If you’ve never visited Valencia before, you’re in for a real treat because Valencia’s drinks and beverage scene is quite impressive. While Valencia is famous for its refreshing horchata and fruity Agua de Valencia cocktail, there are many more delicious drinks to try. Here are the top 10 drinks in Valencia that you cannot miss.
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1. Horchata de chufa
Sweet, refreshing and vegan-friendly, horchata is Valencia’s flagship drink. It can be served in liquid form, as granita, or mixed. While it is mainly associated with hot summer days and Las Fallas, it can be found in specialist horchaterias throughout the year, even during the colder winter months.
Horchata is made from chufa, a tuber that is primarily cultivated in the fields of Alboraya, a village a few kilometers north of Valencia. You might know it as earth almond or tiger nuts (funny, I know).
Horchata is usually accompanied by fartons (yes, seriously), an elongated confectionary glazed with sugar. Fartons were specifically created to be dunked in this delicious milky drink and don’t taste like much by themselves.
- Easy Horchata Recipe: How to Prepare Tiger Nut Milk At Home
- Where to Find the Best Horchata In Valencia
2. Agua de Valencia
Agua de Valencia is a delicious pitcher cocktail and the perfect pick-me-up after a long day of work or sightseeing.
But don’t let its innocent name fool you. This cocktail doesn’t contain any water and is rather strong. The recipe calls for sweet Valencian oranges, cava (local sparkling wine), vodka, gin and sugar, resulting in a sweet refreshing drink that is enjoyed by pretty much anyone who gives it a try.
If you are a fan of mimosas, then ordering Agua de Valencia at one of the bars in Valencia is a must-do. Avoid purchasing the bottled stuff, unless you intend it as a souvenir.
3. Freshly squeezed orange juice
Valencian oranges are sweet, juicy, have a thin skin and barely any seeds. The locals love to eat them fresh, use them for cooking, and make freshly squeezed orange juice. So, of course, since we are talking about the best drinks in Valencia, the freshly squeezed orange juice couldn’t have missed from this list.
This juice is a popular addition to breakfast in Valencia, often served alongside coffee and pastries or toast. Many cafeterias offer affordable breakfast deals that include all of these tidbits.
However, it’s important to note that Valencianos typically avoid drinking orange juice in the late afternoon, as it is believed it may cause heartburn and even insomnia. So next time you’re visiting Valencia, try to stick with freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast, to avoid looking like a tourist.
4. Café bombón
Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in Valencia so when it comes to your daily cup of joe you are spoiled for choice. I suggest you start with café bombón. This delicious hot beverage originated in Valencia and is perfect for when you crave something sweet, creamy, and warm.
Café bombón is made with equal parts sweetened condensed milk and espresso. Because condensed milk is denser than espresso, it sinks to the bottom, creating two distinct layers.
To fully appreciate the beauty of this beverage, café bombón is always served in a small, transparent glass. Before taking a sip, stir with a spoon to gently mix the two layers. This creates a rich and indulgent drink that always makes me think of liquid cake.
Cremaet is a sweet concoction made with layers of burnt liquor and espresso, flavored with cinnamon, and lemon peel. It’s the perfect way to end pretty much any meal on a sweet note, although traditionally it accompanied the esmorzaret.
Esmorzaret, a beloved and popular tradition in Valencia, is essentially a second breakfast that has been fashionable in the city for a long time. It is similar to the almuerzo people have throughout Spain, but with a local twist and was embraced by Valencianos long before brunch became popular in the city.
Many bars in Valencia offer the traditional esmorzaret, which consists of a bocadillo (a crusty bread sandwich) served with lupins, olives, pickles, or peanuts. This is typically accompanied by a drink and topped off with a cremaet, the ideal sweet ending to this hearty meal.
6. Café del tiempo
While in other parts of the world, you might order a frappe to cool down on a hot summer day, in Valencia, café del tiempo is the drink of choice.
Café del tiempo is simply a hot espresso with a glass of ice on the side, typically containing a large ice cube and a slice of lemon. So simple! No added sugar, no flavorings, no fuss.
Interestingly, the name del tiempo has nothing to do with the weather. Whether it is chilly or scorching hot outside, if you want a coffee with ice, this is how you order it in Valencia. Oh, and you have to pour the coffee over the ice yourself, with a swift wrist motion. However, be warned that this may sound easier than it is.
7. Blanco y negro
Blanco y negro (black and white) is a drink, although it can also be savored as a dessert, made with coffee and white ice cream. It is the perfect sweet and refreshing treat to enjoy on a terrace during the summer.
Usually, blanco y negro is prepared using coffee granita, which is essentially espresso that’s initially frozen and then blended, preserving the full strength and flavor of the coffee.
The coffee granita is then topped with a dollop of sweet cream ice cream. If sweet cream is too bland for you, you can also order your blanco y negro with vanilla ice cream or leche merengada ice cream (my favorite!). Absolutely delicious!
8. Utiel-Requena wines
The Utiel-Requena wine region is situated about 75 km inland from Valencia and it mainly produces red wines. Although not very well-known outside of Spain, it is actually one of the largest and oldest wine region in the country, with more than 2,700 years of history. So you definitely need to try the local wines when in Valencia.
The native grape variety is called Bobal, which is highly resistant and productive. Wines made from this grape tend to be fruity, with high acidity and low alcohol content, resulting in a refreshing and light-bodied drink. Other red grape varieties such as Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Merlot are also grown in the region and are often mixed with Bobal.
In Valencia, you can find Utiel-Requena wines pretty much anywhere, from supermarkets to restaurants. These wines are often very reasonably priced, of high quality and a great option when dining out.
Mistela is a sweet liqueur that’s created by mixing concentrated freshly pressed grape juice (or young wine) with wine alcohol that has a minimum alcohol content of 13 degrees. It’s a perfect drink to enjoy either as an aperitif or dessert.
Although mistela retains the grape aroma, it isn’t a fermented drink. Therefore, even though all of its ingredients are made from wine, mistela isn’t considered wine itself.
Valencia is one of the largest producers of mistela in Spain, with a history that dates back thousands of years. Mistela is considered a digestive drink and can be made using white or red grapes, although white mistela is more common in Valencia.
10. Craft beers from Valencia
The craft beer scene in Valencia has been booming in recent years, with a variety of local breweries and taprooms popping up throughout the city. So instead of reaching for a commercial brand, I highly encourage you to try a locally brewed craft beer instead.
One of the most popular Valencian breweries is Tyris. They offer a variety of craft beers, including an award winning brown ale called Paquita Brown and my favorite IPA, Au Yeah! If you’re in the Old Town, make sure you check out their Tyris on Tap bar for a cold beer and snacks.
Other Valencian craft beers worth trying include La Socarrada which is a unique honey and rosemary-infused beer and Er Boquerón, the world’s first beer made with seawater. They are both produced in Xativa, a nice town you can visit on a day trip from Valencia.
If you like unique beer flavors, also try Bounty, made with chocolate nibs and coconut, and Génesis, made with cherry blossoms and rice.
The drinks mentioned above offer a diverse range of options that cater to all tastes and nicely complement the traditional food of Valencia. Local wines, for example, are an excellent match for the city’s seafood and rice-based dishes, such as paella, while tapas are ideally complemented by locally brewed craft beers.
Whether you prefer a refreshing glass of horchata or a sophisticated cocktail, Valencia has a beverage that will take your culinary experience to the next level. So go ahead and treat yourself a little, discover your favorite Valencian drinks and dishes, and enjoy.