I was full, not an unusual feeling in the Costa Brava. Our hosts had once again plied us with copious amounts of wine and scrumptious food and I felt like it was time for a nap. But that was not to be; instead we were about to participate in a cooking lesson and porron drinking contest. First though I had to figure out what exactly a porro was and how to win.
A porron is a traditional Catalan glass wine pitcher and is truly a national symbol of Spain. It resembles a cross between a wine bottle and watering can; the top is narrow and ends in a spout. It’s shaped this way so that the wine will have minimal contact with the air, which quickly ruins it. This unique vessel originated in the middle ages and was used when there weren’t enough glasses for the guests. Because, you see, this strange little glass tankard is meant to enjoy wine without your lips touching the bottle in any way.
I wasn’t sure what to make of the odd serving vessel when I first saw it, and was completely taken aback when someone lifted it up and poured the red liquid into their gullets. The trick, it seemed, was to hold the porron far enough away so that wine doesn’t cover one’s chest but close enough so that, you know, you can drink it.
According to the professionals, the proper way to drink from a porron is as follows:
The beginner starts by bringing the spout very close to his mouth and tilts it forward slowly so that the beak points towards the teeth. Once the liquid starts coming out, the porron is pulled away from the face while the drinker looks up. To finish drinking, a beginner lowers the porron and brings it back down and closer to the mouth again before stopping, quickly tilting the spout up at the last moment so there is no spillage.
The practice was a lot different, but I was proud when I managed to drink using this traditional method and not (almost) spill a drop of wine. More than anything else, after trying this strange custom I felt like I was a part of the community; a priceless feeling whenever you travel.
What’s been your most unique food or drink experience while traveling?
6 thoughts on “Mastering the Art of Porron Drinking in Spain”
It might be learning to drink from one of these … I hope to get a chance next month when I attend my first travel conferences in Portugal and Spain. Thanks for posting all this cool stuff about the region.
Great post! I tried drinking from one of these on my birthday while in Granada. It was definitely a fun challenge and turned into a competition over who could pull it furthest away without spilling. But watching the locals do it put us all to shame.
Matt, why are YOU not pictured in this post??!! ;)
We shall make up for that in a few weeks, my friend.
Haha, one of the perks of being behind the camera :) Looking forward to practicing this fine art again soon!
Wow, did they actually make you try with red wine? Yes, it’s the real way to do it, but in my tours I’m a bit more considerate and I make my guests try with water instead. It wouldn’t be fun to continue their tapas tour with a big red stain in their shirts… Lol
That’s no fun though! You’ve GOT to try it with wine the first time. That’s what they made napkins for.
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