Origins of recipes from Spain tend to be folklore, and not much is available that offers factual information. The story behind "The Water of Valencia" holds easily as truth to those with the soul of the artist.
" Aqua de Valencia", as it is called in Spanish, has absolutely nothing to do with water. It is a combination drink that has become a favourite cocktail in Spain during the summer months.
According to Maria Angels Arazo's book "Valencia, Night," the story begins with a group of Basque travellers heading towards Southern Spain as they had each year seasonally for work. These men made their haunt the "Brewery of Madrid" in Valencia during their jaunts. With much regional pride, they would only order the champagne-like "Water of Bilbao", stating it was the best drink in all of Spain.
They challenged the proprietor, Gil Constant Rodriguez, an artist, to offer something that could top their favourite beverage. The proprietor proposed a made-up drink on the spot appropriately called "Aqua de Valencia". The Basques were pleased and "Aqua de Valencia" was the only drink they ordered whenever they were in Valencia.
Gil Constant Rodriguez was situated at the brewery from 1956 to 2000. He has depicted his life working there in his most famous work of art, "Social Gatherings of Coffee."
The "Brewery of Madrid" in Valencia became well-known to a small group of clients whom the drink was served. It was not until the 1970s when it made its debut as the party drink throughout the Valencia region.
This is a pleasing and refreshing beverage but watch out and limit the intake to just one glass for you and your guests. Be careful, because this drink packs a punch.
Ingredients are for one pitcher serving 6:
1 bottle of sparkling white wine
1 juice glass of natural orange juice (not concentrate)
1 glass of vodka
1 glass of gin
Sugar is added according to personal preference.
Mix all the ingredients of the Water of Valencia in the pitcher and stir. Place it in the refrigerator to cool. The drink should not be served with ice; however, you can place your champagne glasses in the freezer a few minutes before serving. A froth of the mixture will re-appear when you pour it into the glasses.
The better the quality of the vodka and gin you use, the better the smoothness to the taste.