Cheers to the Camino
When walking the Camino de Santiago you will soon discover, that following a meal, you will always be invited to a shot. This drink is the very famous and popular Spanish drink, Orujo.
The word is actually the spanish word for grapes after they have been crushed. Thus, Orujo is the distilled spirit made from these pieces of grapes after the wine process has been completed. The excessive parts of the grapes are fermented, before they are distilled, in order to produce this very strong alcohol.
The history of Spanish Orujo dates back to 1663 when the process was first documented by a German monk. For some time, the government placed bans on the production and consumption of the alcohol. During the 20th Century, distillers would travel to different towns to produce the drink with portable stills. Farmers would hand over the waste product from their wine operation and, for a small fee of course, would receive back the finished Orujo! Today, the liquor is legal and part of a country-large industry. However, we find that some of the best products are still distilled within family homes.
Orujo is a clear liquid but you often find it in different colours due to flavouring. The bright yellow liquor is called Hierbas, or herbs as it is made with a variety of local herbs; the dark brown Orujo is a coffee liquor (normally decaffeinated); whilst the white Orujo is called Crema as it is made with a touch of cream (tasting very much like Bailey’s). Spaniards will tell you Hierbas is medicinal and should be drank for all ailments, especially for pilgrims needing to get to the end of a walking day! There are endless other variations of this liquor but those are the main types you will find along your journey to Santiago de Compostela.
Orujo is very popular and very tasty in Galicia along the Camino; and no matter which bar or restaurant you stop in along the way, you will always be able to find a stamp and a shot! Cheers to the Camino!
Licor de Orujo. (n.d.). Retrieved December 28, 2016, from https://www.spanish-wines.org/spanish-spirits-and-liquors-licor-de-orujo.html