Sipping on Sunshine: The History and Recipe of Agua de Valencia

pitcher and glass of refreshing agua de valencia cocktail
Have you ever heard of Agua de Valencia? It’s a super tasty cocktail that comes from Valencia, Spain. A bartender named Constante Gil whipped it up in the 1950s at the Café Madrid de Valencia. He made it for some rowdy Basques visiting the bar and it was a hit! It’s made with cava (a Spanish sparkling wine), orange juice, vodka and gin.

Agua de Valencia is one of those Spanish cocktails that’s usually served in pitchers. Gil was known for creating the perfect atmosphere for tertulia (Spanish for social gathering) – that’s when family and friends hang out and chat after a meal. And let me tell you, pitcher cocktails and tapas always get the conversation going!

The drink became popular in Valencia in the late 1970s and soon spread all over Spain. Now it’s one of Valencia’s most iconic cocktails and is loved by locals and tourists alike. The mix of fresh orange juice and cava gives it a refreshing and fruity taste that’s perfect for sipping on a sunny day.

So next time you’re in Valencia, head on over to Café de las Horas on Carrer del Comte d’Almodóvar 1 and be sure to try a pitcher of their most perfectly blended Agua de Valencia and enjoy some lively conversation with friends over a pitcher of this delicious cocktail!

Here’s a recipe for Agua de Valencia that you can try at home:

pitcher and glass of refreshing agua de valencia cocktail

Agua de Valencia

Yield: 1 litre

Ingredients

  • 500 ml of orange juice (freshly squeezed and sieved to remove pulp)
  • 500 ml of semi-dry cava (or champagne)
  • 50 ml of gin
  • 50 ml of vodka
  • Sugar (to taste)
  • 1 cup small ice cubes

Instructions

    1. Mix together all ingredients, including ice cubes in a 1-liter pitcher or carafe.
    2. Serve in champagne or martini cocktail glasses.

Notes

The secret to making the perfect Agua de Valencia is using freshly squeezed orange juice. Valencia is known for its amazing oranges, so it’s no wonder that Valencians wouldn’t dream of using store-bought orange juice in this iconic cocktail. If you’re into cocktails, you probably already have vodka and gin at home. Just grab a bag of juicy oranges and a bottle of brut cava (or extra seco or seco cava if you like it sweeter) and you’re all set to mix up a pitcher of Agua de Valencia!

Orange juice: Use freshly squeezed juice from sweet and juicy Valencia oranges for an authentic taste. In Spain, you can order fresh orange juice by asking for “zumo natural”. You can also experiment with other orange varieties like cara cara or blood orange.
Brut cava: This Spanish sparkling wine is made using a method similar to Champagne. Brut is dry and the most common type of Cava. Instead of adding sugar, adjust the sweetness by choosing extra seco or seco cava if you prefer a sweeter drink.
Vodka: This clear and subtly flavored liquor adds a boozy punch without overpowering the orange flavor.
Gin: Use dry gin or London dry gin for the best results. These unsweetened gins have botanicals that complement the citrus flavor.

Pro tip: After mixing up your Agua de Valencia, pop it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld. Trust me, it’s worth the wait!

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