Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Drinks in Spain

I was feeling inspired by the recent HOT weather and the full terrazas all over the city, so I've decided to post a quick guide to some of the popular drinks you can get in Spain.

Mosto -- grape juice, but not the sickly sweet purple stuff you get in the U.S. A much lighter drink and a good non-alcoholic alternative to wine.

Tinto de verano -- a good summer drink: cheap red wine with Casera (sweetened soda water) on ice.

Sangria -- you all know what that is. If sangria is too sweet for you, try the tinto de verano.

Calimocho -- popular among high school and university kids, calimocho is a mixture of cheap red wine and Coca-Cola. Not typically ordered in bars, unless the bar offers minis (see below).

Mini -- a full liter of alcohol, usually beer, calimocho, or sangria. A good budget option for groups, but don't expect quality.

Caña -- a small glass of beer, usually with lots of foam (they add extra foam at the end). For a larger beer, ask for a doble.

Clara -- a small glass of beer mixed with Casera (sweet soda water) or lemon Fanta.

Tercio -- a bottle of beer (33 cl.)

Manzanilla -- can be one of two things: chamomile tea or fino sherry. To specify the tea, you can just ask for "una infusión de manzanilla".

Café solo -- similar to an Italian espresso, a single shot of strong black coffee.

Café (solo/con leche/etc.) con hielo -- a coffee plus a glass with ice. You add sugar to your coffee and then pour it into the glass of ice to make iced coffee.

Café con leche -- a café solo and milk, in equal parts. At most Spanish bars and cafes, the milk is whole milk; I've found semidesnatada (like 2% milk in the U.S.) at some bars, but skim milk for coffee seems to only exist at Starbucks in Spain.

Café americano -- essentially, weakened coffee. In some bars, they'll just add hot water to a cup of café solo, in others it's filtered the American way (though I've only seen that at Starbucks and other American-style coffee shops), and at others they just use powdered Nescafe.

Cortado -- a café solo with a splash of milk.

Leche manchada -- a cup of steamed milk with a splash of coffee.

Descafeinado -- decaf. Many bars use powdered Nescafe; if you want something that resembles a real Spanish coffee, ask for "un descafeinado de maquina".

Carajillo -- a café solo with spirits (usually brandy, cognac, or rum). Most bartenders will ask you to specify the type of alcohol you want and whether you want it "quemado" (burned). Some places add whole coffee beans, sugar, and/or lemon peel.

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