Gin & Tonic Culture in Barcelona

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From Paris to Cape Town, mixology and cocktail culture is taking off across the globe. In Barca, it’s all about gin and tonics. This old colonial standby has become a favourite for local After Hours Athletes.

Forget cervezas, forget sangria. We aren’t sure why, but gin and tonics are going down as the "it" drink in Barcelona this summer. Modernillos (as hipsters are called around these parts) now pray to the church of gin like it is nobody's business.

Last weekend, we gave ourselves a mission: Find the best G&T. (Hey, it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.) We headed out in Gràcia, the modernillo neighbourhood in Barcelona, to drink our way to the finest cocktail in town.

Our first stop was Elephanta (C/Torrent d'en Vidalet, 37), a hole-in-the-wall space that offers two menus: one page of teas, and about five of gin and tonics—our kind of ratio. You can make your own mix out of its dozens of gins, tonic waters, and toppings. Where Elephanta shines is in its sampler: three low tumblers with the same tonic water, but each with a different gin and toppings.

Proud of our good taste, we took a short walk to the decidedly more posh, more crowded Bobby Gin (C/Francesc Giner, 47). On top of boasting the usual gin+tonic+toppings combos, their menu has what they call ginfonks: drinks made with gin that has been infused, spiced, or otherwise manipulated prior to mixing the drink. Our ginfonk was delicious, but the too-cool, too-busy atmosphere made us miss the chill vibe of Elephanta.

We stumbled home, and in the morning, surprised not to be nursing the hangovers we were expecting, we decided to go for seconds (or thirds for that matter) at Federal Café (C/ Parlament, 39). It was an excellent choice for brunch--a key meal for any modernillo--and it had a tasty selection of gin and tonics. We washed down our scrambled eggs with a classic G&T and toasted to the fact that we’d found the best drink in Barcelona.

Tell us: What’s your go-to spot for gin and tonics?


Photos courtesy of Marta Armengol Royo.