If you are spending some time in Spain, you will appreciate the broad offer of popular alcoholic beverages. All these famous Spanish drinks can be tasted on Madrid´s terraces, restaurants, and sky bars.
Furthermore, alcohol prices in Spain are much more affordable than in most European and American capitals.
If you’re thinking that this list of Spanish drinks will just be wine and sangria, you are wrong!
Of course, these two are a must, but you will be surprised by the other lesser-known traditional drinks. Read until the end!
Table of contents
At what age can you drink alcohol in Spain?
The minimum drinking age in Spain is 18 years old for purchases and consumption of all alcoholic beverages, including wine and beer.
And no matter what the legal age is, always remember to drink responsibly.
What are the drunk driving limits in Spain?
As alcohol goes into your blood and brain, it affects your reaction times, vision, and coordination.
In Spain, there is a legal drunk-driving limit based on blood alcohol concentration (BAC). BAC can be measured with a breathalyzer or by analyzing a sample of blood.
In Spain, the legal limits for a regular driver are a blood level of 0.5 grams of alcohol per liter and a breath level of 0.25 milligrams. New drivers and professionals have to adhere to lower levels (0.3 g/l in blood and 0.15 in breath).
However, there is no safe level of alcohol if you are driving. If you drink, remember that public transport in Madrid is cheap, safe, and efficient. Furthermore, there are a lot of delicious non-alcoholic drinks that you can taste in Spain.
Famous Spanish drinks
List of the 10 most popular alcoholic drinks in Spain
I know, I know. You will not be surprised that wine is the first Spanish alcoholic drink on my list.
But it couldn´t be another way, as wine is the national drink of Spain.
You could probably not know that Spain is the second largest wine producer in the world and numerous Spanish wines have gained international acclaim. Furthermore, Spanish wines provide great value for money.
I could write a full article about this popular alcoholic drink in Spain, and I probably will.
But in this post I will just mention a few of the most famous Spanish wines which will allow you to enjoy this typical beverage in Madrid´s bars and restaurants.
If wine is the national drink of Spain, this is mostly due to its excellent red wines.
The “Rioja” wines from the Tempranillo grapes are probably the most famous Spanish red wines worldwide.
When asking for a glass of red wine, you need to know that wines are labeled according to their aging. For instance, “Crianza” wines are aged for 0.5-1 year in oak barrels, and “Reserva” for at least 3 years with at least 1 year in oak barrels.
While most visitors are familiar with Spanish red wines, there are also plenty of stellar white wines to discover.
Due to the immense variety, it can be difficult for you to choose one.
Some of the most famous Spanish white wines are Rueda (Verdejo grapes), Albariño, and Txakoli. You will love tasting a cup of white wine while relaxing on a terrace or eating delicious grilled fish or seafood.
Cava is the most famous Spanish sparkling wine. 95 percent of the total production comes from Catalonia.
Cava is cheaper, lighter, and easier to drink than Champagne. And depending on its sweetness, it can be Brut, Dry, Semi-dry, or Sweet.
Although Cava is drunk throughout the whole year, it is a must at weddings, birthdays, and Christmas.
The best way to experience the excellent Spanish cuisine is to pair it with the most famous Spanish wines.
Continuing with wines, the Spanish Vermouth requires a specific mention on my list of the 10 most famous Spanish drinks.
Spanish vermouth is a type of aromatized fortified white wine that is blended with caramel, spices, and botanicals. It is one of the most popular aperitifs in Madrid when hanging out with friends, especially on Sundays.
The most popular Spanish vermouth is sweet and red, with an alcohol content of around 15%.
This alcoholic drink from Spain is usually served neat and on the rocks, with a slice of orange or lemon.
In Madrid, the most typical vermouth is on tap, and every bar has its own homemade recipe.
Spain is famous for its sunny weather. That’s one of the reasons why an ice-cold beer is always very welcome.
Besides, beer prices are pretty affordable compared with most European capitals.
Madrid is a great place to have some beers on a terrace while trying some of the best Spanish tapas. Few things are more rewarding, especially in Spring and Summer.
Beer is one of the most famous alcoholic drinks in Spain. The country produces some unique and delicious beers, although lager is the most popular style.
Mahou 5 Estrellas (5 stars) and Estrella Galicia are two of the most popular Spanish beers, they are light and refreshing.
But, no matter which beer you choose, there are some basic concepts to properly order this beverage:
- “Caña” is a short draft beer, the smallest size available.
- “Doble” (double) refers to twice the size of a caña.
- If instead of draft, you prefer a bottle you can ask for a “Tercio” (33cl) or a “Quinto” (20 cl).
- A “Clara” is a mix of beer and soft soda or lemon soda.
Obviously, sangria is one of the most popular and renowned alcoholic drinks in Spain, and most visitors love it.
Although there are different recipes, the base ingredients are red wine, chopped fruits, and sugar. Besides, Sangria usually includes additional liquors or spirits.
This popular Spanish cocktail is served very cold and is one of the best summertime drinks for the hottest days.
In my case, I love sangria and I can´t stop drinking when I am hanging out with friends on a terrace. And when I stand up…, well, I sometimes feel a bit dizzy. It is such a refreshing drink that you can easily forget it includes alcohol.
Do not leave Spain without trying this traditional Spanish drink!
5. Tinto de verano
I have no doubt this is one of the most refreshing Spanish drinks.
This beverage is typically made up of 1 part of red wine and 1 part of soft or lemon soda.
Tinto de verano is mostly drunk in summer. It is served over ice and with a slice of lemon or orange.
If you like this famous Spanish drink you can easily make it at home, or buy it already bottled in supermarkets.
Similar to tinto de verano, the Kalimotxo is a drink consisting of equal parts red wine and coke. Being consumed in all the Spanish regions, it is especially popular among youngsters in the Basque Country.
It’s generally served over ice, and the portions of red wine and coke may vary. In theory, the mix is supposed to be 50% coke and 50% red wine but I like it 60% coke and 40% wine.
When I prepare this Spanish alcoholic drink at home, I sometimes add a few drops of blackberry or melon liquor, delicious!
6. Agua de Valencia
Although it is not the most renowned alcoholic drink from Spain, Agua de Valencia is a quite popular cocktail among locals, especially in the Valencian region.
The direct translation in English would be “Valencian water” but, as you can imagine, this beverage has no water at all…
Actually, the main part of this cocktail is alcohol. The base ingredients are cava, vodka, gin, and most importantly, freshly squeezed orange juice.
Did you like this typical Spanish cocktail? It is perfect for a hot summer evening in Spain.
If you want to easily prepare it at home and surprise your friends, just follow the steps of the following tutorial:
7. Sidra (Cider)
Spanish Cider is a typical beverage in the northern part of the country.
It is especially popular in Asturias, which gathers 80% of the total production, and where this drink is an important part of the culture, history and tradition.
In order to produce the cider, the ripe apples are harvested from September to November. They are subsequently washed, diced, and pressed. Finally, they are left to ferment for around 5-6 months before bottling, and no sugar is added. The alcohol content is usually about 5-6 %.
Drinking cider in Spain is a ritual. It is a unique experience to observe how the waiter holds the bottle, lifts it above his head, and pours the cider into a special thin glass from a remarkable height.
This way of pouring allows air bubbles into the drink. Just a small amount is poured each time and you must drink it immediately to fully enjoy its flavor.
As you can see, enjoying this Spanish drink is a unique experience!
Especially in the northern Spanish regions there is a long tradition of making strong distilled liqueurs.
With an alcohol content over 40-50%, Orujo is probably one of the most famous.
Most locals usually drink this famous Spanish drink in shot glasses, as a digestif after a heavy meal.
This popular alcoholic drink in Spain is made from grape skins, stems, and seeds, which are fermented in vats and then distilled. And after some hours of slow and steady distillation, the orujo liquor will be ready to drink.
Although orujo is a traditional drink in Galicia, you can find it in most restaurants throughout the country.
The orujo is also the main ingredient of the famous “Queimada”, a traditional Galician punch prepared with a unique ritual to purify those who drink it.
Coffee beans, lemon peel, sugar and orujo are mixed in a clay pot and set on fire as a spell is recited. Once the flames turn blue, the flame is extinguished and the hot beverage is then shared among the participants in small ceramic mugs.
Pacharán (or Patxaran in the Basque Country) is a sloe-flavored liqueur that is almost exclusively made in the Spanish region of Navarra. Don´t worry, you can find it in most of Madrid´s bars and restaurants.
Pacharán has a reddish color and an intense fruity smell. As orujo, this Spanish alcoholic drink is usually served as a digestif after meals.
This liquor is made by soaking sloe fruits along with a few coffee beans and a cinnamon stick, for one to eight months.
Pacharán has 25-30% in alcohol content, and is usually drunk chilled or with a couple of ice cubes.
This is a unique product and one of the most famous Spanish drinks. Don´t forget to include it on your bucket list.
I will finish my list of the 10 best Spanish drinks with another cocktail. In this case, this beverage is typical of Andalusia, in the south part of Spain.
This famous Spanish drink is prepared with sherry wine (Fino or Manzanilla) and lime-flavored soda like 7up or Sprite. Add some leaves of mint and ice, and that´s all!
The alcohol content of this cocktail is not high, and is tasty and refreshing. That is why is one of the most popular drinks at the Seville April Fair.