As the saying goes: when in Barcelona, drink like the locals do. The city’s proximity to wine vineyards has a definite impact on its favored libations, such as cava and sangria. Not sure how to navigate the drink menus in Barcelona? Make sure to have a taste of these popular spirits.
Cava is Spain’s champagne, a tasty, spright sparkling wine that comes in white (blanc) or rosé (rosat). The drink is enjoyed in tapas bars — and to boot, 95 percent of the cava in Spain is produced just 30 minutes from Barcelona, making it a local staple. We recommend you try the house cava at El Xampanyet, located in La Ribera neighborhood.
No trip to Spain is complete without sangria, which is also happily consumed in Barcelona. Made with local wine and brandy and fresh fruits, there’s nothing quite as refreshing as sangria. For one of the tastiest sangrias in the city, visit L’Ovella Negra Ramblas in the Gothic Quarter and share a jarra (pitcher) with a friend. The authentic, underground bar draws an international crowd and you get a free popcorn with each drink order.
Enjoyed on the rocks or with soda, the before-dinner aperitif is popular in Catalonia. The vermouth (vermut) in this region is special, blended with chamomile, pomelo and other herbs to give it a specific taste. Try a glass at the cosy, funky little Story bar and café in La Ribera, which distills its own vermouth and offers a variety of blends. Vermouth is the perfect starter to trying an assortment of tapas.
Located just 40 km from Barcelona, the county of Penedès is dedicated to producing wine (vi) and cava, with over 300 wineries in the small plateau. If you can make it, make a special day trip to the area. Check out this excellent overview of Penedès and the best way to discover it here. If you plan to stay within city limits but want to taste local wine, winebar Eldiset in La Ribera stocks 90 percent of its wine from Catalonia and was featured as one of the best Barcelona wine bars in Condé Nast Traveler.
Leche de Pantera
This very sweet, very boozy concoction is more of a drink popular among students, but we couldn’t leave it out. Leche de Pantera (panther’s milk) is a mix of condensed milk, gin, and ice. There are undoubtedly variations of this libation. Visit Casa del Molinero to live out your Barcelona student fantasy.
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