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A guide to Spanish beverages

Category : Food & Drink, Spain, Travel · by Jun 11th, 2014

Did you know that sangria is not the drink of choice in Spain? Want to know what is? Check out these tips on what to drink while in Spain!


Kalimotxo – This distinct drink is not for everyone. A kalimotxo [kah lee mo cho] consists of equal parts of red wine and coke and is served with plenty of ice. A young invention, the spelling of the drink hints to the drink’s origin as the ‘x’ is common to the dialect spoken in the Basque region of Spain, Euskara. This cool drink is popular among young people and those who wants to save a buck but have a good time.

Vino blanco – White wine

Tinto de verano – What could be perceived as an insult to wine connoisseurs, the tinto de verano is a refreshing drink especially appreciated in the hot Spanish weather. It’s a mix of red wine and soda with a bunch of ice. Not necessarily a sweet drink, you often have the choice between a lemon soda, or a less sugary option, casera, which is like club soda.

Tinto de verano

Tinto de verano

Vino rosado – Rosé, not that common in Spain.

Rioja cork

You won’t find twist-off caps on a bottle of Rioja, only corks!

Vino tinto – Simple enough, red wine. When you order a vino tinto at a bar they’ll probably bring you the vino de la casa, house wine, but often you’ll be given a choice. No matter what, one of the choices will be a Rioja [ree OH hah], wine made in the northern Spanish province of La Rioja. World renowned wine and rightly so as it’s absolutely delicious, you’ll surely enjoy a glass of Rioja.

Sangria – Although immensely popular, sangria is rarely ordered by locals and a good way to spot a tourist in a bar. Unless you want to be charged more for being a tourist, stick with a tinto de verano.


Caña – Small glass of beer.

Doble – A doble, or double, is as the name suggests, double the amount of a caña.

Jarra – Literally translated to ‘jar,’ this is the word for pint.

Lata – Can of beer

Mini – Ironically named, a ‘mini‘ is a large plastic cup that can contain just about a litre of drink. This is common at Spanish festivals and it isn’t only for beer.

Una clara – A clara is a beer with a bit of lemon soda added to it, no ice. This drink is great for beer-lovers and beer-haters alike and it’s extremely refreshing!

Tercio – A good ol’ bottle of beer.

Tubo – Again as the name suggests, a tubo is a glass that is shaped like a tube. Not only for beer and frequently used for cocktails in clubs.

From left to right: una jarra, un tubo and un doble

From left to right: una jarra, un tubo and un doble

Common Spanish beer companies:

Mahou signage is all over Spain

Mahou signage is all over Spain

Alhambra – Pale lager from Granada

Cruzcampo – Originated in Seville, now part of Heineken

Estrella Damm – Pilsner lager from Barcelona

Mahou/San Miguel – Most common of the Spanish beers, from Madrid

Tropical – Brewed in the Canary islands


Chupito – Translation: a shot. It’s often customary for a restaurant to give you a free chupito at the end of the meal to aid digestion. This free shot is usually pacharán, a berry liqueur, or licor de hierbas, a herb liqueur.

Copa – This is the word you use to order a cocktail, una copa.


Café solo – Translation: Coffee only, and that’s just what it is, a single shot of coffee.

Un cortado

Un cortado

Café con hielo – Coffee with ice.

Café con leche – An important part of ending a meal, coffee with milk. In Spain the café con leche is essentially equal parts and often served in a glass.

Cortado – A shot of espresso with just a bit of milk.

Manchado – Literally translates to ‘stained’. A manchado is primarily milk, that is ‘stained’ by a bit of coffee.

Aquarius Limón

Aquarius Limón

Aquarius – A tasty a refreshing drink that claims to induce energy. It’s usually found in two flavours, orange and lemon and it’s the perfect thing for sport or to cure a hangover.

Zumo natural – When going out for breakfast in Spain order a zumo natural, natural juice, along with your coffee. Almost all Spanish bars will have a machine that produces fresh orange juice and it’s delicious! (The ‘z’ of zumo is pronounced ‘th’ in Spain!)

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Hi, I'm Hannah, a London-based copywriter and blogger. I am a Canadian ex-pat whose interests range from food and travel, to ultimate frisbee, and sailing. As an avid traveller, food enthusiast, and sports-person I seek to write cutting-edge articles about athletes and sporting events, as well as travel destinations, tips, and culinary havens. If you like my writing and want to get in touch about freelance work or other job opportunities, don't hesitate to contact me!