This blog post was originally posted on March 18, 2015, and was updated on September 24, 2017.
Having your basic vocabulary down in a foreign country is key. And if you’re a foodie like us, you have your priorities! Here’s your guide to ordering a drink in Spain.
We drink a lot of beer in Spain. In fact, despite being one of the top wine producers in the world, we still manage to drink a lot more beer than fermented grape juice. One word you will hear everywhere when traveling around Spain is una caña, or a small draft beer—usually around 200 ml. Futhermore, the genius behind this is that your beer will always be extra cold. But, if you’re extra thirsty, ask for un doble. When it comes to ordering a drink in Spain, this is one word you won’t want to forget!
Not in the mood for a draft beer? Get a mediana, a bottled beer. This is also referred to as un tercio, a third of a liter. Many Spaniards opt for bottled beers as the night draws on. Which is a good idea as these are harder to spill in a crowded bar!
Also known as un quinto, a fifth of a liter—these little bottles of beer are the cutest! And also practical, too, during the hot days of summer.
Una Cerveza Sin
A beer without is the literal meaning of this cool alternative drink. It refers to a beer with no alcohol, simple as that!
They say this is becoming popular in North America, but it’s something that has long existed in Spain. It is a beer mixed with lemon soda or lemonade. It is also a refreshing, delicious and the perfect pre-lunch drink as it won’t leave you hazy. Order it muy clara if you’d prefer more lemon than beer.
This word is used in a few different situations, whether it be after dinner when you’re offered a chupito of some liquor, usually on the house, or at a rowdy bar when a round of chupitos is, for whatever reason, a necessary choice. The word means shot so when ordering a drink in Spain, use it at your discretion!
You may know your colors in Spanish, but they aren’t going to do you any good when ordering red wine. Of course, bartenders and waiters will understand un vino rojo, por favor, but the correct way to say it is actually vino tinto. And when in Barcelona, you can try your hand at Catalan with a bit of vi negre, red wine is actually black in the local language! Of course one special wine, a fortified wine is one of our favorites. Vermouth is unmissable while visiting Barcelona. Join our lovely guide Victoria as she tells you how to enjoy it like a local.
Tinto de Verano
Sangria is great, but you will find that a lot of locals are drinking something called tinto de verano, which is red wine mixed with soda. Probably not your nicest wine, but it sure goes down well!
A copa can refer to many different things. As far as ordering a drink in Spain goes, una copa de vino is a glass of wine, and un bar de copas is a cocktail or mixed drink bar. If you go out for una copa, it usually means you will go have a mixed drink, such as a rum and cola or a gin-tonic. It’s important to note, it’s not called a gin and tonic!