Depending on where you are, you'll see that the concept of tapa has different meanings. You might get a delicious tapa with your drink for free or you might get nothing at all. The more you head south, the more likely is that you would have lunch just with the free tapas that would go with your drink.
In some places you can even choose from a menu of tapas at no cost. In the North "pincho" or "pintxos" is the right word to define the tiny amounts of food you can have with your drink. Don’t be surprised if you find spectacular gourmet bars where you can pick up as many as you like, but don’t forget to pay for them!
Now we detail some of the most usual drinks at tapas’ time and how to order them as Spaniards do:
In Spain, people usually drink beer in small glasses (cañas), but there are many other formats you can order if you want to look like a real native:
Together with well-known brands, nowadays you can find hundreds of crafted and local beer brands in small productions. It's a great time to taste all the nuances of the fermented barley juice.
Spain is the largest producer of wine in the world. This means it should be easy to enjoy many great wines at a very convenient price.
You will have the chance to order "una botella" (a bottle), "media botella" (literally half a bottle but it is how we call a 0,375l bottle) or "una copa" ( a glass of wine) at the restaurant.
The Vino joven (young wine) has been harvested and bottled the same year. It has not been in contact with oak so it’s a short-lived wine. In traditional vineyard areas young wine is usually a very good and inexpensive choice. If you prefer to try more mature and complex wines, ensure you choose rightly the food in a good match . This is what we call "maridar".
If you want to learn and enjoy more about wine, taste the different Spanish D.Os: Rioja, Ribera de Duero, Rueda, Ribeira Sacra, Cigales, Toro... there are 62 different ones. You can ask the waiter for "un Rioja", "un Rivera", "un Toro"...
Another well-known appellation of origin wines are Sherry- Jerez -Xerry- also called "generosos" (generoso or liqueur wines) whose aging process is quite different from any other.
Just to start because the wine world is huge, you will also find sweet wines, cavas, txacolis...
There is also a "sin" option for wine fans. It is called "mosto", white or red, and it is grape juice before fermentation, 100% alcohol free.
Vermouth or vermú:
The vermouth is so traditional at appetizer time that this period of the day is also known as "vermouth time".
You'll find draft and bottled vermouth, some of them even D.O. wine based.
This lightly alcoholic beverage made from apple juice can be found all over Northern Spain, especially in Asturias and the Basque Country.
However it is easy to find elsewhere in any of its variants:
You can also have non-alcoholic drinks for your tapa but you won’t find too many flavors to choose. Many bars don’t have anything but lemon, orange (fuzzy or not) and cola. You can also find some cold teas and juices (remember, "mosto" is the name for grape juice).
Other available options to drink:
Sangria, calimotxo, rebujito (white wine and lime-lemon soda), lemonade (Watch your drink! Sometimes wine is the main ingredient in our lemonade)... there are many possibilities often linked to specific geographical areas. We invite you to order and try them all with moderate drinking!
(Things a Spaniard would ever do)
There are a couple of facts that betray yourself as a "guiri" (“a funny term for tourists walking our streets although it is not offensive).
You will barely find an Spanish drinking sangria. It is a drink reserved for family meals at home or summer barbecues. If you want to demonstrate your local knowledge ask instead for a "tinto de verano", much more popular as well as sugar free.
Paella is consumed essentially at noon, you will rarely see Spaniards eating it at dinner. it is too heavy for us at night. If you want to sleep well, ask your waiter for an alternative choice and discover something new!
Besides, if you want to have a real paella, we recommend that you go to an "arrocería", a restaurant specialized in paella and other rice dishes. You will feel the difference!
We use the Word "curar" (heal) to talk about the process that prepares your dish or ceramic pot for new uses.
After having your Tapa to go! you can use your ceramic piece both cold and hot. But first, before placing it right inside the oven or over the fire, follow these steps, same as my grandmother used to do!:
Every pore will be closed along the process and the piece will last generations within your family.