Torremolinos Info - Alcohol

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Bars

Because of the warm weather you will probably be drinking outside on the terrace most of the time. The Spanish normally just sit down and wait for a waiter (cameraro) to serve them. It's not usual in most places to go to the bar, though it's not a problem if you do and in touristy bars and night club type places it may be the norm. If you do buy at the bar and then take your drink outside, please make sure that you are sitting on the right terrace. It's not polite to use a table or borrow a chair from another bar.

It is also normal to pay at the end rather than for every drink but, again, it is fine to pay as you go along if you wish and, again, in some places it is the norm.

Best way generally is to sit down and wait (it may take a few minutes but chill out - you are on holiday). When the waitress (camarera) arrives you can mostly ask for your drinks in English but generally they appreciate an attempt at Spanish.

Here are a few useful words for use in bars. For some I have attempted to show the Spanish pronunciation but if you have a smartphone you can use that to hear the words spoken and that is a lot better. See further down for specific drink related words. A wine glass is a copa (coe-pah) and a water glass is a vaso (bah-sew). Ice is hielo (yellow), a straw is a pajita (pah-hee-tah), a beermat is a posavasos (poe-sah-vah-sos) and an ashtray is a cenicero (sen-ee-sair-oh).
Toilet paper is papel higiénico (pah-pel ih-hee-en-ic-oh) but it's probably simpler (and wiser) to always have some tissues with you.

Beer

There are many words used for measures of beer around Spain but only a few are used here. Most locals drink small draught beers rather than pints, probably because a pint warms up before you finish it.

A small draught beer, close to a half but 250ml, is a caña (can-yah) and a pint, actually 500ml, is a pinta (pin-tah). Some bars have lined glasses but the head varies significantly and you will make yourself look silly if you ask for a top up - you are not in the UK.
You may hear the word cañita; this really means a measure smaller than a caña but here it is usually the same thing as a caña, though some bars sell 200ml measures.
We still hear people asking for a cerveza; that's like going into an English pub and saying, "A beer please". We also hear "a cerveza grande" and "a cerveza big". Try can-yah and pin-tah. Simpler in the end.

The beer is almost all lager and by far the commonest brand here is San Miguel (That's Saint Michael, the patron saint of Torremolinos). Some bars have Amstel on draught - most bars only have one draught beer. The exception is the more tourist bars where you will find English keg beers and Guinness on tap. Some of these also sell a keg cider, cidra (see-drah). Draught beer is cerveza de barril (sir-vay-sah day bah-rill) by the way.

Bottled beers are very popular with or without a glass. You are likely to find Estrella Galicia, Alhambra, Cruzcampo, Mahou and possibly a few others. There are also a few bars that sell foreign beers (mainly Belgian) and Spanish and foreign craft beers. Most bottles are a third of a litre though some places sell 200ml bottles or quintas (kwin-tas) usually as five or six in a bucket or cubo (koo-bow). A bottle is a botella (bot-ay-yah. Should you want a shandy, it is cerveza con gaseosa (gah-see-oh-sah). Some bars also sell bottles of non-alcoholic beer or cerveza sin alcohol (sin alco-ol) or just cerveza sin.

If you are interested in some more interesting beers then you could try one of the bars on the map. Some specialise in local craft ales, some just have a few and others have good imported beers, often many from Belgium.

Map of Craft Ale Bars

Spirits

Spirits are often ordered by name and you will generally find that local ones are cheaper than imports. Spirits are almost always free poured - you are unlikely to see an optic - and are normally about an English treble so take care and don't ask for a double gin or a large gin as you might get more than you bargained for.
Common local brands are Larios gin and Soberano brandy. Vodka is likely to be Smirnoff, Absolut or a generic supermarket brand. The whisky is normally import but is mostly brands made for export that are rarely seen in the UK. Rum is very popular and there are lots of brands. Just ask for what you want or take a look at what is on the shelves behind the bar.
While most spirits are the same as in English there are a few that are a bit different; Rum is ron, brandy is often coñac (con-yak) and vodka is pronounced bodka.
For mixers just use English; they are mainly made by the same companies as in the UK. You will hear gintonic said as one word but 'gin and tonic' works just as well.

Wine

For wine most people drink the house one but you do not need to say so; just ask for wine. The commonest here is Rioja (ree-ock-ah). Normally you can buy a glass but in some restaurants, as in the UK, fancier (more expensive) wines are only sold by the bottle.
A glass of wine is a copa but mostly you can miss that out and just ask for red wine or vino tinto (beano-tin-toe), white wine or vino blanco (blank-oh). You can add seco (sec-oh) if you like to ensure that you get dry white wine. If you prefer a less dry wine then add semi-dulce (semi-dull-say) though not so many bars stock it. For a rosé wine ask for vino rosado (roe-sar-doh). Do not ask for rosada; it is fish.
There is also a local one called Málaga wine. It is sweet and fortified, somewhat like sherry. Generally made from Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel grapes. It is rather an aquired taste if you are a dry white wine drinker but is something worth trying when visiting the area.
Sangria, while popular with tourists, is rarely drunk by Spanish locals. Tinto de verano is more popular. It is commonly equal parts of red wine and gaseosa (soda water and other carbonated drinks). The preferred mixer is a mild-flavored, low-sugar, lemonade such as Casera. Tinto de verano is now available bottled and other flavours are available.

Soft drinks

The usual soft drinks or refrescos (ref-res-coes) are available with Coca Cola and Fanta probably being the most common. A few alcohol-free beers are available (cerveza sin alcohol) and fresh orange juice, tea and coffee are available in many bars. Orange juice is a bit of a mouthful; zumo de naranja natural (zoo-mo day nah-ran-hah gnat-oor-al).
For English style tea with cold milk in a separate jug ask for té negro y un poco de leche frío en una jarrita separada (tay neg-row ee un poe-coe day letch-ay free-oh en oo-nah har-ee-tah seper-ard-ah). Now that really is a mouthful but without it you are likely to finish up with a herbal tisane and hot milk.

You may have been warned to avoid ice - Forget it. Most bars have the ice delivered daily and it is as safe as in the UK. Water in bars is normally bottled but tap water here is safe and perfectly drinkable. It might have different levels of minerals to back home but you get the same effect by travelling from Yorkshire to London.
Water is agua sin gas (ag-wah sin gas) for still water or con gas for the fizzy stuff.

Coffee

I have made this a separate section since ordering coffee can be a complicated process.
Spanish coffee is roasted to be full and rich, without over-roasting. Some coffees are roasted using the Torrefacto process, where some beans are glazed with sugar during roasting. This creates a deep, dark coffee full of flavour. This is uniquely Spanish. Some visitors find the coffee too strong or too bitter but it does depend what you are used to and there are so many ways of ordering coffee that you should be able to find a style that you like.
Coffee styles
This is a picture displayed in the famous Café Central in Plaza Constitución in Málaga. The words used are a little different in Torremolinos but it does give you an idea of how complicated ordering can be. I'm not trying to put you off so here are the main styles that you will need. The two most popular are:-
Café solo (kafay so-low) is an expresso. You can also order a larger one as a café doble (doh-blay).
Café con leche (kafay con leh-chay) is half and half coffee and hot milk.
Here are a few others:-
Café mitad (mee-tad) Basically a café con leche.
Café sombra (som-brah) A weaker version of café con leche.
Café nube (noo-bay) A very very weak version of café con leche. Almost a leche con café.
Café Americano (ameri-car-noh) A café solo with extra hot water.
Café cortado (cor-tar-doh) A café solo with a touch of milk.
Café con hielo (yellow) A café solo with a glass of ice. Add sugar to the coffee if you us it and then pour it over the ice. Very refreshing in summer.
Café carajillo (ka-rah-hee-oh) café solo with added brandy or other spirit. A popular one is coffee with anise.
Café bonbón coffee made with sweetened condensed milk. Sounds disgusting but may be nice - I've never tried it.
The smaller versions can often be orered in a cup, taza (tah-zah) or glass, vaso (bah-sew).
If you want decaf then ask for a descafeinado de maquina (dess-kaf-ay-nar-doh day mack-ee-nah). If you just ask for a descafeinado you will probably get a sachet of instant coffee and a cup of hot milk.
If you don't use sugar a sweetener is sacarina (sack-a-ree-nah).

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Last updated 11th August 2019