Andalucía, the southern-most region of Spain, is well-known for its stunning historic architecture, beautiful landscape, flamenco, tapas, Iberico ham and – sherry. And if you happen to visit during one of the various local Spring festivals, including the famous Feria de Abril in Sevilla, you will invariably stumble upon the likely most popular local sherry cocktail, the classic Rebujito. Salud!
The capital of Andalucía is always worth a trip though I would recommend avoiding the simmering hot summer months with temperatures into the high 30°C. Meanwhile, Spring typically means warmth and sunshine with still mild temperatures but could be jam packed at times since this is the heights of the local festival season.
On the other hand, if you love festivals and do not mind visiting at a time the city is jam packed with people, Sevilla’s famous Feria de Abril, the annual week-long kermess is a spectacle not to be missed.
Feria de Abril started life as a livestock fair in 1847 as well as celebrating Spring in the month of April. It did not take long, however that the happening turned into a week of general fun and celebrations with lots of music and dancing taking place in the streets.
Today, Feria de Abril takes place annually two weeks after the Holy Week (the week ending with the long Easter Weekend) at Los Remedios neighbourhood. During the week-long happening, the area is turned into a small city with various streets lined with more than 1,000 casetas (stalls) where people will meet to enjoy tapas and drinks.
However, many of the casetas are private, run by local families, corporates, associations or political parties and to attend a personal invitation is needed. As a visitor, you can go to some of the public casertas, but be prepare those will be packed.
Still, visiting the Feria is worth just to see locals wearing their traditional colourful costumes, and many will be on horseback. It’s quite the spectacle and bars and restaurants across the whole city will offer Feria specials, thus there are many places outside of the Feria area for visitors to celebrate.
This year the festival would have kicked off at midnight on the 18th but as you can imagine has been cancelled for the second year.
If it had happened, one of the drinks most enjoyed during the week would have been the local favourite Rebujito.
Background: Sherry and the Rebujito Cocktail
Rebujito is a well-known drink across Spain, but the drink is particularly popular in Sevilla and the wider south of Spain, where it is also the most popular drink during the various local festivals, not just Feria de Abril.
Its popularity is not surprising. First, Andalucía is the hotspot of sherry production or to put it more precisely, sherry can be only called officially sherry when it comes from the wine region of Jerez-Xérès-Sherry. The area is also called the sherry triangle, located in the province of Cadiz between Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa María.
There are different styles of sherry, ranging from dry to sweet. The latter have lost a lot in popularity, but dry sherry continues to enjoy a steady global following. In part certainly due to tourists encountering sherry in local bars and restaurants. In fact, sherry remains a favourite aperitivo locally and often to the surprise of visitors, is typically served chilled.
For the Rebujito cocktail, only dry sherry is used, either fino or manzanilla. Fino sherry is the driest and it’s also the palest in colour. Manzanilla is a very light version of the fino, exclusively made in the area around the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
Rebujito derives its name from the Spanish word ‘arrebujar’ which means mixing. The exact way the cocktail is mixed slightly changes from region to region, but it is typically either equal parts of dry sherry (fino or manzanilla) and Sprite or 7Up or one third sherry and two thirds Sprite/7Up (or similar zesty lemonade). Over time, adding fresh mint leaves has become quite common too.
The combination of dry sherry with a sweet zesty lemonade and mint makes this drink perfect for a hot summer day.
Instructions to make a Rebujito cocktail
Fill a Collins glass with ice and mint leaves. Add one part fino or manzanilla sherry and two parts lemonade (typically Sprite or 7Up but any citrusy lemonade will work well).
Garnish with a lime and lemon slice.
If you like your drinks fizzy, you can also use a lemon or lime soda.