APERITIFS (& DIGESTIFS)
Acqua d'Or The official name for Catalan brandy.
Spanish brandy is now mostly made in the south of the country, in the sherry-producing region around Jerez de la Frontera, but Catalunya has a longer history of production. Catalan brandy is aged in individual casks (not by the ‘solera’ blending system used in Jerez) and is usually transferred to older casks for longer maturing, resulting in a quality spirit more similar to armagnac and cognac.
Aiguardent The colloquial term for any distilled spirit.
Anis Clear aniseed-flavoured liqueur; available sweet or dry and sold in faux cut-glass bottles.
Armagnac High-quality brandy from Gascony (with a pedigree predating that of cognac by some two hundred years), long-aged in oak casks.
Byrrh Wine-based aperitif blended with medicinal plants, cocoa, and orange peel; made in Thuir, near Perpignan.
Hypocras Ariègeois Ancient tonic of wine, medicinal plants, rose petals, ginger, and spices; made in Tarascon-sur-Ariège and named after Hippocrates.
Liqueur de Violette Subtle violet-flavoured digestif from the Toulouse area.
Aigua Water. The Pyrenees have a plethora of natural springs and many brands of bottled water: Font Vella, Vichy Catalan, and Luchon are the most frequently served in Andorra.
The Principality once had its own bottled Aigua d'Andorra called Font d'Arinsal, from the ski resort of Arinsal; although stocks are dwindling fast because the bottling plant has now closed.
Many villages have public drinking fountains and tap water quality is generally excellent. However, following a contamination incident in Soldeu a few years ago, visitors are now advised to drink only bottled water. Bars and cafés are used to being asked for just a bottle of water on its own.
Con gas is fizzy; sin gas is still.
Cerveza Beer. Most beer is sold in bottles or as draught in small glasses (cañas). The majority of the beers available in Andorra's bars are standard international brews sold from the tap, particularly with regard to the French offerings. However, two of the most popular Spanish brands have stronger local connections.
Damm is the name of a Catalan brewing firm which was established in Barcelona during the late 19th century; their Estrella Pilsener is one of Spain's most popular lagers and is a real thirst-quencher; their Edel all-malt beer is a richer, more mellow brew. San Miquel is regarded as the most quintessentially Spanish beer, yet it is in fact only a relatively recent import into Spain; it actually originated in Manilla in the Philippines (once a Spanish colony), where it was brewed by Spanish monks. Production was then brought to Spain in the mid-1950s and begun in Lleida province, using water from an aquifer of the River Segre (into which Andorra's Valira River flows).
Café Coffee. With breakfast, or even just as breakfast, as a mid-morning or afternoon pick-me-up, after dinner and at just about any other social encounter, a coffee is as much of a national institution in the Franco-Hispanic world as ‘a nice cup of tea’ is in the UK. The variations in preference are wide ranging:
décaféiné is decaffinated;
café solo is a small, very strong black coffee;
cortado is basically a café solo but with a little milk;
café con leche is a more familiar standard-sized coffee with more milk (same as the French-style café au lait );
carajillo is a café solo with a nip of spirit added (usually brandy, or you can ask for a ‘carajillo de…’ and name your poison).
Horchata This is the name for various non-alcoholic, energy boosting, nutritionally rich drinks made with tiger-nut milk (chufa ) or barley milk (ordi ).
Sangría A punch-like blend of wine, spirit, fruit juice and fresh fruit in any number of local recipe variations; more of a refreshing summer drink from the Spanish coast, but readily available throughout Andorra.
Sidra Cider. Common in the Pyrenees, although the most readily available are bottled Spanish brands from Asturias.
Aperitifs & Beverages