as sweet with strongish vanilla notes and hints of citrus and coriander. It was first produced in the 1940’s by the Zamora family. It is one of the more popular Spanish sweet liqueurs outside of Spain.

Spanish beer

Many people seem to think that the Spanish just sip on sangría, wine and cava every day. But unlike what many would assume, Spain is in fact in the top 10 of the largest beer producing and consuming per capita countries in the world. You’ll find that lager beers are the most popular with brands like Mahou, Cruzcampo, San Miguel and Estrella found almost everywhere.

2 glasses of Spanish beer at a beach

The warm climate in Spain makes ice cold beer a popular choice for both locals and tourists alike. It is often served with a small tapas dish as an accompaniment. The craft beer market is also fast growing and is introducing new flavours and styles to the market quite often.

Catalan Ratafia

Ratafia is a traditional Catalan liqueur, primarily produced in the rural areas of Catalonia. Catalans have been making it for over a thousand years. The liqueur is crafted from walnuts and is a blend of aromatic herbs which are left to macerate for at least a couple of months before being aged in wooden barrels.

Ratafia’s recipe is considered one of Catalonia’s best-kept secrets, varying significantly by location and family tradition. Often made at home, typically by grandparents, it is shared with family and friends, resulting in a multitude of unique recipes without a single official method of preparation.

Known for its sweet flavour with a hint of woodiness and a beautiful brown hue, Ratafia is enjoyed both as an aperitif and a digestif. Drinking Ratafia is a common summer tradition and is ideally enjoyed chilled during leisurely lunches with friends.

Carajillo

Carajillo is a popular coffee drink to which a splash of rum, brandy, anisette or other spirit is added. It is typically served either hot or cold. Not only popular in Spain but all over Latin America, this special coffee drink has gained popularity and is usually served after a meal.

Ronmiel

Ronmiel is a traditional Spanish liqueur originating from the Canary Islands. It is a rum based liqueur infused with honey, hence its name ronmiel meaning honey rum. Even though it’s a lesser-known Spanish drink, it’s very popular in the Canary Islands. It’s a sweet, amber coloured drink that can be had neat, chilled or on the rocks. Or it can be added to cocktails to make a mojito or cubalibre. Sometimes hints of cinnamon or lime are also added.

Horchata de chufa

Horchata de Chufa is a popular non-alcoholic Spanish beverage made from tiger nuts (or chufas), sugar and water. Chufas or tiger nuts as they are known in English, are in fact the edible tubers of the Yellow Nutsedge plant which was brought to the Valencia area by the Arabs when they still ruled part of the Iberian Peninsula. As they were not allowed to consume alcohol, they created a milky drink from the chufas, being the origin of Horchata Valenciana.

tetra pack of horchata with a glass of horchata milk

Horchata is a refreshing, sweet drink mainly consumed during the warmer summer months. In Valencia, Horchata is traditionally served with fartons which are long, fat, bread-like fingers with a sugar glaze, and an unfortunate name. For maximum enjoyment, dip your fart…on into the cool, milky horchata.

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