If I would ask you to name the first five typical food products of Spain that come to your mind, which ones would that be?
Would that list include oranges?
Possibly not. But oranges are one of the most typical products of Spain.
In fact, Spain is the largest exporter of oranges in the world. And the region of Valencia is the largest producer of oranges in Spain, owning it the name ‘the orchard of Spain’. A Mediterranean climate along with fertile soil are the ideal requisites to grow oranges locally, and they are available nearly year-round.
Oranges are grown in and around Valencia since the 10th century, when they were brought here from the Moors, initially for as decoration for their palaces and mosques.
From there, oranges have moved to be one of the most important local products that also plays an important role to the local economy.
Oranges originating from Valencia are typically sweeter compared to those harvested in other regions of Spain (and the world) because they will stay on the tree longer.
So with not only plenty of oranges available most of the year but also among the best-tasting ones in the world, it was only a question of time when someone would come up with a great signature cocktail.
OK, orange juice and cava? You are absolutely right thinking of the famous Mimosa cocktail. But this cocktail goes a step further.
Literally translating into ‘Water from Valencia’ Aigua de Valencia how it is locally called or Agua de Valencia in plain Spanish is a cocktail made from Cava (Spanish sparkling wine), orange juice, gin and vodka.
The cocktail was invented in 1959 by Constante Gil at Café Madrid in Valencia. As the story goes, at the time there was a group from the Basque Country visiting Café Madrid on a regular basis. They would usually order ‘Agua de Bilbao’ referring to Cava produced in the Basque Country. However, one day a challenge took place where they asked the bartender to come up with a different drink. He suggested they try ‘Ague de Valencia’ – making it up on the spot by adding orange juice to the Cava and then pepping it up further by adding gin and vodka. Apparently, the group like the drink and continued to order it on repeat visits.
Aigua de Valencia remained a drink known only to few regulars of Café Madrid for some time but during the 1970s it further spread to other bars around Valencia and became a very popular local drink.
Have a go at this delicious cocktail. It will not only give you jibes of Spring feeling. You are likely going to plan your next trip being to Valencia in Spain whilst sipping your drink. Which I can only recommend you do, and not only for tasting the Aigua de Valencia cocktail at its birthplace.
Spain’s third largest city has lots of other attractions too. And by the way, there is another local food that was invented here: the famous paella.
To learn more what to do and see in Valencia read my previous posts Why you should visit Valencia and Why you should visit Valencia’s stunning City of Arts and Sciences.
If you want to know where to stay in Valencia, read my review of Balneareo Las Arenas Beach Resort.
Aigua de Valencia cocktail
125 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
75 ml cava
25 ml gin
25 ml vodka
a pinch of sugar to taste
orange wheel to garnish
In a mixing glass, add all ingredients and lightly stir.
Taste, and if you have used freshly squeezed orange juice and/or a very dry cava, you might want to add a splash of sugar to sweeten the drink.
Pour in a champagne flute and garnish with an orange wheel.