When you travel abroad there are many things to look forward to. You get to experience a new culture, new sceneries and to try out many exciting things. One of those perks is certainly a possibility to try authentic food and drinks.
If you choose to visit Madrid and spend your days in an apartment in the center of Madrid, you will get a unique opportunity to experience all those exciting places in Madrid. And most importantly, you will have a chance to visit some of the best places for eating and drinking. Plenty of city bars and restaurants are known to serve exquisite cuisine and the most delicious drinks you can try.
In fact, Spaniards are famous for knowing how to enjoy and appreciate their meals. And drinks are usually on the menu, especially at dinner times.
Here are the traditional drinks of Madrid you need to try.
Agua de Valencia
An amazing combination of orange juice, cava, vodka, and gin is what makes this drink so popular, ever since the 1970s when it started to be served as a part of the menu. Even though it is a Valencian cocktail, it is often on the menu in Madrid as well.
Even though widely popular around the world, Sangria is known to have originated in Spain. Eventually, it was brought to the US from Latin America, where it gained wide popularity. The main ingredient is red wine and chopped fruit. Different fruits can be added, such as pineapples, apples, pears, nectarines, berries, peaches or melon. It is a very sweet mixture of ingredients. Orange juice or brandy are also added based on the traditional recipe. For someone who does not necessarily like the taste of wine, the sweet ingredients really reduce the taste of wine and make the drink rather sweet.
It is a variety of Sangria which has recently been introduced. It combines white wine with the fruit. Again, the use of fruit in the drink can vary from place to places.
Both types of sangria are easy to make at home, unlike other alcoholic beverages or cocktails.
Cava is a type of Spanish sparkling wine. It can be white or rose. Only wines produced in the champenoise traditional method may be labeled “cava.” If a different process is used, it is labeled sparkling wine.
Cava used to be referred to as Spanish champaign, and it still is called like that among the locals. You can often hear the words champán or champaña in Spanish or xampany in Catalan. However, the name champagne has protected geographical status, so based on the EU laws it cannot be used to describe the traditional Spanish drink.
This name is commonly used for a variety of plant milk beverages served in Madrid and the rest of Spain. Based on a different type of plant used to make this beverage, you can find:
- Horchata de arroz – Rice milk
- Horchata de ajonjolí – Made with ground sesame seeds
- Horchata de melón – Made of ground melon seeds
- Horchata de morro – Made from ground calabash seeds
Different ingredients can be added into the horchata drink, such as vanilla, lemon or lime zest, water, sugar, etc. Since the selection of plant used to make the beverage, as well as the extra ingredients, can be diverse, you can find a lot of different flavored types of horchata beverage to try in Madrid.
The drink itself is also used as a flavoring added to ice cream, sweets, cookies, smoothies frappes, and even alcoholic beverages or cocktails. This drink is perfect for vegans and vegetarians.
Even though it is a universal drink, coffee is another drink worth tasting while in Madrid. Coffee has a strong taste, which is probably what most of you need in the morning to keep you going through the day, especially if it is proceeded by the sleepless night.
It is not actually simple to order coffee when you sit in a cafe in Madrid. There are many different types of coffee to choose from, and you need to be specific when ordering. Take a look at this short list of different types of coffees and the way they are called in Spanish.
- Cafe solo – Espresso. It is a standard form of coffee in Spain.
- Café con leche – This is espresso with milk. It is probably the most popular type of coffee in Spain.
- Cafe cortado – Espresso with a drop of milk.
- Cafe descafeinado – It is decaf coffee.
- Cafe con hielo – Espresso coffee with a glass of ice, a perfect beverage for hot summer days in Madrid.
Some cafes offer varieties, so you can have coffee with interesting syrups and flavors added, such as cafe con leche with hazelnut syrup.
Of course, when it comes to coffee, you can find internationally famous ones, such as Starbucks or Costa cafe, but these could not really classify as traditional drinks in Madrid.
Have you ever thought about cooking your drink? Well, if you choose Queimada, you will certainly see magic happen. The essential ingredients which include a mixture of orujo, lemon peel, sugar, and other spices are cooked. While those are cooking on the stove, brandy is poured into this mixture. It makes it stronger. There is also an interesting ritual related to reciting a spell during the cooking. Supposedly, the spell should transfer the special powers of the drink itself onto the person who is drinking it. Perfect for Halloween, don’t you think?
This is a very popular summer drink. It is a light, carbonated drink made with white sherry and lemon soda or sprite. This added flavor of lemon or lime makes this combination perfect for summer days. It is so refreshing.
Tinto de Verano
Here is another drink related to summer. The translation means wine of summer and it describes a refreshing beverage which is often referred to as “a poor man’s Sangria.” Like Sangria, it is made from red wine which is mixed with lemon juice or gas water. When making this drink at home, you can also add pieces of lemon to enhance the taste.
Clara de Limón
This drink is what many locals would describe as a girls’ drink. It is an interesting alternative to simply drinking beer. It is very refreshing and a perfect choice after a long day of walking around Madrid and exploring the city. Despite this stereotype of being girls’ drink, this drink is actually quite tasty. It is a mixture of beer with a lemon soda.
Here is another wine/soda mixture that you might have never thought about. It is a trendy drink, especially among the young people in Spain. It is made from red wine and a bottle of coke. It represents one of those cheaper alternatives of drink, and it is one that you can easily make at home. The drink has a sweet taste and tart flavor.
This is a universal drink which you are likely to have tried before, but when in Madrid, try to look for domestic brands that make this drink. San Miguel, Cruz Blanca, Aguila, Cruzcampo and Mahou are only some of those.
Although it is mainly popular in the northern regions of Spain, you can find orujo in Madrid as well. It is a liquor made from the stalks, seeds, and skins of grapes. So, the basic ingredients for orujo are the residue ingredients from wine productions. The ingredients are heated in large copper kettles in a distilling process that takes six hours or more. The drink can be served on its own or it can be a part of another drink such as queimada.
As you can see, Madrid offers quite a selection of beverages. And the choices are quite vast. For example, if you stay in an apartment in the center of Madrid, you will be close to cafes serving these delicious drinks. This means that every evening out in Madrid you could be trying a new drink. Supermarkets offer bottled versions for most of these drinks if you prefer staying in your Madrid apartment. Some of these drinks are actually quite easy to make on your own, regardless where you live. Therefore, you can easily bring this spirit of Madrid to your home. Simply prepare all the ingredients and get on with mixing. Find your perfect combination of sweet and sour, balance out the soda and alcohol to get completely custom yet traditional drink of Madrid.