Get into the party spirit with cocktails in Alicante

Watching the sunset with a cocktail in hand is a lovely start to the evening in the Alicante region.

At New Year, cocktails and special drinks made in Alicante add to the celebrations as the night sparkles with fireworks and the fizz of sparkling cava.

The Alicante region has an admirable reputation for its great wines, especially young reds, and its crisp cavas, which are much more affordable than Champagne. Cavas in Spain are certainly cheap enough to be an everyday drink as well as being used to toast a special occasion.

The region is also making a name for itself as a home for craft beers such as Xabiga from Javea and Spigha ales from Alcoy.

Cocktail lovers are also spoilt for choice. They can pick from a list of the usual suspects found around the world or enjoy a more local flavour.

A popular drink in the Alicante region is still the traditional gin and tonic, although there are many varieties of gin to enjoy.

Barman shakes cocktail in honour of Alicante

One cocktail has been invented to celebrate Alicante with a wicked flavour of orange and chocolate – two great products which are grown and made in the region.

Oranges are juicy, sweet and in abundance. You can buy a bag of oranges straight from the grower for about €2 for a carrier bag full.

Chocolate is produced in the wonderful Valor factory in the fishing village of Villajoyosa. You can visit the museum to sample the chocolates or visit one of the Valor cafes in many resorts including Denia. It is bursting with sweet and sour tastes.

To combine these two flavours to create the Alicante cocktail has to be a winner.

The cocktail was invented by Scott Holliday from the Rendezvous in Massachusetts, USA, in honour of the beach city of Alicante.

To make, simply pour the following ingredients into a large, chunky tumbler with ice.

You will need 1.5oz of Grand Marnier, 1oz of Bavaria Arrack (or another good rum), 1oz of dry vermouth such as Noilly Prat, two dashes of Angostura orange bitters (or use another orange liqueur such as Licor 43) and 2 dashes of Xocolatl Mole bitters.

Squeeze some orange peel over the drink and add a pinch of salt. Stir well and savour.

A favourite drink at any time of year, but particularly for seeing in the New Year, is the popular Agua de Valencia (which translates as Valencia water).

It is very similar to Bucks Fizz but adds sweetness by using freshly squeezed local oranges.

The cocktail is thought to have been invented in the Cerveceria Madrid in central Valencia in the 1950s.

Mixing oranges and Cava in Alicante

Rumour has it that a group of travellers from the Basque country kept asking for Agua de Bilbao, meaning they wanted the best sparkling wine in the bar.

One time, they asked for something different and Constante Gil offered Agua de Valencia as a joke. They accepted and he had to dream up a cocktail on the spot. 

 

You will need a pitcher or large glass jug. Add one glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, a bottle of cava, a large shot of gin and another shot of vodka. Taste and add sugar if the oranges are not very sweet.

Put in the fridge or add some crushed ice if you want to drink it immediately. Mix well before serving in your favourite cocktail glasses.

Agua de Valencia is now a typical product of the region along with horchata (a non-alcoholic drink made with tiger nuts) and paella.

In summer, many bars will also serve jugs of sangria or tinto de verano (summer wine). Tinto de verano is very similar to sangria but simpler to make.

Mix red wine with an equal measure of gaseosa, which is a fizzy sweet water, or add lemonade, ice and a slice of lemon.

You can also add a shot of a liqueur such as Cointreau or any orange spirit, if you wish.

In the bars you may see groups of young people – and not so young – knocking back a shot of a local liquor, often herb or aniseed flavoured.

Anis Paloma is made in Monforte del Cid made with green anise which has a fresh, dry flavour.

Local coffee liqueurs are made in Alcoy and Cocentaina, namely Hoya de Alcoy and Condado de Cocentaina.  The popularity of enjoying a coffee with a brandy led to the introduction of these alcoholic coffee drinks.

An exquisite drink made from lavender is a speciality of Elche, where it has been made since 1867.

The flowers and stems are brewed to produce a sweet liqueur called Cantueso. The drink can also be aged on wooden barrels for at least two years.

The best-known local spirits, however, are the hierbas or herbero made with herbs collected in the Sierra de Mariola mountain.

Colours can vary from transparent through to yellow, light green or red.

Herbs bring flavour to mountain spirits

Herbs used include sage, chamomile, Pennyroyal, lemon verbena,   peppermint,   fennel, anise, lemon balm, liverwort, savory, thyme, and lavender. At least four herbs must be included in the mix.

Spain-Holiday has selected four of the finest Alicante bars for enjoying cocktails.

Shao Lounge Bar

In the centre of Alicante is the laidback Shao Lounge Bar decorated in typical Indian style with a Buddha theme. There are two rooms on two floors, including a dance floor.

It is a trendy bar with more than 50 cocktails on offer, some served with exotic fruits, or Champagnes.

Shao Lounge Bar, Calle Castanos 9, Alicante.

Nic cocktail lounge

Further along this street is Nic cocktail bar. It’s another stylish cocktail bar which does a very mean gin and tonic as well. It’s a small intimate venue so it is advisable to arrive early if you do not like crowded places.

 

Nic, Calle Castanos 22, Alicante

Isla Marina

If you prefer to sip your cool cocktails by the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean, then Isla Marina is the venue for you. Isla Marina beach bar is just north of the city centre at the end of Postiguet beach and boasts some of the finest sea views in the area.

The ice cocktails are definitely worth trying in the hot summer months.

Isla Marina, Avenida  Villajoyosa 4, Alicante

El Coscorron

If you are a fan of mojitos, the in-crowd in Alicante say El Coscorron is the only place to go. It is compact, usually packed, and plays good jazz.

 

Calle de Tarifa 3, Alicante

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