Drinking in Barcelona. What the Locals Drink in Catalonia’s Capital

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Vermouth with olives, and potato chips
Vermouth with olives, and potato chips

When it comes to learning about a new culture, taking a look at what and how people drink is a great indicator of what you can expect. In Barcelona as well as throughout Spain, there is an atmosphere of relaxation, or tranquilidad. People gather to drink as if it were a special and sacred occasion. Find out what the locals are drinking in Barcelona.

Coffee

Café con leche, a popular coffee choice in Spain
Café con leche, a popular coffee choice in Spain, photo via Freepik

Forget the huge slurpy sized coffees to go -you’ll stick out like a sore thumb if you’re toting your gigantic cup of joe through the streets of Barcelona. What you’ll learn about the culture just by having a coffee is that there is an ease of living. There is no rush. People order a coffee and even if they have somewhere to go, they will finish it at the café or bar and then be on their merry way. The most common coffees to order are café con leche (coffee with steamed milk), café solo (Spanish version of espresso) and café cortado which is a coffee with just a bit of milk. Cafe con leche is one of the most typical orders of coffee. It shouldn’t cost you more than 2€ unless you are at a very fancy or touristy place.

Vermouth

Red and white vermouth
Red and white vermouth, photo via @lahoradelvermut

Vermouth o’clock is what teatime is to the British. It is the hour between lunch and dinner and is usually the first drink of the day, serving as an aperitif. How do you drink vermut? It is typically served in a small tumbler over a large ice cube with a slice of orange and an olive. It is common for groups of friends to meet at a bar for the vermuteo. The drink, which is a sweet, fortified wine, is usually accompanied by small snacks like olives, potato chips, or tinned seafood like anchovies.

Cava

Freixenet, one of the most famous brands of cava
Freixenet, one of the most famous brands of cava, photo via @freixenet

Cava is Catalonia’s sparkling wine and point of pride for Catalan winemakers. The region of Catalonia is one of the only places where cava can be officially produced (similar to champagne and the region in France) and about 95% of cava is produced in the Penedès region in Catalonia. The bubbly drink may be white or rosé and is a must-drink for those in Barcelona. A popular spot among locals and tourists alike is Can Paixano which is always busy serving small tapas and flutes of the refreshing drink.

Gin & Tonic

Gin and tonic is a popular drink in Barcelona
Gin and tonic is a popular drink in Barcelona, photo via @sugarandcharm

The gin and tonics in Barcelona have come a long way from the uncomplicated mixed drink with a lemon or lime. A G&T in Barcelona is not what you’d expect. Served in a large chalice-like glass and with premium gins, you can look forward to a large, strong drink, interesting garnishes and experimental flavours.

Wine

Spain is the third-largest producer of wine in the world
Spain is the third-largest producer of wine in the world, photo via iStock

Spain is the third-largest producer of wine in the world. Its wine-making regions are plentiful and there is a large variety to choose from. Popular Catalan wine regions include Penedès, Empordà, Montsant and Priorat, which produce both white and red wines. Wine is a drink that goes well with the typical Spanish dishes you’ll find around Barcelona and most bottles or glasses are quite affordable.

Horchata

Horchata

Horchata is a refreshing drink that appears in the summer. The Spanish horchata, originally from Valencia, is made with tiger nuts. It’s also sometimes used as an alternative to milk for those who are lactose-intolerant.

We hope that your thirst will be sufficiently quenched on your next visit to Barcelona! Let us know your favourite drink to have in the city in the comments below!

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