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By Nancy Todd
I know you know how to order a drink in a bar. But in the Spanish culture, drinks are different and we have expert advice for you. Bars serve excellent coffee, wine, beer, soft drinks, pastries, sandwiches, and tapas. The Spanish culture offers some unusual drinks. In my neighborhood in Barcelona, there are 27 bars in a three block radius of my apartment. So many choices, so little time.
1. Absinthe – Sometimes referred to absenta, this was a favored drink by Lautrec, Picasso, Van Gogh, and the boys at the turn of the century. It is said to give a very unusual high sometimes with hallucinations. A light green or clear in color, the main ingredients were anise and wormwood. Reports from friends are to drink it slowly and only have one to see how you react. The drink today isn’t as strong. Don’t expect to paint a renown sunflower.
2. Bitter Kas – Non-alcoholic fizzy drink. With a sharp tang, it is bright red served with ice.
3. Cacaolat – A chocolate milk that comes in a bottle and is often microwaved. Really horrible.
4. Clara – Beer mixed with lemonade. Sounds disgusting to me and people love it. You will see people in outdoor cafes drinking this in the summer.
5. Fresh Orange Juice – OJ in a bar? Commonly sold, delicious and squeezed the minute you order it.
6. Hot Chocolate – A thick syrup like the consistency of chocolate pudding. Dark. Sweet. Wow! Fabulous! Drink with a spoon.
7. Martini – In Spain, a martini is an aperitif that is yellowish or brown: aka vermouth. Slightly bitter, served sometimes with orange and always with ice. If you want a martini made in a shaker with gin, etc., then ask for an American Martini.
8. Tinto de Verano – A delicious cold summer drink. Part sparkling water, part red wine. I was first introduced to this drink in Granada when it was 114 degrees. Perfect!
In older bars, people throw napkins on the floor. Hang all night with one glass of wine and no one will rush you off. If you order a mixed drink, say a gin and tonic, you will get twice as much booze. Capped drinks like beer and water are opened in front of you. Service is slow. Forget your watch. Salud.