Barcelona is a city steeped in culture. Whether one visits this wonderful city to take in Gaudí’s always impressive architecture, to experience a scintillating atmosphere at the Camp Nou, or just to relax on the beach and eat your way through the excellent variety of restaurants in the city, it is always interesting to learn about and try some local drinks.
Barcelona has a great history when it comes to drinking. Of course, Estrella and Moritz are the two favoured beers here, but what about other, more traditional drinks? It is well known that Baudelaire and Hemingway frequented many of the bars around the city, but what were they drinking? Indeed, there probably wasn’t much that Hemingway didn’t drink, which means he probably tried everything on the following list.
Okay, so Hemingway preferred Champagne but still, cava is an important part of Catalan and Spanish tradition and is often consumed at weddings, baptisms, banquets, dinners and parties. Most of this sparkling wine is produced in Catalunya and it may be white or pink in colour. The word cava means ‘cave’ or ‘cellar’ and the sparkling wine is so-called as caves were used in the early days of cava production for the ageing of wine. Winemakers in Catalunya officaily adopted the term cava in order to distinguish their product from the French Champagne.
El Xampanyet, Carrer de Montcada 22, El Born
La Champaneria, Carrer de la Reina Cristina 7, La Barceloneta
Leche de Pantera
This is a very popular cocktail not just in Barcelona, but Spain as a whole. Made popular during the 1970s, its general form consists of a mixture of milk and liquor. However, it can be elaborated to include condensed milk and also ginger and other variants of the drink can even include an egg yolk and cinnamon. One characteristic which is always a constant though, is it is served cold and often over broken ice. It was a popular drink among members of the Spanish Legion and was often served in bars where they were posted.
Leche de Pantera, Carrer de la Mercè 30, El Gótico
Although this drink is associated with Hispania in general and not just Barcelona, it is however incredibly popular among locals and visitors alike. Sangria normally consists of red wine, chopped fruit, a sweetener and a small amount of brandy. Chopped fruit can include orange, lemon, lime, apple, peach, melon, berries, pineapple, grape, kiwifruit and mango. A sweetener such as sugar or honey is then added next and finally a dash of brandy, although some prefer to miss this and add lemonade, instead. Always served chilled (sometimes for up to a few days), this is a great summer drink.
Casa Lolea, Carrer de Sant Pere Més Alt 49, El Born
La Alcoba Azul, Carrer de Sant Domeneq del Call 14, El Gótico
Although traditionally used for medical purposes, Vermouth’s true claim to fame is as an aperitif. Historically there were two types of the drink – sweet and dry – although its manufacturers have sought to accommodate more drinkers by adding different levels of these. A popular drink across the world, it has recently made a comeback in Barcelona and today, many of the young population drink it. Served on the rocks and garnished with slice of orange or lemon, you can chose to add soda water or not. Often served with a salty snack such as olives or anchovies, this is the perfect mid-afternoon or early evening treat.
Bormuth, Plaça Comercial 1, El Born
Colibri, Carrer de Riera Alta 33, El Raval