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The Types of Spanish Liquor to Drink

A guide to the spirits that Spain has to offer

Spanish cuisine is well known worldwide for being one of the most delicious and unique.

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spanish liquor

Many people love Spanish food for its diverse flavors but overlook Spanish drinks. Spanish wines are much better known than their spirits.

Spanish liquor is a great way to explore Spanish culture and traditions while enjoying a delicious beverage.

Spanish liquor has been made for centuries and is the perfect accompaniment to Spanish food. Keep reading to learn about seven of the most famous Spanish liqueurs, from the traditional to the modern.


Spanish Liquor

Spanish liquor has a long and colorful history, dating back to the Middle Ages.

what is spanish liquor

Spain has a rich alcohol-producing culture, and Spanish liqueurs are made using an original recipe passed down for generations. Spanish spirits are often served neat or with ice, but you can also use them as a cocktail base. 


Orujo

Orujo is a Spanish liquor that locals started producing in the Middle Ages.

orujo

You make it from distilled grape pomace, the leftover skins, and the pressed seeds of grapes to make wine. This traditional drink is a clear, herbal liquor with an intense flavor that locals brew in a clay pot. 

It is also highly alcoholic, as it often gets distilled to greater than 50% alcohol. Locals colloquially call it aguardiente or firewater. You typically serve it as a digestif or after-dinner drink. 

Alternatively, you can use it to make Spanish liqueur cakes, Spanish coffee, and other traditional Spanish drinks.


Cafe Licor

Cafe Licor is a Spanish liqueur made from coffee beans and brandy.

cafe licor

It’s often served as an after-dinner drink but can also be used to make Spanish coffee and cocktails. Cafe Licor has a sweet, nutty flavor; you serve it with ice or soda.

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You can also add it to your favorite coffee drink to give it a kick or use it to make a delightful espresso martini. Cafe Licor is a fantastic coffee liqueur. 


Anis

Anis is a Spanish liqueur made from the anise plant, sugar, and often other spices.

anis

It has a sweet, licorice-like flavor, and many people drink it as an after-dinner drink. Anis is also used to make cocktails. It’s clear liquor, but some brands color it with natural herbs or spices.

Anis is a familiar spirit throughout the Mediterranean. It is transparent and drier and sweeter than other spirits like absinthe.

Anis is an acquired taste. The strong licorice flavor can be a bit strong for the uninitiated. It would be best to serve it with water or ice cubes.


Licor 43

Licor 43 is a Spanish liqueur made from lemon peel, vanilla, and other spices.

licor 43

It has a sweet and creamy flavor that goes perfectly in cocktails. It hails from the hills of Cartagena, Spain, and Diego Zamora invented it in the mid-20th century.

Licor 43 is not well known outside of Spain but is undoubtedly one of the best Spanish spirits. This spirit is perfect for adding a citrus twist to your favorite cocktail.


Brandy de Jerez

Brandy de Jerez is Spanish brandy made from sherry white wine and aged in oak barrels.

brandy de jerez

It has a sweet, smoky flavor and is often served neat or with ice. You typically drink Brandy de Jerez as an after-dinner drink.

It comes from the Jerez area of Andalusia, where the locals started distilling this liquor over 200 years ago. You still make Brandy de Jerez in a pot and age it in American oak casks.

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Only Brandy distilled in certain municipal boundaries can get labeled as Brandy de Jerez. This area is known as the sherry triangle. 

Some try to use it as a mixer, but this spirit is best to wash down a big plate of paella when served on the rocks.


Hierbas Ibicencas

Hierbas Ibicencas is a Spanish liqueur made from herbs and spices.

It’s unique in that it’s not sweet like most Spanish liqueurs. Hierbas Ibicencas is dry and herbal, with a bit of citrus thrown in for good measure. It’s traditionally served neat or with soda.

This Spanish liqueur can also be used in Spanish cocktails and makes an excellent base for Spanish gin and tonics. Many Spaniards drink it as a digestif after lunch or dinner.

This liquor hails from the countryside surrounding Ibiza and Formentera. The high-quality growing conditions produced the perfect ingredients for this unique spirit and traced its history back to the 19th century.


Palo de Mallorca

Palo de Mallorca is a Spanish liqueur made from almonds and raisins. It hails from the Spanish island of Mallorca and has a history that dates back to the 19th century.

Palo de Mallorca typically has a dark red, almost black color, and the liquid is almost syrupy in its consistency. It is an aromatic liquor, but the smell is not overpowering.

You can taste hints of caramel and wood. The flavor is sweet with just a bit of bitterness.

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Herbero

Herbero is a Spanish liqueur from the Sierra de Mariola region of Alicante.

This part of Spain is well known for its many herbs and aromatic plants, which the locals use to make Herbero. Herbero is typically between 20-40% alcohol; you can drink it straight or in a cocktail called mesclaet.

It is typically clear, but some versions are a beautiful yellow or red depending on the herbs used.


Frequently Asked Questions

These are common questions about Spanish liqueurs. 

What liquor is popular in Spain?

The most popular Spanish liqueurs are Orujo, Cafe Licor, Anis, Licor 43, Brandy de Jerez, Hierbas Ibicencas, Palo de Mallorca, and Herbero.

What alcohol is Barcelona known for?

Barcelona is known for its cava, a Spanish sparkling white wine made from Xarel-lo, Macabeo, and Parellada grapes. Cava is often served as an aperitif or with Spanish tapas. 


Final Thoughts

Spanish liqueurs have a fascinating history and are incredibly varied. From sweet liqueurs to dry Spanish brandies, there’s something for everyone.

Spanish liquor can be served neat, in cocktails, coffee drinks, or with Spanish food. No matter how you enjoy Spanish liquor, you will find something that suits your palette.

What is your favorite Spanish liquor? Let us know in the comments below.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

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Paul Kushner

Written by Paul Kushner

Founder and CEO of MyBartender. Graduated from Penn State University. He always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. His restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time he turned 17 he was serving tables, and by 19 he was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, Paul opened his first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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