Where to find the best gintonics in Barcelona
The Dutch invented gin and the British added tonic, creating the classic and simple Gin & Tonic drink. But it’s the Spanish who turned the G&T into an art form, elaborating this humble drink into a bittersweet taste sensation.
How has a quintessentially British drink gained such popularity in Spain?
No one really knows how exactly but Forbes seems to think its down to summit called The Best of Gastronomy, held between 1999 and 2009 to bring together elite chefs to exchange ideas. Every night after the programme they would all supposedly go to a certain bar in the city where the gin and tonics were apparently spectacular and its said that soon after, word got out about these elite chefs preferred off-duty drink. Barcelona in particular has some of the best bars dedicated solely to the drink. Gin-lovers, take notes…
At Old Fashioned Bar you can enjoy an extensive list of cocktails, including variations of Barcelona’s drink of choice: The Gin and Tonic. The ambience lives up to the bar’s name, playing jazz and charleston and transporting you to the Happy Twenties. It’s a very small bar in beginning of the Vila de Gracia and despite it getting busy, the barmen do a good job at keeping the bar clear and maintaining a cool, fresh vibe. It’s also one of the only places in Barcelona that will give you tapas with your drinks, a tradition common in the south of Spain.
Ideal Cocktail Bar
Cocktail bars don’t get much more classic than this. Founded in 1931 by Antonio Gotarda it was one of the first cocktail bars of the city. Gotarda wanted to join together the best cocktail bars in Europe, bringing something new and fresh to Barcelona.
The style of the bar is unmistakeably English with dark wood as the most fundamental element, red leather arm chairs and spotlighting. The Ideal Cocktail Bar specialises in the classic gin and tonic, following the traditional, purist style. The bar stocks 98 different gins and 22 tonics and serves drinks with organic lemons grown in the bartenders own garden.
Recently, José Maria Gotarda, the grandson of the original founder, was selected to form part of an exclusive list of 10 barmen from 5 continents to present the new Tanqueray Ten in London.
Opened just three years ago, Bobby Gin is still fairly new but is gaining popularity thanks to its talented bartenders. Behind the bar you will find the winning title owner of “World Class Bartender” in 2011, Alberto Pizarro. One of his newest creations is a gin and tonic inspired by Barcelona’s Valetines Day, Sant Jordi. Pizarro combines Catalan gin with the vapour of rose petals, blood orange and pink pepper to create a slight pink-toned, spiced gin and tonic. On the menu at Bobby Gin you will find other such creative combinations of the classic drink.
One of the newer gin bars in town but it has certainly earned its place on the map. If you want to try a gin different from anything you’ve had before then Limehouse is the perfect place for you. The bar has a selection of over 70 homemade, infused gins of every flavour you could imagine from floral infusions to chocolate. You may raise your eyebrows at some of the flavours (roast potatoes, wasabi, rosemary and garlic) but they’re every bit as interesting as they sound.
We can’t explain it, but the roast potato gin really does taste like roast potato. You’ll have to try it for yourself.
Some places offer G&T tasting courses, like Xixibar, so if you’re a gin newbie then this would be a good way to introduce yourself the drink and be able to appreciate the different types you’ll find in bars that specialise in the drink. Elephanta bar in Gracia provides tasting notes for its 40-odd gins and even have a tasting menu of three mini gin tonics.
You really can get the full gin experience here in Barcelona.