Top 10 Drinks to Try in Madrid
It’s no news that the madrileños like to drink. But their palates can vary immensely, from very alcoholic drinks at dinner-time to soft and sweet coffee in the afternoon. Check out the top ten drinks you should try during your stay in Madrid (warning—do not try them all at once).
- Sangria: Yes, you’ve heard of it. And yes, it can be touristy (so make sure you aren’t getting ripped off when you order!) Sangria is a cool, sweet mix of red wine, a bit of brandy—and if made correctly, aged fruit. The famous Spanish drink is typical at parties and clubs, but can also go with a restaurant dinner on a warm evening. A typical sangria in Madrid sells for €3-4.
- Mojito: Though this drink is originally from Cuba, partygoers often opt to try this mix of rum, lime, mint and sugar when looking for a tasty way to get drunk fast. The drink is usually slightly more expensive than sangria and is offered at most bars and clubs.
- Caña: Ah, cheap beer! It’s the smallest beer (cerveza) that a bar will ever offer you, but it’s also the least expensive. A caña (can) of beer can cost €1-2. In Madrid, most locals order beer with their meals (as opposed to sangria or mojitos), so take a sip of one of these with your tapas and you’ll fit right in! (Almost…)
- Tinto de Verano: Oftentimes bars and restaurants do not offer sangria. Their alternative? Tinto de verano (summer wine), a wine-based drink usually diluted with Gaseosa, a type of carbonated lemonade. In fact, tinto de verano is usually cheaper than sangria (and more widely drunk among locals), so maybe you’re better off buying this drink. Your call.
- Cafe con Leche: *Disclaimer: This is not an alcoholic drink.* Bummed? Don’t be. Madrileños drink their coffee like they drink their alcohol: a lot. Try some for desayuno (breakfast) with churros con chocolate. Classic. Sugary. Caffeinated.
- Black tea: Also not an alcoholic drink. Nor is it unique to Madrid. But most menús del día offer té or coffee as finishers to wake lazy siesta-ers after a long meal. Some shops in the city offer black tea in its boldest loose-leaf form, others in perfectly acceptable, British-style tea bags. Nothing says classy like black tea and flan with caramel sauce (yum).
- Vino Tinto: Spain’s famed red wine is one of the best drinks to accompany a light lunch or dinner. And it’s probably stronger than what you are accustomed to, not surprisingly. That’s how the madrileños like it.
- Horchata: If you have never had this rice and cinnamon drink, you’re missing out. Usually made with tiger nuts and accompanied by fluffy churros, the drink is like a dessert itself—sweet, thirst-quenching, and refreshing. Markets and cafes often sell horchata for 2-4€, so try one on a hot day in Madrid and you won’t regret it.
- Sidra: Watch as your waiter lifts the cider bottle three feet above your head and pours the tart fruit drink into your glass. Sidra, a Spanish favorite, is a great accompaniment to a nice dinner out with friends. Although more prominent in northern Spain, there are plenty of restaurants and bars in Madrid that will serve you your fill of cider. Try looking for places that serve pintxos (a type of tapa), which, to the Spanish, go well with sidra.
- Coca Cola: Sound familiar? This seems to be the only soft drink Madrid serves (kidding, of course, but really does anyone order anything else?). Even if you’ve had your fair share of Coke in the past, it’s different when you pour it over ice from a bottle in the center of Madrid. We don’t know why, but this way, it will always taste better.