Yes, it is as great as it sounds: an international fair of cocktails! Bartenders from all over the world are bringing you their best cocktails… with an open bar! To be able to have access to this tasty environment, you can either get an invitation (if you know your way around the area) and drink for free or pay something between 25 to 50€. Inside, there are tastings organized, and you can find drinks that you probably have never tried before, such as Japanese or Philippines rum, Peruvian pisco, and so on!
The International Bar Cocktail Fair takes place every year around mid-November in Valladolid, the capital of Castile and León, in Western Spain. The city is well-equipped with hotels and the reasonable access from Madrid via the fast train AVE makes it easy to visit. Once in the city, head towards the Feria de las Muestras. Inside you will get a bracelet, and that is your 'open sesame' to this paradise.
Some of the stands "only" offer tastings. They explain their product, where in the world it is created, the history of the drink. For instance, I learned that Peruvian pisco is very different from the Chilean. The first one has a single distillation, with no other products added, while the latter has two; it gets some water to low the alcohol percentage, and it is kept on an oak barrel. There was a tasting offered, with the different grapes that Peruvians use to make pisco (in Chile, there is only one, the Moscatel).
Also, some Philippines' rums are made with only 20% of the sugar cane -the rest of it is not apparently as healthy, so these rums have more quality than the typical Caribbean ones. This, of course, depends on the seller.
All the drinks in here are premium quality, so no hungover the next day or stomach pain. Also, the cocktails are just amazing. I tried one with sherry, coconut, and pineapple. The pineapple had been inside a bag filled with “fino” wine (a very typical wine from Andalucía), and then the whole thing had been mashed together. It was super tasty!
Of course, a classic never dies, and there was obviously a bartender making what he claimed to be the best 'piña coladas' in the world. I was convinced to believe him! What about another classic, gin-tonic, let's say? There was a company with Italian gin; they added some typical Mediterranean herbs -and accompany the drink with some typical Italian mortadella, a great touch!
These are just some of the few things I witnessed -and tasted- while visiting the international bar cocktail fair! The magic of it is that every year, it is slightly different. New products, new participants, and unlimited cocktails that would normally be overpriced can all be found right here. Salud!
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