Insider Secrets to the Most Popular Drinks in Seville
This week we have a special guest blogger who is here to tell us about the most popular drinks in Seville!
Sam Shaler is an American ex-pat who has been living in Seville for over 3 years. She first fell in love with the city in 2010 during her spring semester abroad, but after returning to the US, the memories of mouth-watering tapas and the lively Spanish way of life kept calling her back.
Sam packed up her bags in 2014 and made the big move to Seville! She now spends her time freelance-writing about all things in Spain and as a food tour guide for Food Lover Tour. She takes tourists to the best secret spots in the city and shows them the culture and customs that make España the special place that it is.
When people think of drinks in Spain, the first thing that almost always comes to mind? Sangria. Little known insider secret – sangria isn’t all that popular among locals here. In fact, after years of living in Spain I’ve never once seen a local with this fruity wine in hand! Here’s the lowdown on the most popular Spanish drinks that locals order, so you can stroll up to the bar and blend in like the Spaniard you want to be – whether visiting for a few days or living abroad for the long haul!
Come to Andalusia and you will, without a doubt, hear talk of manzanilla. This is a fino sherry (dryer and paler than most sherries) native to nearby Sanlucar de Barrameda. In fact, this is what separates manzanilla from any other sherry wine, it’s exclusive location of production. In Spain it’s the top-selling dry sherry, which speaks to its popularity. You’ll find this drink more often than not in the infamous Feria de Abril festival in Seville. There it’s served under the name “rebujito,” a drink mixed with Sprite and ice. Spaniards know the key to surviving the week-long festival is under the guise of this drink, as manzanilla on its own is much too strong to survive 7 days of partying under the Spanish sun.
Vino de Naranja
You’ll find little information online about this very sweet “orange wine” that’s a specialty in Andalusia. It originated in Huelva, but it has really gained popularity in Seville and it’s well-known among Sevillanos. It has a rather thick, syrup-like consistency due to the production process. It’s made by soaking orange peels along with aromatic sherry wine in barrels for over 4 years. To really embrace the taste, be sure to drink it as a pre-dinner apertif. It’s typically served chilled along with the first round of tapas as a warm-up for the meal to come. If you want to try some vino de naranja straight from the family that brought it to Seville and made it a household name, our Picoteo Lover Tour will take you there.
There’s an unexpected drink that’s experiencing quite the renaissance here in Spain, and that’s vermouth! Like most Spanish trends, this drink first took off in Barcelona and has quickly spread throughout the country. So much so that it’s not uncommon to find vermuterías (vermouth bars) sprinkled throughout larger cities. When most people hear vermouth they instantly think of martinis, but one glass of Spanish vermút will quickly show you otherwise. This delicious, sweet drink starts as white wine that is then fortified (translation: brandy is added) and marinated with a mix of over 40 different types of herbs. You’ll never get the exact recipe as each vermút-maker prides themselves on a unique “proprietary blend.” However, the principal herbs are typically wormwood, clove, cinnamon, lemon and anise. It’s often served with olives and an orange peel for taste and garnish. Most bars will typically offer you the choice of adding “sifón,” carbonated water, if you’d like to add a little twist of carbonation to the mix. It’s an unexpected surprise and an absolute must-try!
See more: What is Vermouth?
Tinto de Verano
Literally translated to “red wine of the summer,” this drink is the perfect go-to during those hot Spanish summer days. Therefore, it’s recommended only during late spring to early fall. It’s typically a cheap red wine commonly mixed with “Casera,” a sweet soda whose closest drink relative would be Sprite. Be careful though, Spaniards say it’s a “foreigner thing” to use Sprite in a tinto de verano mix, so best to stick with the tried and true Casera.
What’s a popular Spanish drink for the holidays? Anis! Anis, or Anisado, is a clear, transparent, aniseed-flavored liquor. Much like wine, you can order it sweet, semi-sweet, or dry. Don’t be surprised if you catch some old Spanish abuelos drinking this early in the morning! It’s commonly served on the rocks or straight up like a shot (Spaniards sip on it slowly!). You’ll also find Spaniards topping off their long meals with a round of Anis for the table! Give it a shot, and see what you think!
Gin tonic is the classic trendy Spanish drink here in Spain. The trend before vermouth took over, if you will, but that still holds true as the go-to cocktail for any Spaniard. It’s very much considered an after dinner drink, whether at a cocktail lounge or at the nearest “discoteca.” It’s no surprise that one of the world’s best gin brands is Spain’s very own Rives, an entirely Spanish family-owned distillery. Be sure to check out their special “triple-distilled gin” which is 100% made-in-Andalusia, and their flagship product.