Agua de Valencia co*cktail Recipe & History - Valencian Foodie Blog (2024)

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Follow our Agua de Valencia co*cktail Recipe and make this famous co*cktail made from cava (Spanish sparkling wine similar to champagne), orange jus, vodka, and gin (to keep it short). As its equivalent English name “Valencian Water” sounds quite flat (if not misleading), throughout this article we will keep its more colorful Spanish name, a better way of reflecting the co*cktail’s virtues. Just to make it clear – the Agua de Valencia has not much in common with water (unless you have in mind the “firewater”).

Agua de Valencia co*cktail Recipe & History - Valencian Foodie Blog (2)

Once upon a time (precisely, back in 1932), a Café Berlin opened its doors in the heart of Old Valencia (today Carrer de l’Abadia de Sant Marti). It was run by a German-Swiss family (hence the name). Subsequently, the business was changing hands as well as its original name. In 1940, as the direct result of post-civil war laws, the name “Madrid” replaced “Berlin” (what can be understood) but in a more mysterious twist, the name “Café” was replaced by “Brewery”. Bar’s destiny dramatically changed in the ’50s when Constante Gil Rodriguez (1926-2009) took over Cerveceria Madrid.

Agua de Valencia co*cktail Recipe & History - Valencian Foodie Blog (3)

Author of the poster: Manolo Gil Labrandero, son of Constante Gil. Source:

Soon after the bar became a meeting point for bohemian Valencia. It was here, in the Cerveceria Madrid where in late 1959 Mr. Gill came up with the new co*cktail known as “Agua de Valencia”. Spanish writer Maria Angeles Arazo suggests in her book “Valencia Noche” that initially, the co*cktail was introduced rather as a joke targeting visitors from the Basque Country (Northern Spain). Its name probably represents a sort of local-patriotism-boosting answer to visitors, habitually “teasing” him by ordering the cava-based drink called “Agua de Bilbao” (while there was nothing wrong with “Bilbao” it probably did not sound “overwhelmingly” respectful in the center of the Old Valencia). Whatever it was and however it happened, the history was made – the Agua de Valencia slowly by surely was coming out of the woods to finally emerge in the late 70s as the most popular Valencian drink.

Agua de Valencia co*cktail Recipe & History - Valencian Foodie Blog (4)

As the writing engraved on the wall of the Cerveceria de Valencia states:

“Es aqui, también donde en los turbios 70 surgio la Fuente donde se besaron la luz y la noche. Fuente de lagrimas del Sol y risas de su esquiva amante la Luna. El manantial, que pronto inundó el mondo con el Aqua de Valencia plena de luz de las playas de Sorolla”

What can be (loosely) translated as:

“It is here, in the place where the light and night keep kissing each other, that in turbulent 70’s the Fountain was born. Arose from the source of tears of the Sun and laughter of its elusive lover – the Moon. Soon after, the spring flooded the world with the Agua de Valencia, spreading the light from the beaches of Sorolla”.

Note: Sorolla was a famous Spanish impressionist painter who immortalized the beauty of Valencian beaches (one of his most recognized canvases is the famous “Walk on the Beach” (Spanish: Paseo a la orilla del mar).

Agua de Valencia co*cktail Recipe & History - Valencian Foodie Blog (5)

Scene from the Cerveceria Madrid with Progreso and Pepe drinking Agua de Valencia” (painting by Constante Gil from series “Tertulias de Café”. Source: Wikipedia

Since then many versions of Agua de Valencia can be found in Valencian co*cktail bars and on the shelves in stores. They all more or less share the same initial recipe, although as we know “The devil is in the details” (in this case in the hands of bartenders and their willingness to follow tradition). The most frequently quoted recipe calls for:


  • 500 ml of orange juice. It must be squeezed from fresh, ripe oranges and sieved to remove the pulp.
  • 500 ml of semi-dry cava (or champagne)
  • 50 ml of gin
  • 50 ml of vodka
  • Sugar (usually 3 small spoons added at the end to set the taste, so the quantity depends on individual preferences);
  • Crushed ice

Some say that Constante Gil also used some secret ingredient to give this mixture a specific taste, but these may be just rumors.

After mixing in the jar, the co*cktail has to be cooled to almost frosting temperatures (so the mixture preserves its rich aromas). In larger quantities it is handed out in the jar, then after stirring with a spoon (but without shaking), it is served in co*cktail glasses with ice cubes and a slice of orange as decoration. If you want to follow tradition, use the so-called “Pompadour” (short and widely-open) glasses that according to rumors represent the shape of the breast of Marquise de Pompadour (influential mistress of the French King Louis XV).

Tips for preparation; high-quality alcohols (cava, vodka, and gin) as well as fresh, ripe, sweet oranges from Valencian orchards have a strong impact on the quality, taste, and aroma of the co*cktail (sour oranges are not suggested). Do not use orange-based liqueurs, they cannot replace fresh orange juice, and when mixed with it, they kill its natural aromas!

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Jar of the Agua de Valencia with glasses and oranges (photo taken in the Cerveceria de Valencia in 1989 by Manolo Gil, son of Constante Gil. Source: Wikipedia – public domain.

Señor Constante Gil retired from the business in 2000 and fully dedicated himself to another passion of his life – painting. His series of paintings titled “Tertulias de café” (Café gatherings) immortalizes the early-years atmosphere in the Cerveceria Madrid and its typical customers. It was a place of choice for artists, but also, writers, politicians and in general intellectual elite of Valencia. The place to socialize, to popularize new trends in art, literature and in politics (the latter mostly after “departure” of Caudillo and start of democratic changes). Many can recognize there the similar ambiance and mystics vibes known from other famous bohemian places deeply rooted in Spanish-culture: Café Tortoni (Buenos Aires) or El Floridita and La Bodeguita del Medio (Havana).

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Sadly, all attempts of Mr. Constante Gil to protect his original recipe by a patent were rejected opening doors for all kinds of mostly disastrous ideas. With his departure and arrival of the time of full-scale “commercialization”, the original recipe of the Agua de Valencia was often so modified by adding “foreign” ingredients, its name was misappropriated (all mainly for tourists) that the co*cktail lost its traditional virtues and with it – large part of its local enthusiasts.

But there is also some good news. First – the family of Constante Gill periodically checks many Valencian bars offering the Aqua de Valencia and based on their finding they recommend the following:

Café Sant Jaume, Calle Caballeros 51

Café Infanta Valencia, plaza del Tossal 3

Horchatería El Collado, Carrer d’Ercilla 13.

Agua de Valencia co*cktail Recipe & History - Valencian Foodie Blog (8)

Also, after years of abandonment and full renovation, in October 2018, the old Cerveceria Madrid reopened its doors, this time under the name of “Café Madrid”. Fortunately, according to those that still remember the Cerveceria Madrid, a lot of its old “atmosphere” came back together with (among numerous other co*cktails) the Agua de Valencia. In fact, the new administration put a lot of effort to restore the old furniture, original paintings, posters, and mirrors as well as old Valencian photos to recreate this way the spirit and vibes of the glorious past.

Agua de Valencia co*cktail Recipe & History - Valencian Foodie Blog (9)

Well, the time will show if the newly opened Café Madrid can claim back its place in the Valencian nightlife landscape as well as if the once famous co*cktail can regain its lost popularity. And the fact that behind the bar you will find one of the best co*cktail professionals, Mr. Iván Talens (an internationally recognized bartender, winner of many awards including “National Champion”) should greatly help. Together with the Chef Mr. Nacho Romero, they are expected to put back the Café Madrid on the map of places “not-to-miss” in Valencia.

It may be worth mentioning that now the Café Madrid makes part of the luxurious hotel Marqués House.

Address: Café Madrid

Carrer de l’Abadia de Sant Marti 10, Valencia

Opening hours: 8 am – 1:30 am

Cafe Madrid


Agua de Valencia co*cktail Recipe & History - Valencian Foodie Blog (2024)


What is the history of Agua de Valencia? ›

This drink, which is served in jugs and drunk from champagne glasses, was first made in 1959 by Constante Gil at the Cervecería Madrid in Valencia. María Ángeles Arazo documented in her book Valencia Noche, the story of how, Gil, a painter got involved in the hospitality industry and invented Agua de Valencia.

What is the famous bar in Agua de Valencia? ›

The area of the city most associated with Agua de Valencia is the Barrio del Carmen and if you are only going to try it once, it ought to be in a place like Café San Jaume on C/ Caballeros or Radio City on C/ Santa Teresa or 'La Cava del Negret' on Plaza Negrito.

What is the famous drink from Valencia? ›

Agua de Valencia is the city's most iconic co*cktail, the most famous of the many to be enjoyed under the light of our moon. It is a drink very of this place, and although its refreshing organoleptic qualities make it suitable for savouring any time of the day or night, it was originally an evening beverage.

What is the alcohol content of Agua de Valencia? ›

Agua de Valencia 250ml (co*cktail)

A drink that will transport you to Valencia with its unmistakable orange flavor and aroma that will accompany you at all times. Bottle: 250ml Alcohol: 15%.

Where was Agua de Valencia invented? ›

It was made for the first time in 1959 by Constante Gil in the bar Café Madrid de Valencia in the city of Valencia, Spain.

What is Agua de Valencia made of? ›

Agua de València is a Spanish co*cktail made with freshly squeezed orange juice, cava (sparkling wine), vodka, and gin. A fruity and refreshing cross between a mimosa and sangria, it tastes like Spain on a sunny spring day.

When was Agua de Valencia invented? ›

The birth of Agua de Valencia originated in the spring of 1959, at a time when a group of Basque travelers frequented the Cervecería Madrid. They used to ask for “Agua de Bilbao”, referring to the best sparkling wine in the house.

Is Agua de Valencia good? ›

Originally from the city of Valencia, this co*cktail is famous for its refreshing taste and its pleasant citric touch that has made it a symbol of co*cktail bars and Valencian culture.

What is the white drink in Valencia? ›

Horchata de Chufa, one of Spain's most famous non-alcoholic drinks, is originally from the southwestern region of Valencia. It's made from ground chufa nuts ('tigernuts' in English), which aren't actually nuts at all – they're the roots of a wetland plant called a sedge.

What do locals drink in Valencia? ›

The three drinks you have to try when you visit Valencia
  • Agua de València. One of the most refreshing Spanish beverages is Agua de València, popular among foreigners along with sangria. ...
  • Horchata. ...
  • Cazalla. ...
  • Creamet.

What is the main alcoholic drink in Spain? ›

Sangría is Spain's national drink, so of course it belongs on this list! Spain is famous for it's wine, which is the base of this drink. Lots of fresh fruit and a bit of sugar and cinnamon give this drink a sweet taste that you'll fall in love with at first sip.

What is the pink alcohol in Spain? ›

There are several varieties of Cava including blanco (white) and rosado (pink) – it looks like you'll have to try both to see which one you prefer!

Is it OK to drink water in Valencia? ›

But yes, you can drink the tap water in Valencia. It's actually more mineral rich (calcium, magnesium and potassium) than most bottled water. Furthermore, water quality data is continuously reported to the Spanish government and the EU and adheres to strict standards.

What is the drinking age in Valencia? ›

In contrast with the U.S., the legal drinking age in Spain is 18, except in the province of Asturias, where it is 16.

Is drinking in public illegal in Valencia? ›

Technically, you can drink alcohol only on authorized locals (like restaurants, bars, pubs…), that often includes open air terraces in the streets. It's not allowed to drink alcohol in public outside those premises.

What is the short history of Valencia? ›

Valencia was founded as a Roman colony in 138 BC. Islamic rule and acculturation ensued in the 8th century, together with the introduction of new irrigation systems and crops. Aragonese Christian conquest took place in 1238, and so the city became the capital of the Kingdom of Valencia.

What is the history of Las Fallas de Valencia? ›


The origin of las Fallas comes from the old carpenter's tradition who, when celebrating the arrival of spring on 19th March, used to burn pieces of wood (parots) that were used to prop up their lights during the winter.

Where did Valencia originate from? ›

The history of Valencia, one of the oldest cities in Spain, begins over 2100 years ago with its founding as a Roman colony under the name "Valentia Edetanorum" on the site of a former Iberian town, by the river Turia in the province of Edetania.

What is the history of Agua de Beber? ›

"Água de Beber" ("Water To Drink") is a bossa nova jazz standard composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim and originally recorded in the key of A minor, with lyrics written by Vinícius de Moraes. The English lyrics were written by Norman Gimbel.

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