What to drink with pintxos and tapas? – whatever you are fine with, or go by the rules?
Some time ago I had the opportunity to follow a fierce discussion between a couple of Swedes on a Facebook group I follow. All of them pledged to know what is the best Pintxos or Tapas & drink pairings… Should you eat Ibérico ham with red wine? Or what do you eat with cava? Well things got pretty rough on the forum, considering the good mannered average Swedes are quite calm, and I got a good laugh. This is more or less what they said about what to drink with pintoxs and tapas.
A : Any Spanish wine works!
B: What? Ansjovis with a Toro wine? Lamb chops with cava? Any wine works is not a good advice!
A: Ok, I´m not a connoisseur. But anything works or if not just plain water or a beer. By the way they drink white whit Saurkraut in Alsace! End of discussion!
B: End of discussion? This page is for people who want to discuss wines. Maybe you are at the wrong place?
Like in wine my opinion is, if you like it it is good! So what to drink with pintxos and tapas becomes a pretty subjective theme. Nothing is wrong or right!
Funny how some people even get better than the native locals on knowing what is what and how to combine food & drinks. The same experts probably think the best tapas & pintxos culture is the one they have experienced on a weekend at the Ramblas in Barcelona. Some 15 years ago this gourmet phenomena didn´t even exist in Cataluña. The Pintxos & Tapeo traditions are very Basque and very Spanish. Some say the best and most elegant ones are served in northern Spain, others defend the generous Andaluz style of giving free big tapas with your drinks, and some defend the capitals vermouth tradition.
To begin with let´s get some of the terms straightened out.
Tapas – yes ok of the Spanish verb “tapar” (to cover). Used to cover your glass from insects.
Pintxos – The little stick or also name for an appetizer, to pinchar (to pick or put a stick in)
Raciones – Bigger portions of tapas, pintxos or other specialties
Montadito – A little bocadillo or bread with something in between
Canapé – A very small tapa, can be of for example cheese or ham
Aperitivo – Aperitivo is served before a meal usually enjoyed around 12h. Not necessarily a tapa but yes something to drink. A caña, a glass of red or a vermú.
Vermouth – originally from Turin, is an aromatized wine, a type of fortified wine flavored with various botanicals
Caña/doble/pinta – The cold foamy beer served in small glass. If it a double it is called doble. Pinta yes that is a pint.
Chiquito – Poteo – chiquiteo – Chiquito is a very small glass of wine you use in the Basque Country to do poteo or Chiquiteo – to go from bar to bar to have chiquitos and pintxos.
Zurito – A very small beer also in the Basque Country.
“De cañas” – The equivalent of poteo in the rest of Spain would be “de cañas” for a couple of beers and tapas basically.
So knowing this you are ready to go to know and tell your friends what to drink with pintxos and tapas while in Spain!
Our top ten of favorite strange and not so strange pairings!
- Dark chocolate sause with red meat and red wine!
- Ansjovis, soft cheese on a toasted sponge cake with white dry wine
- Vermouth and olives
- Beer and mild cheeses
- Blue cheese, figs and dry cider
- Young red wine with a chorizo bocadillo
- Ibérico ham with tomato, pickles, olive oil on toast with Sherry or cold Lager.
- Over riped red dessert wines with foie or duck
- Red wine with T-bone
- Cod or hake with a powerful Red expression wine
And here a list of good links in English for pairings of tapas & drinks