Ratafia has become a popular liqueur, beyond its previous status as a rural courtesy liqueur. For many years, this new green liqueur with herbs took centre stage towards the year’s end, with the fairs of Santa Coloma de Farners and Besalú; then there was a gap until June, when importance was placed on the herbs of the formulation. Finally, homemade and craft liqueurs have gradually made a place for themselves in the world of fine cocktails. They have grown and become popular. A brandy and a gin have even been inspired by the aromas of ratafia. The junipers also express the landscape beyond the mandatory gin.
The number of microbreweries is growing and, far from standard products, they also seek genuine flavours to offer a part of territory, to express its history and its landscape. The plantations and production of hops, indispensable for making beer, are also on the increase. The offer of craft beers is no longer limited to specialist breweries, but has been extended to bars and restaurants.
In addition, new fermented beverages made from the juice of Girona apples are an option for those who prefer alcohol-free soft drinks.
Nut is a London Dry Gin, four times distilled, with a predominance of botanicals from the Empordà that evoke the Mediterranean. Made by a micro-distillery founded by four friends in 2012, its flavour has notes of juniper, rosemary, angelica, green walnut, olive leaf, lemon and orange, with a citrus finish it owes to coriander.
Producer: Arbenig 2012, SL
Gin Volcànic, made by Beveland Distillers and Ratafia Russet, has all the spirit of La Garrotxa. It is the result of blending three different types of aguardiente, distilled through three maceration processes: the traditional Ratafia Russet process, another using juniper with botanicals, and one using green walnuts. Because of the presence of volcanic stone in the still, it can be distilled at a lower temperature.
Category: Unique specialities with alcohol
Producer: Beveland Distillers + Ratafia Russet
Ecolácticos Peralada, a member of the Mas Marcè group, has decided to make a totally vegan soft drink. Its Mediterranean fruit juice kefir is a fermented product made with water, lemon juice, figs, dates, agave syrup, sugar and kefir ferments from organic farming. It has been designed as a refreshing, healthy alternative drink, especially enjoyable in summer.
Category: Unique specialities, alcohol free
Producer: Recuits de l’Empordà, SL
100% natural single variety apple juice, without additives, sugar or extra water, made exclusively with Granny Smith apples, from Poma de Girona (Protected Geographical Indication of Origin). The third generation of the Mas Saulot family, owners of Mooma (Montgrí + Poma) grows fruit in L’Empordà, in orchards located in Palau-sator, Fontclara and Gualta.
Category: Unique specialities, alcohol free
Producer: Agroalimentària Mas Saulot, SL
Spruce syrup (pine cones macerated in sugar), an ingredient used widely in the Pyrenees, is a distinctive feature of this hand-made beer, produced in the style of the Weissbier or Weizenbier wheat beers from southern Germany. The Sanjoanina brewery began as a home brewer in the former coal mine at Juncadella, where fermentation and maturation of the beer took place.
Category: Lager beer
Producer: Cerveseria Santjoanina, SL
La Selvaseria brewery started operations in 2009, before the boom in craft beers. Selva Brutale is an amber-coloured India pale ale (IPA), with an intense aroma of peach, apricot and tropical fruit. It has a low/medium level of carbonation and the intense bitterness characteristic of IPA, which does not detract from an initial suggestion of sweet red onions from Figueres and its fruity finish.
Category: Brown beer
Producer: La Selvaseria, SL
This beer, fermented with cava yeast and flavoured with organic grape must from L’Empordà, is another outstanding product from Blanes, where Pep and Kevin Andreu created Marina, the first sparkling wine to be made in Catalonia, in 2010. It is not filtered or pasteurised and the flavour of hops, tropical fruit, peaches and apricots can be fully appreciated.
Category: Unique specialities, beer
Producer: Brewers Brothers, SL
Member of the research team of El Celler de Can Roca, Girona
Ratafia Association of Santa Coloma de Farners
Brewer’s specialist at Club Cerveser Can Navarra, Bordils
Beer sommelier at the El Celler restaurant at the Can Roca, Girona
Sommelier, gastronomic writer and pharmacist