Sunshine and Sangria! Quick – what country are you thinking of ? Yes indeed, Spain. So if you fancy lounging poolside with a drink in hand, here are a few ideas – our take on the five best drinks in Spain, in no particular order:
1. Aguas frescas
Translated as fresh waters, this beverage makes our top five list because it is so refreshing (although it can be a little too sweet for some tastes). There is no single recipe but the base is fruit, sugar, water and spices. Sugar is added at a rate of about 100g per half litre of water. The mixture is then boiled. The chosen fruit or fruit juice is added together with the spices, and the whole lot is then chilled and served on ice.
2. Granizado de café
As with the aguas frescas, this is another refreshing iced drink with many variations. Perfect for a hot Spanish day, it is somewhere between a coffee flavoured lolly and a drink – maybe the inspiration for a slush puppy? If you want a touch of alcohol, the perfect shot is Tia Maria. The sugar and water is boiled, the coffee is then added and the mixture covered and left to cool. At that point, the Tia Maria can be added, as can some cinnamon if you fancy. It is placed in the freezer until it is almost, but not quite, frozen then it's beaten with a mixer to give a sort of purée. Sip the granizado through a straw as it slowly melts.
The third of our five best drinks in Spain has a long history and amazing pedigree. Montezuma II, ruler of the Aztecs, is said to have introduced the Spanish to the drink that inspired cacaolat. The Mexican version was a mixture that primarily included water, wine, cocoa beans, peppers and spices. The Spanish heated it and sweetened it and it became extremely popular. The modern version is made by heating and stirring milk, chocolate and cinnamon in a saucepan until it almost boils. A warming winter drink, it is usually served with a sprinkle of grated chocolate on top.
A very popular drink amongst young Spaniards, it is essentially red wine mixed with cola and a dash of blackberry liqueur. Variations exist, with white wine and fizzy lemonade known as Spritzer, and there is a version that replaces the cola with orange fizzy drink. It is served 'on the rocks'.
No self-respecting 'five best drinks of Spain' list would be without brandy. Spain is amongst the leading producers of this popular after-dinner drink. Brandy is said to aid the digestion and Spanish brandy originated from the Jerez region of Spain, which gave its name to Sherry. Brandy is distilled from wine and matured for several years in wooden casks.
Have you been to Spain? Do you agree with our choices? Have you any other suggestions for the five best drinks in Spain? Let us know! And while you're getting your tongue around these drinks – and their names! – why not contact us for a Spanish course in your area?