5 Truly Spanish Liquors for Summer

We know Spain well for the richness of its gastronomy, but less for its many traditional alcohols, but varied and unique in its kind. Here are 5 truly Spanish spirits to discover this summer.

Photo: Inside the Gold Coast

Sangria here, sangria there… This drink has become the essential alcohol in Spain, so much so that it can be found throughout the country, and even with different recipes, such as cava in Catalonia. But for a 100% Spanish aperitif, far from the clichés, there are many other delicious and refreshing alcohols, much less known than sangria. A brief tour of the most unique distillates in Spain.

Ratafia

If you know Catalan cava well, you will hear less often about ratafia. However, this sweet liqueur is a must for aperitifs and desserts in Catalonia. Based on nuts, aromatic plants and macerated spices, this spirit dark in color has been around for at least a thousand years. There are different”versions”, more bitter in the Balearic Islands with the use of green walnuts, or much sweeter in Aragón with cherries and cinnamon. But she is still very Catalan, and is even protected by a designation of origin. With its approximately 30 degrees of alcohol, ratafía is taken as a digestif, but also as an aperitif, perfect for a typical Catalan touch.

Photo: IMAS

Chinchon

Anise lovers will love chinchón. With its real name “Anís de Chinchón”, this fresh and translucent alcohol is produced only in the province of Madrid, within the municipality of Chinchón, hence its protected designation of origin. There it would be manufactured and consumed from at least the 17th century, but it was bottled and distributed from 1911. Its recipe consists mainly of maceration of green anise in different agricultural alcohols, for 12 to 14 hours, in copper stills. If water is added, the resulting chinchón is said to be dry, while with syrup it becomes a sweet chinchón. Depending on the recipes, this spirit fluctuates between 35 and 75% alcohol. It is usually tasted in the province of Madrid, although there are other providers in the rest of Spain.

Vermouth

Impossible to have an aperitif in Catalonia without trying the vermouth. Traditionally served before lunch, it is drunk very cold, with ice cubes and a slice of lemon or orange. Although the Vermouth It was not invented in Spain but in Italy, taking up a Roman tradition, its consumption spread widely in the Iberian Peninsula and began to be produced on an industrial scale at the end of the 19th century, with the founding of the Yzaguirre brand in Reus, Catalonia.

alcohol spainPhoto: Getty

Vermouth, which ranges between 16 and 19 degrees of alcohol, is generally made up of red or white wine, in which herbs and spices have been macerated, including the famous absinthe, but recipes vary from country to country and even from one country to another. .one brand to another.

liquor 43

A drink distributed all over the world, but whose recipe remains unknown? It is not Coca-Cola but liquor 43, a golden and sweet alcohol whose recognizable bottle can be seen in all Spanish bars and even elsewhere. According to the Licor 43 brand, the origins of this alcohol date back to the arrival of the Romans in the city of Carthago Nova, present-day Cartagena in Murcia. There they discovered an alcohol called “Liqvor Mirabilis”. Although it was prohibited by the Romans, the Carthaginians continued to make it, based on aromatic herbs and fruits, especially citrus fruits, macerated in water and alcohol for 6 to 9 months.

But in 1946, the Carthaginian Zamora family decided to bottle and distribute the liquor, and it quickly became a success. Its recipe, which consists of exactly 43 ingredients, is still kept secret, making it difficult to imitate the original liqueur. With its 31% alcohol content, beautiful golden color and associated cocktail recipes, it is still very popular around the world today and has made the fortune of the Zamora family. It is also today spirit the most exported Spanish.

valence water

But life is not just about spirits, and this was well understood by Constante Gil, a painter and manager of a bar in the city of Valence. One afternoon in 1959, when disappointed customers asked him for a new cocktail, he surprised them all with his totally improvised “eau de Valence”: cava, gin, vodka and of course orange juice, the city’s flagship product.

alcohol spainPhoto: Drinks & Co.

The cocktail seduces so much that it has become the essential aperitif in the city, which can still be drunk today in all the bars of Valencia. It is usually served cold, in a bottle like sangria, and its color is reminiscent of mimosa. Today thevalence water it is protected by Denomination of Origin, and can also be found bottled and ready to serve as an aperitif, to make it a little more original than the review seen and sangria.

Also read: What are the secrets of Spanish cuisine?

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